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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 6, 2011.
Friday, 6 May 2011
Azmi Bishara: The "Palestinian Nation" Is A Colonial Invention

Watch this amusingly telling bit, on some Israeli television program,  from Azmi Bishara, an Arab born in Nazareth of Christian parents, who was the head of an Arab student group at Hebrew University, the beneficiary of every freedom that Israel offers, and in Europe having prizes -- the Averroes Prize -- lavished upon him. He even became a member of the Israeli Parliament, until he decided to work with those who were undermining the state, and threatening the lives of the Jews, of Israel, at which point he was understood to be not merely an opponent of the state but a traitor. He fled to Qatar, where so many "Palestinians" are doing so well, including the well-heeld (with American aid) children of Abu Mazen (that's Mahmoud Abbas in his peace-loviing "no-one-here-but-us-accountants" role for the Americans and Europeans).

Azmi Bishara saying nothing more than what Arafat used to say ("The Palestinians do not interest me. It is the Arab Nation, from the Atlantic to the Gulf"....etc.) and what Zuheir Mohsen famously said in a March 1977 nterview with James Dorsey for the Dutch newspaper Trouw:


"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

"For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."


Then there is Yassir Arafat -- remember him? During this so-called "Arab Spring," when corrupt leaders who have enriched themselves -- Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt -- are overthrown by those who are described as "pro-democracy" (an unhelpful because misleading, in the context, description) but who were in the main simply  infuriated by the ruling despot and his courtiers helping  themselves to much of the nation's wealth -- few seemed to recall that Arafat had helped himself to several billion dollars (it went missing after his death) of the aid money from America and Europe that had flowed into "Palestinian" coffers. Arafat wanted his own private Palestine not because he believed any more in the existence of a "Palestinian people" than did Zuheir Mohsen or Azmi Bishara, but because, as its warlord, he could do two things. First, he could better disguise, for credulous Westerners eager to be fooled, the Jihad against Israel, and could present it  -- during the Vietnam War days, when "national liberation" movements were all the rage -- as a struggle for the "legitimate rights of the Palestinian people." Now that national liberation and people's parties and suchlike have gone the way of all flesh, the local Arabs -- those who carefully call themselves "Palestinians" and somehow expect us to believe that they really are a separate and distinct people from the other Arabs around, including those just over the Jordan River (though no one seems able or even interested in adducing the distinguishing marks of language, religion, customs, culture, that would clearly define this "Palestinian people"). Now we have the Jihad presented as a struggle for people who, after the defeat of the Arab armies inthe Six-Day War, for propaganda purposes decided to invent the Palestinian people -- 


But there is one thing that Azmi Bishara gets wrong, in his single explosion of candor. He claims that the "Palestiinian nation" was a fabrication concocted not by the Arabs themselves for propaganda purposes in camouflaging their Jihad in a more palatable disguise,, but rather, a concoction of the Western colonialists -- i.e., the British whom he does not name but who were the only Europeans in power in the parts of the Ottoman Empire that became Mandatory palestine. This "colonial invention" no doubt iwas intended, in Azmi Bishara's conspiratorial and febrile imagination,  to split "the Arab nation."

But all we have to do is consult the  historical record. Did the British, from the time they defeated the Turks and drove them out of the Middle East, ever refer, during the period of their dominance, when they were the Mandatory authority not only for the Palestine Mandate (established for the sole purpose of the creation of the Jewish National Home), but of the Mandate for Iraq and, in a more complicated way, for the Emirate of Transjordan (built on the territory originally to have been assigned to Mandatory Palestine) , ever refer to the local Arabs, ever think of those local Arabs, as "the Palestinian people" or the "Palestinian nation"?

The answer is: No. Not once, in all the vast written material pertaining to the local Arabs, did the British in Mandatory Palestine, or back in London, in the Colonial Office, in the Foreign Office, in the Parliament, in the Cabinet, ever refer to the local Arabs of the area as the "Palestinian people." And there was nothing strange about that, because no Arab leader in the Middle East, no Arab diplomat sent abroad, no Arab military man, no Arab Muslim cleric, no Arab anywhere, including those living and working and sometimes agitating against, and even terrorizing, Jews in  Mandatory Palestine, ever referred to the "Palestinian people" or the "Palestinian nation."

So Azmi Bishara is right: there never was a "Palestinian people."

But Azmi Bishara is also wrong. For he refuses to admit -- surely he knows, for he's not an idiot -- that the notion of a "Palestinian people" comes from the Arabs themselves, not from the British or any other non-colonial "colonials" (in the Middle East, the European powers England and France had liberated the Arabs from domination by the Ottoman Turks),  and remained briefly (they were in Mesopotamia -- Iraq -- from 1920 to 1932, for example), no more than one or two or at most three decades (they left Mandatory Palestine in 1947).

Ex ungue leonem.

Even from the slightest remarks of Arabs (and islamochristians) and Muslims, one can learn -- if one comes to such remarks having already learned -- a lot.


Posted on 05/06/2011 11:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 6 May 2011
Osama bin Laden dead: al-Qaeda 'planning to attack trains on 9/11 anniversary'

From The Telegraph

Computer files seized during the raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout show al-Qaeda were planning a "spectacular" attack on trains in the US on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.

The terrorist network is thought to have been planning to tamper with tracks so that a train would be derailed while crossing a bridge or valley, potentially killing hundreds of passengers.

The plan, developed in February last year, was disclosed by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which issued a warning about it to law enforcement agencies around the US.

"We wanted to make our partners aware of the alleged plotting," Matthew Chandler, a DHS spokesman, said on Thursday night. "It is unclear if any further planning has been conducted".

The plot is said to have been in the "aspirational", rather than "operational" stages. No specific locations had been selected. But it will intensify long-standing fears that this year's tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks will attract new threats.

Posted on 05/06/2011 2:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 6 May 2011
Radical Muslim gang 'used stall at Longsight market to recruit young British men for Jihad in Afghanistan', court told

From The Manchester Evening News

Undercover police infiltrated a gang of radical Muslims, which recruited young men to fight, kill and die in Afghanistan, a court heard. They used religious stalls at Longsight market, known as dawars, to distribute literature, CDs and DVDs aimed at converting young British men to Islam before grooming them for "Jihad" to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan, a jury was told. Da'wa is an Arabic word often translated as outreach, which sounds innocent enough; my church does a lot of outreach. A better translation would be propaganda.

Two undercover police officers, known under the pseudonyms Simon and Ray, infiltrated a group of four radical Muslims during a 12-month period until November 2009, a jury at Manchester Crown Court heard today [Thursday]. The officers recorded conversations with the men and posed as vulnerable "likely candidates for Jihad", the court heard.

Opening the case for the crown, Andrew Edis QC said: "The prosecution alleges in this case this was an organised attempt taking place in Manchester to raise men for the Jihad, recruiting fighters. This meant finding people who were capable of being instructed, persuading them their religious duty required them to fight, to kill and to die if necessary.

"It means persuading them to travel from the UK to training camps and battlefields abroad, principally in Afghanistan. . . This is not the expression of religious freedom, but an organised attempt in the name of religion to find troops to fight the government of Afghanistan and British and other coalition soldiers who are committed there by their governments."

Mr Edis told the jury the most influential member of the group was Munir Farooqi, a Pakistani-born British national from Longsight.

When police searched Mr Farooqi's home in Victoria Terrace, they found jihadist literature as well as DVD and CD copying machinery in the basement. Among the literature were two books described as in court as "classic jihadi texts". . . titled Defence of Muslim Lands, boasts a glowing dedication to the dead author from Osama Bin Laden.

Another defendant, Matthew Newton, a white convert to Islam, handed a DVD disc to the undercover officer, Simon, which featured six hours urging jihad, the jury heard.

Mr Edis described the series of six lectures "as a kind of brainwashing". (another good word to use as a translation of dawa) In them, the writings of a jihadist imam, Yousuf Ul-Ayiri, are translated and explained for the benefit of an English-speaking audience by an American, Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki.

 Farooqi, who is a married father of three, and the other defendants visited five mosques in and around Manchester as part of the grooming of potential soldiers in Afghanistan, the court heard.

Munir Farooqi, 54, his son, Harris Farooqi, 27, Matthew Newton, 29, and Israr Malik, 22, are charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism by attempting to recruit others as terrorists to engage in violence abroad.

Munir Farooqi is also accused of three counts of soliciting to murder – two of which relate to the the undercover officers - and a single count of distributing terrorist publications.

Newton, of Stockport Road, Levenshulme, also faces two charges of distributing terrorist publications.

And Malik, of Bowden Avenue, Fallowfield, faces two counts of soliciting to murder.

The defendants deny all the charges.

Posted on 05/06/2011 2:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 6 May 2011
Poison in holy water from Mecca: Illegal bottles on sale in London contain arsenic

From The London Evening Standard and the BBC

Drinking water containing arsenic is being sold illegally in London to Muslims who believe it is holy, an investigation has found.

"Zam Zam water" from a well in Mecca is considered sacred by Muslim pilgrims. Visitors are allowed to bring back small amounts but Saudi Arabia has banned any commercial export.

A BBC investigation (using an undercover researcher) discovered Zam Zam water was being sold by Muslim bookshops in Wandsworth, south-west London, and Upton Park, east London, as well as in Luton, Bedfordshire.

"The water is poisonous, particularly because of the high levels of arsenic, which is a carcinogen," said Dr Duncan Campbell, president of the Association of Public Analysts. "The limits set in drinking water are set there for very good reason. Once the water gets above that limit, it's not safe."

Secret recordings captured the vendors describing customers who drank it daily. "They depend on it, they don't drink anything else," said the owner of an Islamic bookshop in Upton Park.

The BBC asked a pilgrim to take samples from taps which were linked to the Zam Zam well and to buy bottles on sale in Mecca, to compare the water on sale illegally with the genuine source. These showed high levels of nitrate and potentially harmful bacteria, and traces of arsenic at three times the permitted maximum level, just like the illegal water which was purchased in the UK.

The Saudi embassy in London declined to comment on the issue of contamination at the source in Mecca.

I saw the 6.30pm news report last night. If you go to Walsingham and buy a bottle to fill at the shrine that bottle costs a few pence and will hold maybe a teacup full. I believe Lourdes water is taken in similar quantities. These bookshops have bottles stacked ceiling high, of those square water bottles that hold as much as a gallon.

Warnings about tainted Zam Zam water come every year around the time of Ramadan. Because of the ban on commercial export it has usually been assumed that the water sold, as well as being unwholesome, is also fake. I often wondered where they got it if it was so contaminated with arsenic. In the famous 'Peckham spring' episode from the comedy show Only Fools and Horses Del sold water from the kitchen tap in his flat in Peckham as spring water. London tap water is perfectly safe, even if it does not suit the delicate palate of the bruschetta chompers of Waitrose.

Where the BBC investigation is interesting is that it found that the well in Mecca has the same levels of contamination as the water sold in the UK, suggesting that it is genuinely from Mecca. I wonder what Meccan tap water is like? One good thing about the city being forbidden to infidels, we don't get exposed to their polluted water.

Is this another reason for the expensive health problems suffered by many Muslim families, to add to their rickets from lack of vitamin D in burka clad women and children, and the genetic defects from generations of first cousin marriage and inbreeding?

Posted on 05/06/2011 3:03 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 6 May 2011
Halal: It's Not Just Kosher

Over the coming months we will see attempts to ban halal slaughter in Europe. But they won’t be worded in such a way to target only halal, they’ll probably go after something nebulous like “ritual slaughter” or “religious slaughter without stunning”. If that happens (as is ongoing in New Zealand) it will more likely than not deprive European Jews of kosher meat and make very little difference to the lives of farm animals.

This essay will be general but will draw specific examples from the UK.

As much as Muslims like to talk about halal, it is not a religious requirement in the same way as kosher has been to Jews for thousands of years. There is conclusive historical and archeological evidence across Israel and anywhere else Jews lived, that the rules of “Shechita” have been followed in an unaltered form for millennia. The mere fact that kosher food is perfectly acceptable to Muslims while halal is not acceptable to Jews shows the Muslim requirement has a certain inherent flexibility born of political expediency. The Jewish laws do not yield for convenience or to achieve other goals. Halal has also been flexible enough to include “light stunning” which has been enough to sidestep a ban in New Zealand. A very large proportion of the lamb consumed in the middle east is actually New Zealand lamb and in the UK this halal lamb is nearly always sold unmarked in big supermarkets.

The global counter Jihad movement is going to face a tough choice over this issue. On the one side is the long respected freedom to practice religion where that freedom doesn’t harm others. On the other will be those who feel the rights of animals need to be elevated to the level or even above the level of humans.

Here are some points to remember:

  • Modern farming methods relating to animals, especially when one is considering mass produced meat at cheaper prices, are not pleasant. It is firmly in the interests of very big aggro-businesses to obfuscate and conceal exactly what goes on to produce the mass produced chicken that can be sold at the very cheap prices we currently enjoy.
  • In order to treat animals as if they were pets, prior to their slaughter for consumption, requires an investment in those animals that is only worthwhile if consumers will pay a hefty extra price for their meat. Some consumers will and people do choose free range or organic meat trusting that the various certification schemes do keep the farmers honest. In the end, however, unless you know the farmer or have some connection to the food production yourself, you’re trusting someone else to vouch that your meat is produced in a way you can accept.
  • That is a similar act of trust that Jews place in the Kashrut Authorities who certify their kosher food has been produced in accordance with Jewish principles of animal welfare and cleanliness.
  • There are a multitude of groups and movements working for better treatement of animals at many points of the spectrum from mildly reproachful to physical dangerous. Just because, on the issue of halal, you may agree with them, does not necessarily mean a movement to educate people about Islam needs to take up their causes.
  • There have been real acts of terrorism, violence and even murder committed in the name of animal rights.

This is the big question: if the global counter Jihad movement wants to oppose the spread of Islam and Sharia into the lives of non Muslims, is it necessary to get involved in the details of animal treatment or is it enough to realise the drive for halal food and its encroachment into public life is the real problem?

Jewish respect for animals

I would put forward that Judaism, as a religion, has done more for the good treatment of animals than any before or since. The militant atheists will argue that all religion is evil but, without being particularly observant myself, I know enough about Jewish philosophy to know they are wrong. I know Islam too and that is where the problem comes in. For example, Judaism has always prohibited hunting for fun which is certainly not something Islam copied. Indeed, the only sports acceptable to the most observant or extreme Muslims all derive from hunting: archery and horsemanship are specifically mandated for good Muslims in the stories about Muhammad! By contrast, Judaism specifically prohibits cruelty (causing pain for pleasure) and it’s clear from many things done in the name of Islam, this is not observed in Islam.

Why do kosher and halal rules appear similar?

What Muhammad stole from the Jews who resided in the Arabian peninsula in the 7th century (aside from their wives, daughters, property and lives) were scattered snatches of their stories and oral law. These were mangled and mis-represented to form the Koran. That Muhammad (and don’t get me started on whether he was a single real person or an amalgamated construct) knew to place the Arabs as illegitimate descendants of the slave girl in the Hebrew bible story of Abraham was a stroke of pure genius. In all probability, the Jews had already worked this out as a separation of the semitic people into Jews and others (who would always be more numerous).

Almost every aspect of Islam has it’s roots in Judaism but every time you study the detail, superficial surface similarities hide a complete inversion of right and wrong, and a complete perversion of the reasons for the activity in question. Halal represents an attempt to take over and dominate the food of the infidel. By contrast, kosher is an introverted wish by Jews to honour their creator by following His laws (and some other internal philosophical reasons more observant Jews than myself can explain to you).

If we do not discriminate and recognise that Islam as a belief system has a dark, supremacist element that is unique to it, we are liable to destroy important parts of the foundations that have made our civilisation the greatest and kindest that has ever been. No civilisation has ever considered the rights of animals to the extent that we do now and this is not an accident. Islam has rarely been kind to people, let alone animals.

What is the purpose of Halal in the Non-Muslim world?

There is another issue here about the real purpose of halal outside of Muslim countries. As a general rule Jews and other groups with special dietary rules have not asked for their food to be served in public places outside their home countries. Jews outside of Israel adapt themselves to the food available in public institutions such as hospitals and schools often by eating vegetarian options. Even in neighbourhoods where Jews form a very high proportion of the population, there are hardly any demands to change the catering in public institutions.

By contrast, halal has made serious inroads into institutional mass catering in the UK. There are now numerous examples where non-Muslims looking for meat are given no other choice but to eat halal food in public institutions such as schools and hospitals. This has never happened with kosher food and nobody has ever seriously forced, for example, a vegan option on an un-willing population.

It’s all about control

There is a significant point of view that says halal food is all about a bid to take over and control the food supply. Animals must have an Arabic prayer said as they are killed and this must be performed by a Muslim. In effect halal mandates that Muslims perform most of the tasks involved in the production of the food.

What would strict labelling mean?

One of the ways that people are calling for some introduction of control on the spread of halal meat is by calling for strict labelling of meat that is not stunned before slaughter. There is a particular issue with halal today because there is a large amount of halal meat in the normal food chain that is not labeled as such. This is not such an issue with kosher meat except in one respect. Fully kosher meat is always much more expensive than non kosher and this reflects the small nature of its market and the care with which it has to be produced. Halal is generally cheaper than non halal. Some parts of kosher slaughtered animals do end up in the non-kosher meat supply, however, because this does help keep kosher meat affordable.

So strict labelling would be a problem for Jews if it meant that producers of meat pies and sausages were reluctant to accept some meat because it would force them to label their end product as containing some parts from non stunned animals.

When was the last time a major nation banned kosher slaughter in Europe?

Today there are some bans on kosher slaughter already in Europe, especially in Scandinavian countries. The last major European nation to completely ban kosher slaughter was, of course, Nazi Germany. The following passage from Melanie Phillips excellent book “The World Turned Upside Down” develops this even further into what some may find a surprising reverance for animal life among Nazis.

Such ecological fixations were further developed in German Nazism. According to Ernst Lehmann, a leading Nazi biologist, “separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations.”[i] The Nazis thus fixated on organic food, personal health and animal welfare. Heinrich Himmler was a certified animal rights activist and an aggressive promoter of “natural healing”; Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, championed homeopathy and herbal remedies; Hitler wanted to turn the entire nation vegetarian as a response to the unhealthiness promoted by capitalism.[ii]

There was top-level Nazi support for ecological ideas at both ministerial and administrative levels. Alwin Seifert, for example, was a motorway architect who specialized in “embedding motorways organically into the landscape.” Following Rudolf Steiner, he argued against land reclamation and drainage; said that “classical scientific farming” was a nineteenth-century practice unsuited to the new era and that artificial fertilizers, fodder and insecticides were poisonous; and called for an agricultural revolution towards “a more peasant-like, natural, simple” method of farming “independent of capital.” Himmler established experimental organic farms including one at Dachau that grew herbs for SS medicines; a complete list of homeopathic doctors in Germany was compiled for him; and antivivisection laws were passed on his insistence. As Anna Bramwell observes, “SS training included a respect for animal life of near Buddhist proportions.”[iii]

They did not show such respect, of course, for the human race. Neither does the ecological movement, for which, echoing Malthus, the planet’s biggest problem is the people living on it. Even though our contemporary era has been forged in a determination that fascism must never rise again, certain völkish ideas that were central to fascism—about the organic harmony of the earth, the elevation of animal “rights” and the denigration of humans as enemies of nature—are today presented as the acme of progressive thinking.

[i] Staudenmaier, “Fascist Ecology.”

[ii] Goldberg, Liberal Fascism, pp, 385–87.

[iii] Bramwell, Ecology in the 20th Century, p. 204.

What does this mean for the Counter Jihad?

We need to decide if fighting a battle for what some believe is better treatment of animals has any place in resisting the spread of Islam and Sharia. Just as with the issue of immigration we ask is the counter Jihad about immigration in general or only about Islamic immigration with a goal of eventual domination?

It’s my belief that people interested in taking up the cause of animal rights should do this distinctly from the cause of resisting Islam and Sharia. However, for the counter Jihad, halal slaughter is not an issue of animal treatment. It is an issue of an attempt to take over and dominate the food of infidels and impose on them, against their will, submission to the laws of Islam. That is unacceptable and should be resisted without infringing the legitimate rights of real religious practice.

Originally published at Israelicool.

Posted on 05/06/2011 5:52 AM by Brian of London
Friday, 6 May 2011
What Happens When You Oppose a Mosque in Guinea

From AP whose title is: "Sectarian Violence Kills 26 in Southern Guinea." In this story the tribe opposed to the mosque are depicted as the instigators, but I'm sure the story is more complicated than that.

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Witnesses say at least 26 people have been killed in sectarian violence in the West African nation of Guinea.

The fighting took place earlier this week in Galapaye, about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of the Guinean capital near the country's border with Liberia.

A man who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals said Friday that members of the Kpele community had attacked members of the Konianke group with machetes and rifles.

He said the violence began after a Konianke man wounded someone from the Kpele group who had been trying to raze a mosque in the area.

The two communities have had frequent altercations over the mosque, which the Kpeles had opposed.

The Kpeles opposed the mosque, therefore they are responsible for any ensuing violence. That's the logic of Islam.

Posted on 05/06/2011 7:54 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 6 May 2011
A Musical Interlude: The River Of Jordan (Carter Family)

Listen here.

Posted on 05/06/2011 1:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 6 May 2011
"We Feel Very Bad About Pakistan Now. We Know That America Has Given Them A Lot Of Money."

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Bin Laden killing deepens Indian distrust of Pakistan

India has long said that arch-rival Pakistan has been unwilling to quash terrorism. For many, Osama bin Laden's killing bolsters that view.

India has long held that its neighbor and arch rival is unable – or unwilling – to quash terrorism within its borders. That Mr. bin Laden had lived, before being shot dead by US commandos May 2, an army town only an hour’s drive from the capital, Islamabad, was the clearest vindication of that view yet.

"We take note with grave concern that part of the statement in which President Obama said that the fire fight in which Osama bin Laden was killed took place in Abbotabad 'deep inside Pakistan,' " India’s Home Minister P. Chidambaram said in a statement. "This fact underlines our concern that terrorists belonging to different organizations find sanctuary in Pakistan."


Newspaper headline writers were less circumspect. “US kills bin Laden in – you knew it – Pakistan,” proclaimed the daily Asian Age. "Pak unmasked" was the breaking news line on a major Indian news channel; another pondered whether bin Laden had, in fact, died in a safe house belonging to Pakistan’s ISI spy agency.

And hawks weighed in. The head of India's army, Gen. VK Singh, told journalists Wednesday that India had the capability to carry out a similar strike on Pakistan – prompting warnings from Pakistan that India should not do that.

Ordinary Indians, meanwhile, who tend to take little interest in news beyond their borders, were gripped by the events. News of bin Laden’s death attracted 42 million television viewers, according to Audience Measurement and Analytics, a rating agency.

“We feel very bad about Pakistan now," says Jabamalai Mary, a domestic servant in New Delhi. “We know that America has given them a lot money."

From the political establishment to ordinary people, this week’s events have only deepened the distrust felt by Indians towards Pakistan. The two nations have fought three wars since 1947 and the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir remains a sore point between them. A fragile peace process launched by the government of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was halted following the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008, when 166 people were killed in a three-day rampage by gunmen trained by Pakistani militants.

India believes the terrorists acted in collusion with some elements of the ISI, though Islamabad denies involvement.

The Mumbai attacks "meant that suspicion of Pakistan was sunk really deep into the Indian psyche; its not limited to the political establishment," says Mahesh Rangarajan, a political analyst in New Delhi.

Since then, New Delhi has repeatedly demanded that Islamabad hand over those accused in recent investigations and called for Pakistan to stop providing a safe haven for terrorists – although it has dropped that as a precondition for further peace talks.

Analysts say that bin Laden's killing are unlikely to make substantive difference to the fate of the peace process, which Manmohan Singh hopes to make the cornerstone of his prime ministership.

In recent months, the nuclear-armed rivals have taken small steps toward getting that process back on track. In April, Mr. Singh chatted to his Pakistani counterpart Yoursaf Raza Gilani during a cricket match played between their countries’ teams in the north Indian town on Mohali and there has been talk of talks later this summer.

In a brief statement released after bin Laden’s death was announced, Singh betrayed none of the schadenfreude evident elsewhere in India. "This is a decisive blow to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups," he said. “The international community and Pakistan, in particular, must work comprehensively to end the activities of all such groups who threaten civilized behavior and kill innocent men, women and children."

Indian officials are likely to use this week’s big news to push the United States to step up pressure on Pakistan to fight terrorism.

They will be prompted especially by fears that President Obama could use bin Laden’s death to hasten the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which could, in turn, give greater rein to extremist groups in the region.


Posted on 05/06/2011 2:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 6 May 2011
Another Friday, this time outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

I came late to the “funeral tribute” to the late Osama Bin Laden outside the US Embassy Grosvenor Square led by Anjem Choudary this afternoon.

The Daily Mail reports that the Muslims clashed with the police and that there were ugly scenes.

A protest by hundreds of Osama Bin Laden supporters sparked fury outside the US Embassy in London today as they staged a mock 'funeral service' for the terror leader. Radicals carrying placards proclaiming 'Islam will dominate the world' branded US leaders 'murderers' and warned vengeance attacks were 'guaranteed'.

The protest came shortly after the verdict into the 7/7 inquest was released by Lady Justice Heather Hallett. She recorded that the 52 victims had been 'unlawfully' killed when four terrorists attacked three London Underground trains and a bus in 2005. However just three miles from the Royal Court of Justice, Muslim protester Abu Muaz, 28, from east London claimed 'it is only a matter of time' before another attack and that the 'West is the enemy'.

An EDL member did manage to slip through police lines to unveil an effigy of Bin Laden in the middle of the 300-strong group of extremist Muslims.

By the time I got there the EDL were opposing the Muslims to the left of the Embassy and the Muslims were corralled to the right. The atmosphere was tense and I was told that there had been arrests. I would have given a lot to see the effigy behind enemy lines.

The pictures speak for themselves.

The EDL numbered 30 or 40. This being a Friday, a core working day, I know that many could not get the day off work or change their shifts at short notice. They sang their usual songs, and reminded the Muslims who pays their benefits. The Muslims were told that Osama bin Laden, a mass murderer was not worthy of the respect they accord him and Anjem Choudary was advised that the EDL would not allow him to spout his propaganda anywhere in the country without challenge.

In contrast, this being a Friday, there were many more Muslims.

They had the benefit of a sound system which was loud, although I couldn’t always make out what they were saying, even when the speeches were in English.


Fragments which stuck in my mind include.

  • Our Sheikh Osama bin laden was a great man, and he was a terrorist; he struck fear and terror in the hearts of the west and the Americans.
  • We have come here today to ask for the release of our dear Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian scholar, a man of over 70 held for no reason.

That he has been convicted of serious crimes and sentence accordingly means little to those who do not recognise the jurisdiction of non sharia courts. There were also posters calling for the release of Aafia Siddique. Her conviction after trial by jury for attempted murder, is in their eyes “nothing wrong”.

  • Brothers and sisters, we have come here to deliver a letter to the Embassy for Barak Hussein Obama to ask for the release of our dear Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. But a policeman has told us that the embassy cannot accept our letter. They are afraid!!! We will send the letter by post.
  • Islam is coming back, Islam is coming back. We must let them know two words. Religion of Peace. Religion of Jihad. Religion of Power.

As you can see from this video clip the shouts of Jihad! Jihad! were met with cries from the EDL of “Go to work” and “Get a job”.

 A speech was made for the benefit of President Obama which the speaker said he would make in Arabic. I caught the President’s name “Barak, something Hussein Obama” several times.

I was not allowed close enough to see what her banner said, but even on my furthest zoom setting her jihad veil is unmistakable.

Faces you will recognise from 'My brother the Islamist'. They appear to have found another impressionable youngster.

Their protest ended with instructions that there would not be a demonstration through the streets on the way out but that everybody was to keep together and move carefully. They filed out of the square under police escort and looked to be heading toward Bond Street underground station.  

This photograph of Anjem Choudary on his mobile needs a caption. I suggest "£5 each way on the favourite in the 5.30 at Sandown Park".

The sisters and children filed behind the men.

The EDL were held for some time and then told they would be escorted to Marble Arch station. They were taken the scenic route, down South Audley Street, into Park Lane, up to Marble Arch, into Edgware Road, past Tyburn, back down Edgware Road, then halted in Oxford Street.


Posted on 05/06/2011 2:47 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 6 May 2011
Australia: More absurdity at plea hearing of convicted jihad plotters in Melbourne

From Australia's ABC, court reporter Peta Carlyon reporting.  I cannot find out whether the words used in the ABC headline - 'a proud Australian' are something one of the character witnesses or a lawyer actually said, or whether it's a paraphrase/ summary produced by Ms Carlyon or her editor.  In any case, it ranks right up there in sheer absurdity with the line 'a simple man with a simple faith' peddled to us by the lawyer of the plot's ringleader.

'Court told convicted terrorist a proud Australian'

'The Victorian Supreme Court has heard a man (a Muslim man - CM) convicted of planning a terror attack in Sydney was an advocate of Australia's "fair-go" culture.

'Somalian-born Saney Aweys (sic: Somalian-born Muslim Saney Aweys - CM)  is one of three men (three Muslim men - CM) convicted last year of plotting an armed terror attack (sic: an armed jihad raid - CM) on the Holsworthy Army Base.

'At a plea hearing today, several witnesses have given character evidence.

I would like to know whether these witnesses were Muslim or non-Muslim.  And if they were non-Muslim, one wonders whether any of them - though working with Muslims - have bothered to read the Quran, or other Muslim texts, or to investigate such phenomena as 'taqiyya' , "we grin at some people, though our hearts hate them", and the doctrine of 'al-wala wa' al-baraa', 'loyalty [to Muslims only] and enmity [in thought, but also ideally in word and best of all in deed, toward all non-Muslims qua non-Muslims]' - CM.

'They said he volunteered extensively in a community-based integration program for African refugees in the western suburbs (I wonder whether those refugees were Muslim or non-Muslim? And they were non-Muslim, one may account for it simply by his seizing an opportunity for a spot of da'wa, the Call to Islam - CM) and was an enthusiastic advocate of Australia's "easy-going" and "fair-go" culture.

I'll bet.  'See how stupid and naive and easily-conned these Aussie non-Muslims are...they're a walkover!" - CM.

'But Justice Betty King told his lawyer, that [that] evidence was "entirely inconsistent" with his client's phone-tapped comments played during the trial.

Busted!  Justice King, and the jurors, and every other non-Muslim in the court, have just been forced to face the extent of the malevolent duplicity which seems to come to a great many Muslims as naturally as breathing.  From a canonical Muslim text, the Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 7, p. 102 - Abu al-Darda [one of Mohammed's companions] said, "(Verily) we smile for some people, while our hearts curse (those same people)". - CM

'In those calls, he joked about Australians being killed in the Jakarta hotel bombings, and [said] that Black Saturday (devastating bushfires that killed more than 100 people in country Victoria in February 2009 - CM) was divine intervention to punish Australians for jailed Muslims.

One wonders whether he counts among those poor dear jailed Muslims, whose jailing by the kuffar he views as a punishable offence to 'allah', not only the two different lots of brutal Muslim gang rapists - one lot Pakistani Muslim, the other lot Lebanese Muslim - whom our justice system caught, tried, and imprisoned, but also assorted Muslim fraudsters, drug pushers and manufacturers and smugglers, armed robbers...and people who, like himself, plotted to carry out  mass murderous jihad terror raids, but got caught. - CM

'Justice King told the court [that] a plan to go into an army base and shoot until  your guns are empty demonstrates an un-Australian attitude.'

Understatement of the week, or perhaps, of the year. - CM.



Posted on 05/06/2011 8:04 PM by Christina McIntosh
Friday, 6 May 2011
Philippines: captured Muslim jihadist was working as security guard in plush condominium

From 'The Australian', May 6, 2011.

'Islamic militant caught after ten-year hunt'.

'An Islamic militant wanted for kidnappings in the southern Philippines was arrested at a plush condominium in one of Manila's richest suburbs, where he was working as a security guard, police said today.

Working as a security guard? Fox, henhouse, anyone?  Unless, of course, the owner/s and inhabitants of this particular condominium (like that high-security villa in leafy Abottabad...) were all Muslims like himself - in which case, I would advise the Filipinos to go through the entire building from top to bottom, and thoroughly grill every person who is in any way associated with it. - CM.

'After a 10-year hunt, police found Imam Arabani Jakiran, a member of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, at work at the Pacific Plaza Tower, said Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao, the Manila police investigation chief.

'The government had put up an $8,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest of Jakiran, 39.

'Pagdilao said the militant is to stand trial for the 2001 abduction of hospital staff on the southern island of Basilan by an Abu Sayyaf unit that was also holding US and Filipino tourists it had snatched earlier.

'One of the hospital staff held hostage later escaped, and three other hostages, including a nurse and an American Christian missionary, were killed, while the rest were freed.

'Police said Jakiran is accused of taking part in the kidnapping of the hospital staff but not the tourists.

'The Abu Sayyaf was founded in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network to fight for an independent Muslim state in the southern Philippines, officials say.

'The militants often resort to kidnappings, mainly targeting foreigners and Christians, to raise funds from ransoms.  Failure to pay ransoms has at times led to the beheading of the hostages.

'The group was also blamed for the bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay in 2004 that claimed more than 100 lives and was the nation's worst terrorist attack'.

It occurs to me to wonder whether it is entirely coincidental that this surprise breakthrough arrest of an Abu Sayyaf jihad gang boss in the Philippines has occurred only days after the taking out of Osama Bin Laden. - CM





Posted on 05/06/2011 8:45 PM by Christina McIntosh
Friday, 6 May 2011
Russia takes out top Al-Qaeda jihad gang boss in Chechnya

From Brisbane's The Courier Mail, May 5 2011, a story from 'NewsCore'.

'Russia kills top Al-Qaida militant'

'Russian security forces killed a top al-Qaida militant in Chechnya responsible for coordinating rebels.

In other words: they've neutralised a major jihad gang boss. - CM.

'Doger Sevdet was a Turkish national who took on the nom de guerre of Abdullah Kurd (hmmm: so, a Kurdish Muslim from Turkey? - CM) and "was an envoy of Al-Qaeda in the northern Caucasus", Russia's national security committee said in a statement.

'Sevdet was responsible for organising foreign rebels in its restive Caucasus region, AFP reported on Thursday.

'Restive'. That is:  'majority-Muslim, sharia-crazed, jihad-racked' - CM.

'The statement added that Sevdet, who arrived in the region in 1991, took part in the planning of numerous acts of terror and attacks on  members of the public and security forces.

'Sevdet, who was born in 1977, and a fellow militant from Dagestan, were killed by Russian security forces on Wednesday in a clash in the Vedesnk region of Chechnya, it said.

'His death came two weeks after Russia killed another top Al-Qaida militant, a Saudi operative known as Moganned, in what analysts said was one of its biggest security successes in the region for years.

'It also followed the killing in Pakistan by US forces of Osama Bin Laden, in an operation hailed by the Kremlin as a "serious success in the war against international terrorism".

'Russian leaders have repeatedly said that terror (no, not terror exactly, though terror is part of it, rather - JIHAD, the Muslim struggle to achieve Total World Domination - CM) is an international menace, and have played up the links between Islamist militants in the northern Caucasus and al-Qaida'.

No need to 'play up' these links, they exist, as we see from the involvement of a Muslim who was probably a Kurd, and a Muslim from Saudi Arabia, in a war that has often been represented as merely a regional struggle for autonomy of Chechens from Russia.   It should also begin to be emphasised, by the Russians and by other non-Muslim governments, that Al Qaida is very far from being the only Muslim entity engaged in inciting and perpetrating Jihad (whether by actual combat, or by other means); it is merely the most famous, or one of the most famous.

The timing of this latest piece of good news is interesting, shall we say?  The Americans take out Al Qaeda and capture his little black book, etc.  Only a few days later, leading Al-Qaeda linked jihad gang bosses are suddenly taken out, in the Philippines and in the Russian Federation.

If I were in charge of security at all major Western airports - and beyond, in places like India - right now I would be advising everyone to keep a sharp lookout for ill-fitting burkas on suspiciously-tall females with suspiciously-hairy ankles and curiously deep voices.  I would have the sniffer dogs out in force.  I would be double and triple checking all passports presented at international gateways.  I would have all banks looking out for mysterious, sudden transfers of funds and emptyings of accounts, by Muslim customers.  Police and national intelligence agencies should be watching, hawk-like, every known Muslim school, and every mosque, within non-Muslim lands, so as to spot any unusual flurries of activity - or sudden inactivity.  And then the general public should be watching out for odd behaviour: children of Muslim families suddenly pulled out of school, Muslim-owned or occupied houses suddenly emptying, Muslim restaurants or other businesses shuttered and closed overnight, Muslim persons not showing up for work, Muslim students half way through their degrees suddenly disappearing from classes, Muslim professors not turning up to teach.  And so on. - CM



Posted on 05/06/2011 8:59 PM by Christina McIntosh
Friday, 6 May 2011
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Bin Laden Is Dead. The Jihad Is Forever.

From The Christian Science Monitor:


Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Will Muslim Brotherhood succeed where Osama bin Laden failed?


Osama bin Laden is dead. Al Qaeda may soon follow him to the grave. But the doctrine of jihad – exemplified by the Muslim Brotherhood – lives on.

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali / May 6, 2011


Like thousands across the world, I celebrated the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. He rejoiced in killing. But bin Laden’s murder is not the end of Al Qaeda. And even if Al Qaeda were totally eliminated, the world would still have to deal with Al Qaeda’s progenitor.

Bin Laden was many things, but he was not original. He was himself introduced to the doctrine of jihad by the late Palestinian theologian Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. Significantly, before Azzam begun teaching bin Laden and others in Saudi Arabia, he was a member of the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood.

Unlike Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood has evolved and learned the hard way that the use of violence will be met with superior violence by state actors. The clever thing to do, it now turns out, was to be patient and invest in a bottom-up movement rather than a commando structure that risked being wiped out by stronger forces. Besides, the gradualist approach is far more likely to win the prize of state power. All that Khomeini did before he came to power in Iran was to preach the merits of a society based on Islamic law. He did not engage in terrorism. Yet he and his followers took over Iran – a feat far greater than bin Laden ever achieved. In Iran the violence came later.

The point is that fighting violent extremists is only part of the battle; perhaps the easier part. The bigger challenge may be to deal with those Islamists who are willing to play a longer game. [or what have been called the Slow Jihadists, as opposed to the Fast Jihadists of Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Ansar Al-Islam, etc.]

In the West, bin Laden’s ignominious death in a Pakistani hideaway has frequently been contrasted with the mass protests that have swept the Middle East in recent months. Policymakers and commentators have drawn the conclusion that the Arab Spring has triumphed over jihadism, setting the region on a high road to democracy. This is too hasty a conclusion. Let’s take Egypt as an example.

Just how likely is it that Egypt will end up – after the inevitable transition period – being ruled indirectly or directly by the Muslim Brotherhood?

The answer depends on a combination of three factors – two domestic and one foreign:

1. The Brotherhood’s strength within the Egyptian military, which is still in charge of the country;

2. The absence of a formidable secular rival within Egypt;

3. The willingness of America and her allies to underestimate the ambitions and the political skills of the Muslim Brotherhood.

For the moment it looks like all three factors are working in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Make no mistake: The Brotherhood are working to realize the vision summarized in their motto: “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Qur’an is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

A series of concrete goals derived from this motto used to be available on their website, though this is (perhaps not surprisingly) unavailable at the present time. Fortunately, some of the contents have been republished at

Among the “sub-goals” of the Muslim Brotherhood:

  • Building the Muslim individual … with a strong body, high manners, cultured thought, ability to earn, strong faith, correct worship, conscious of time, of benefit to others, organized, and self-struggling character;
  • Building the Muslim family: choosing a good wife or husband, educating children Islamically;
  • Building the Muslim society;
  • Building the Khilafa (a form of union between all the Islamic states);
  • Mastering the world with Islam.

True, the Brotherhood’s leaders have insisted that they are committed to democracy and the rule of law. But they will give an idiosyncratic twist to these commitments.

We should expect them to establish a political order based on the Sunni version of an Islamic state. Based on lessons learned from their Islamist brethren elsewhere, they will seek to establish a political order of shariah, or Islamic Law. This would include a judicial system that does not question but merely applies shariah law, a “virtue and vice” police to enforce the Sharia lifestyle and an education and information system that seeks to indocrinate the youth and build “the Muslim individual.” 

A department of state or caliphate would seek to establish and nurture relations with allies while urging those allies to undertake joint economic, diplomatic and military action against perceived adversaries. The Organization of the Islamic Conference is one example of this. And note the recent leading role that Egypt’s interim government has taken in reuniting Hamas and Fatah while excluding the U.S. and Israel from these activities.

How will such a political order in Egypt affect affairs at home and relations abroad?At home

In order to “build the Muslim individual,” the Muslim Brotherhood will take control of the institutions of education, from preschool to university; they will establish a curriculum of indoctrination geared toward instilling submission and loyalty to the regime, rather than the educational requirements that a modern economy needs to be productive and competitive in a global economy. Graduates from such an education system will not only be limited in their capacity to establish successful businesses; most graduates will be more or less unemployable.

In order to “build the Muslim family,” we will see the introduction and enforcement of legislation (marriage, divorce and inheritance) that strips women of their rights; their freedom of movement will be limited to the home and a handful of occupations such as teaching, nursing/medicine and other mono-gender occupations. The discretionary power of the male guardian over his female relatives will become absolute. The age of marriage will be lowered for girls to the time of their first menstruation. Flogging and stoning will be the norm for alleged violations of Islamic sexual sensibilities, which will mean an existence in perpetual terror for women and homosexuals.

In order to “build the Muslim Society,” basic freedoms such as the freedom of conscience, speech, press and association will be heavily curtailed for dissidents, moderates and particularly religious minorities. In Egypt, the biggest religious minority is the community of Christian Copts. Already they are the victims of discrimination, intimidation and occasional terrorist attacks. Under a Muslim Brotherhood government, the repression will get worse. Some will convert or pretend to convert to Islam to survive; more will flee. In the worst case, the fate of the Copts could resemble that of the Christian minority of Darfur.Abroad

In order to “build the Muslim state” (Umma), relations will improve in the short term between Hamas, Iran’s regime, Hezbollah and Turkey. Money will be spent on empowering other Islamist organizations, creating alliances in the region, the ultimate goal of which will be, of course, to eliminate Israel. The peace treaty with Israel will either be gradually eroded or Israel will be provoked into war. A Muslim Brotherhood government will also work within the Organization of the Islamic Conference to weaken leaders and regimes of member states that do not share the Islamist vision.Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt

The interesting thing to watch carefully will be the new Egypt’s relations with Saudi Arabia. For the West, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a place that holds the world’s largest oil reserves. For the Islamists who dream of a Muslim caliphate, Saudi Arabia is the location of the two Holy Shrines of Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies will work to take control of the Hijaz (Mecca and Medina); if they realize this dream, the oil will be simply a bonus.

The Muslim Brotherhood sees the Saudi monarchy as decadent, hypocritical and traitors of Islam. In the coming months we shall see a dance of power as the House of Saud and the Brotherhood seek to outmaneuver one other.

The prospects, in short, of an Egyptian government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood are as alarming as the prospect of a French government dominated by the Jacobins in the early 1790s.

Repression at home will cause human rights violations, economic crisis and an exodus of refugees, beginning with those who have money and a reasonable level of education, deepening Egypt’s poverty and destabilizing the region and perhaps even Europe. Growing conflict with Israel could lead to war.

For all these reasons, Western policymakers should be exceedingly wary about the influence of the gradualist jihadists on the events now unfolding in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East. Bin Laden is dead. Al Qaeda may soon follow him to the grave. But the doctrine of jihad lives on.

Posted on 05/06/2011 9:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 6 May 2011
Kushner CUNY Honorary Degree-The Fix is In

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, CUNY Trustee

A tip of the hat to Bruce Kessler of the blog Maggie’s Farm.

The kerfuffle we posted, surrounding the denial of a CUNY Honorary degree from the President and faculty of John Jay College  to Tony Kushner, Pulitzer prize winning playwright and Columbia alum took the inevitable controversial turn.  Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York came out supporting Kushner and castigated the CUNY Board vote and Trustee Jeffrey Weisenfeld in a JTA article, “Koch to CUNY: Boot Trustee who attacked Kushner”.

"I can't think of a dumber academic action," the former New York mayor and one of Israel's most ardent supporters said in a letter Thursday to the chairman of the Board of Trustees. "What does Kushner receiving an award have to do with criticism of the State of Israel? I am a well-known supporter of that nation. What if I were denied an honorary degree because of my strong support for that state? That would make as much sense as denying Mr. Kushner a degree."

[. . .]

"Mr. Wiesenfeld and the trustees who followed his request should immediately reverse their action and urge Mr. Kushner to forgive them," Koch wrote. "I consider Mr. Wiesenfeld's action so outrageous as to be an abuse of power on his part requiring his resignation or removal from the Board of Trustees."

The case against Kushner and his peculiar views regarding Israel has been laid out in a  dossier by CAMERA- the Boston-based Middle East media watchdog - “Tony Kushner’s Anti-Israel Falsehoods Thwart CUNY Award.”

As in previous controversies, such as his screen-writing role on Steven Spielberg's highly biased Munich, Kushner considers the quoting of his own words or mention of his close ties to fringe anti-Israel extremists to be unfair, "vicious," or "McCarthyite." In his latest letter, he repeats calumnies against Israel he's uttered over the years, among them his frequent charge that: "the historical record shows, incontrovertibly, that the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes as part of the creation of the state of Israel was ethnic cleansing." Of course, there's nothing at all "incontrovertible" about this allegation. Kushner is simply repeating anti-Israel propaganda disconnected to facts. He cites as his source Benny Morris, yet Morris himself has written that the fact that "Israel emerged from the 1948 War with a 160,000-strong Arab minority" undermines charges of ethnic cleansing. Such is the caliber of the playwright's commentary on Israel and the Palestinians.


Nor of course, does he bother to consider the work of Professor Efraim Karsh, whose book Palestine Betrayed chronicles the events leading up to and through the Israeli War of Independence and the realities about Palestinian refugees. Karsh notes the

claim of premeditated dispossession and the consequent creation of the longstanding Palestinian “refugee problem” forms, indeed, the central plank in the bill of particulars pressed by Israel’s alleged victims and their Western supporters. It is a charge that has hardly gone undisputed. As early as the mid-1950’s, the eminent American historian J.C. Hurewitz undertook a systematic refutation,and his findings were abundantly confirmed by later generations of scholars and writers. Even Benny Morris, the most influential of Israel’s revisionist “new historians,” and one who went out of his way to establish the case for Israel’s “original sin,” grudgingly stipulated that there was no “design” to displace the Palestinian Arabs.

Stef Kanfer in his City Journal review of the Spielberg  film, Munich, that he deemed ‘mendacious’ , had this to say about Kushner:

All this comports with Kushner’s beliefs. He is not only on record with his anti-Israel statements: “I think the founding of the State of Israel was for the Jewish people a historical, moral, political calamity. . . . I wish modern Israel hadn’t been born.” He is also an avowed socialist whose leftist beliefs led him to join forces with those who advocate divestiture from companies that do business with the Jewish State. Thus, ideologically, Kushner finds himself in bed with people like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a socialist who recently stated, “Some minorities, descendants of the same ones who crucified Christ [i.e. Jews] . . . took the world’s wealth for themselves.” Chavez went on to identify Jesus as the first socialist.

Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.  former Yale President and Chairperson of the CUNY  Board of Trustees, came up with a contrived solution to the caterwauling in the liberal media about the injustice shown to Kushner.  Schmidt released a statement today that the CUNY executive committee of the Board of Trustees, seven out of the 17 members,  would meet on Monday, May 9th to presumably grant Kushner an honorary degree.  All that is required is for four Trustees to vote in the affirmative.

Note what Schmidt said:

Freedom of thought and expression is the bedrock of any university worthy of the name. If it were appropriate for us to take politics into account in deciding whether to approve an honorary degree, I might agree with Trustee Wiesenfeld, whose political views on the matters in controversy are not far distant from my own.  But it is not right for the Board to consider politics in connection with the award of honorary degrees except in extreme cases not presented by the facts here.  The proposed honorary degree for Mr. Kushner would recognize him for his extraordinary talent and contribution to the American theater.

 [. . .]

Would we want it thought that we approve of the politics of everyone who receives a CUNY honorary degree? Certainly I have moved the approval of honorary degrees for persons with whose opinions I differ.

But politics is not the issue here, as Wiesenfeld made clear in an Atlantic Monthly interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic Monthly, “My Mother Would Call Tony Kushner  a Kapo”:

I asked him if he had any doubt Kushner was an anti-Semite. He said: "Anyone who accuses the Jews of ethnic-cleansing is participating in a blood libel, so yes, he's a Jewish anti-Semite." ... Wiesenfeld told me it is this specific charge -- that Israel was built on a campaign of ethnic cleansing -- that caused him to actively oppose the granting of an honorary degree to Kushner. "I've been on the CUNY board since 1999, and every year we have two or three honorary degrees on each of our 20 campuses. There have been people who have been critical of Israel in this group, but I never opposed them. Criticizing Israel is not a disqualifier. I wouldn't vote for such a person for public office, but this doesn't make them anti-Semitic."...
I asked him if was going to keep up his opposition to Kushner. "If Tony Kushner wanted to come to the board and say, `You know, when I looked at all of this, I oppose Israeli policies, I think they're heading in the wrong direction, but I sincerely regret having said that the State of Israel should never have been created, and I shouldn't have said that the State of Israel had been involved in a national plan of ethnic cleansing, and that this accusation has consequences for the Jewish people,'  guess what, the shit I'm taking from the left I'll be taking from the right because I would support him."

If the Executive Committee of the CUNY Board of Trustees votes to approve the Kushner honorary degree would he accept?  According to the New York Observer, Kushner said: he had “no intention of ever accepting an award from CUNY."

One final note about the competency of the CUNY Board of Trustees can be found in this bon mot from the New York Times:

“I have no idea who Mr. Kushner is; I don’t know his issues,” said Valerie Lancaster Beal, a trustee who said she felt the board should not have singled him out. “To me, it should have been all or none.”

To his estimable credit Wiesenfeld’s dissents are akin to the famed remark of revered Supreme Court Justice Brandeis that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”.


Posted on 05/06/2011 9:28 PM by Jerry Gordon

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