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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 Wednesday, 7, 2009.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Transcript: Mumbai gunmen were commanded by phone

The Associated Press carries extracts from the transcript of intercepted telethone conversations betwwen the Mumbai terrorists and their control centre elsewhere. This is taken from The Hindu, India's National newspaper. The Hindu front page is here.  The Hindu carrys a PDF download of the scanned dossier of evidence given to the government of Pakistan and these can be found here.  For quickness I am going to take the secondary AP article. 
The gunman said into the phone, "We have three foreigners, including women." The response was plain and brutal: "Kill them," the man said. Gunshots rang out inside the Mumbai hotel, followed by a round of cheering.
The ruthless exchange comes from a transcript of phone calls intercepted during the Mumbai attacks that was part of a dossier of evidence India handed Pakistan this week.
New Delhi says the evidence, which also included photographs of recovered weapons, data gleaned from satellite phones, and details from the interrogation of the lone surviving gunman, proves that the Mumbai siege was launched from across the border.
Pakistani authorities have dismissed the evidence as "a propaganda offensive" designed "to whip up tensions" in the region.There are three ministers and one secretary of the cabinet in your hotel. We don't know in which room," the handler told a gunman inside the Taj Mahal hotel at 3:10 a.m. on the first night of the attack. "Oh! That is good news. It is the icing on the cake!" he said.  The handler told him to find the government officials "and then get whatever you want from India."
The handlers in Pakistan told another team of gunmen who had seized a Jewish center to shoot the hostages if necessary.
"If you are still threatened, then don't saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages. Immediately kill them," he said. He then added, "If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel."
"So be it, God willing," the gunman replied.
Later in the night, nearly 24 hours after the attacks began, the handlers urged the gunmen to "be strong in the name of Allah.  Brother, you have to fight. This is a matter of prestige of Islam. You may feel tired or sleepy, but the commandos of Islam have left everything . . .
The gunmen were told several times not to kill any Muslim hostages.
They were ordered, "Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire."

Posted on 01/07/2009 2:22 AM by Esmerelda WEatherwax
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Arson attack on the Jewish congregation of Helsingborg in Sweden

I have managed to trace this story back to the local paper the Helsingborgs Dagblad,  I like original local sources if I can find them, even if I ultimately have to use an English language report from elsewhere. This is a short report so I have used an on-line translator and put the result into more usual English.
Strax innan klockan 21 på måndagskvällen larmades räddningstjänst till en brand i judiska samfundets lokaler på Springpostgränd i Helsingborg. Branden misstänks vara anlagd och vittnen har sett hur två personer suttit på huk vid huset kort innan en stor eld flammat upp. Räddningstjänsten kunde släcka branden snabbt.
Enligt Lennart Nilsson på räddningstjänsten i Helsingborg handlar det antagligen om någon form av brandbomb som kastats in, men elden begränsades till en mindre del av lokalen. Det är oklart vilka skador branden orsakat. Inga personer kom till skada.
Kvällens brand var den andra i lokalen på fyra dagar. Det var på kvällen den 2 januari som den eldhärjades senast.
Which (I hope) translates as
Shortly before 21 o'clock on Monday evening (5thJan) the emergency services were alerted to a fire in the Jewish community's offices on Spring Post Gränd in Helsingborg. The fire is suspected to have been started deliberately  and witnesses saw two people sat  at the back of the house shortly before a major fire flared up. The Fire brigade put out the fire quickly.
According to Lennart Nilsson of the emergency services in Helsingborg it was probably some kind of incendiary bomb that had been thrown in, but the fire was limited to a small part of the room. It is unclear what damage the fire caused. No humans were harmed.
Tonight's fire was the second at the building in the last four days. It was also attacked on the evening of January 2.

Posted on 01/07/2009 3:26 AM by Esmerelda WEatherwax
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Hate hit list - Top British Jews

This story in the Daily Mail and London Evening Standard seems to have originated with what was, in the early hours of this morning, an exclusive from The Sun.
FEARS grew last night that hate-filled Islamic extremists are drawing up a “hit list” of Britain’s leading Jews — bringing the Middle East conflict terrifyingly close to home.
TV’s The Apprentice boss Sir Alan Sugar and Amy Winehouse record producer Mark Ronson are among prominent names discussed on a fanatics’ website.
Labour Peer and pal of Tony Blair Lord Levy, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Princess Diana’s divorce lawyer Anthony Julius are also understood to be potential targets.
British anti-terror expert Glen Jenvey is convinced online forum Ummah is being used to prepare a deadly backlash against UK Jews. His warning came as Europe was hit by anti-Semitic attacks over Israel’s push into the Gaza Strip.
On the Ummah site, “Saladin1970” asks for help compiling “a list of those who support Israel”.
“Abuislam” asks: “Have we got a list of top Jews we can target? Can someone post names and addresses?”
Saladin1970 gives a link to the Power 100 list of top British Jews.
Mr Jenvey, 43, said: “The Ummah website has been used by extremists. Those listed should treat it very seriously. Expect a hate campaign and intimidation by 20 or 30 thugs.”
Sir Alan was understood to be reviewing security.
The Foreign Office refused to discuss Mr Miliband’s security.

Posted on 01/07/2009 4:33 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
A Musical Interlude: I May Be Wrong But I Think You're Wonderful (Red Nichols' Five Pennies, voc. Scrappy Lambert)
Posted on 01/07/2009 8:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Not "Palestinians" But Gazan Arabs

The Arabs sometimes have a habit of letting things slip. Zuheir Mohsen, the leader of the terrorist group As Saiqa, happened to give an interview to James Dorsey for the Dutch newspaper Trouw in March 1977, in which he said this:

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.


Read the U.N. records, the records of what every Arab said, whether in a threatening or a cajoling tone, from 1948 or well before 1948, right up to the Six-Day War, and even for a short period beyond. It is only then that, out of the blue, comes this phrase “the Palestinian people.”

Before all that “Palestinian people” business, and before Israel came into the possession of the unallocated parts of the mandate, the “West Bank” and Gaza that Jordan and Egypt had seized in 1948-1949, and which Ben Gurion, unduly cautious, had not had the wit to seize back, there were far more people who had not been subject to a decades-long onslaught of Arab propaganda, and saw things more clearly.

One such person was Elfan Rees, the Adviser on Refugees to the World Council of Churches on Refugees, who in 1957 wrote this in “The Refugee Problem Today and Tomorrow”:

I hold the view that, political issues aside, the Arab refugee problem is by far the easiest postwar refugee problem to solve by integration. By faith, by language, by race and by social organization, they are indistinguishable from their fellows of the host countries. There is room for them, and land for them, in Syria and in Iraq. There is a developing demand for the kind of manpower that they represent. More unusually still, there is the money to make this integration possible. The United Nations General Assembly, five years ago, voted a sum of 200 million dollars to provide 'homes and jobs' for the Arab refugees. That money remains unspent, not because these tragic people are strangers in a strange land, because they are not; not because there is no room for them to be established, because there is; but simply for political reasons.

And that is where things stand now. These are the shock troops of the Jihad. They are no longer, if they ever were, a “tragic people.” They have managed to turn themselves into people battening on a steady diet of hysteria and hate. Just look at every photograph of those car-swarms in Gaza, and those Hitlerian rallies, and those Der-Stuermer like photos and television shows that the “Palestinian” Arabs feed themselves.

And as long as they are the spoiled children of the “refugee” world, as long as they hog the money and the limelight at the U.N. and in all of its constituent succursales and meetings (in Durban on “Racism” that turned into a kind of lynch-mob against Israel, in Cairo on “the family” that turned into a kind of lynch-mob against Israel, and so on), several hundred millions real refugees who are not political pawns, including a great many who are refugees because they are non-Muslims or non-Arab Muslims who have been fleeing the discrimination, persecution, and murder that Muslim Arabs have inflicted on them, will never get the attention they rightly deserve.

The next time you read about the "Palestinians" in Gaza, mentally edit the writer. When others start talking to you about the "Palestinians" or the "plight of the Palestinians" or the "poor Palestinians," whatever other message you suavely or roughly deliver to them, make sure you do not mimic their language. Make sure you speak of the Gazan Arabs, as you will now be sure to do of the "Arabs of the 'West Bank.'" Do not, out of insufficient vigilance to language, unwittingly collaborate with the enemy, and further his propaganda.

Posted on 01/07/2009 8:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
What Makes Some People Get All Hot And Bothered

From one of those sites where eager discussion is taking place about the latest (apparently) disappointing announcements at MacWorld":

"Now if Apple broke the trend and shipped a Mac Pro with insane GPU support, Toshiba SpursEngine Cell based processing on the motherboard, firewire 3.2Gbps and more I'd get all hot 'n' bothered but that's not going to happen."

Posted on 01/07/2009 9:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Israel acts because the world won't defend it

After Rabbi Michael Lerner's pernicious nonsense the other day The Times' Daniel Finkelstein, whose mother and aunt were in Belsen with Anne Frank, is a breath of fresh air:

There are two things about the tale that help to provide insight. The first is that all these things, the gas chambers, the concentration camps, the attempt to wipe Jews from the face of the Earth, they aren't ancient history, and they aren't fable. They happened to real people and they happened in our lifetime. Anne and Margot Frank were just children to my aunt and my mother; they weren't icons, or symbols of anything.

The second is that world opinion weeps now for Anne Frank. But world opinion did not save her.

The origin of the state of Israel is not religion or nationalism, it is the experience of oppression and murder, the fear of total annihilation and the bitter conclusion that world opinion could not be relied upon to protect the Jews.

Israel was the idea of a journalist. Theodor Herzl was the Paris correspondent of the Neue Freie Presse when he witnessed anti-Semitic rioting against the Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus who had been falsely accused of espionage. Herzl was then among the small corps of journalists who in 1895 witnessed the famous ceremony of disgrace in which Dreyfus was stripped of his epaulettes.

The experience led Herzl to abandon his belief in assimilation. He became convinced that Jews would only be safe if they had their own national home. Herzl became the first leader of modern Zionism. For many years many Jews resisted Herzl's conclusion. My grandfather was among them. But the experience of Jews all over the world in the first half of the 20th century - not just in Europe but in the Middle East too - rather bore out Herzl.

So when Israel is urged to respect world opinion and put its faith in the international community the point is rather being missed. The very idea of Israel is a rejection of this option. Israel only exists because Jews do not feel safe as the wards of world opinion. Zionism, that word that is so abused, so reviled, is founded on a determination that, at the end of the day, somehow the Jews will defend themselves and their fellow Jews from destruction. If world opinion was enough, there would be no Israel.

The poverty and the death and the despair among the Palestinians in Gaza moves me to tears. How can it not? Who can see pictures of children in a war zone or a slum street and not be angry and bewildered and driven to protest? And what is so appalling is that it is so unnecessary. For there can be peace and prosperity at the smallest of prices. The Palestinians need only say that they will allow Israel to exist in peace. They need only say this tiny thing, and mean it, and there is pretty much nothing they cannot have.

Yet they will not say it. And they will not mean it. For they do not want the Jews. Again and again - again and again - the Palestinians have been offered a nation state in a divided Palestine. And again and again they have turned the offer down, for it has always been more important to drive out the Jews than to have a Palestinian state. It is difficult sometimes to avoid the feeling that Hamas and Hezbollah don't want to kill Jews because they hate Israel. They hate Israel because they want to kill Jews.

There cannot be peace until this changes. For Israel will not rely on airy guarantees and international gestures to defend it. At its very core, it will not. It will lay down its arms when the Jews are safe, but it will not do it until they are.

Finkelstein does not say why the Palestinians will not say "this tiny thing". Islam prohibits it.

On the subject of Anne Frank, the BBC is showing a superb drama based on her diary each day this week. The BBC is good at revealing injustice to Jews – provided that injustice is in the past. Yet in its coverage of Israel, it does much to perpetuate it.

Posted on 01/07/2009 10:09 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Then You Would Be A Fool, Wouldn't You?

"The BBC is good at revealing injustice to Jews – provided that injustice is in the past. Yet in its coverage of Israel, it does much to perpetuate it." -- at the very end of this posting

Nothing is as infuriating as the way in which the very same speakers and speakerines on the BBC, the ones who do everything they can, so malevolently and consistently, or at best, sometimes merely out of fantastic ignorance, to undercut Israel, to misrepresent or ignore its case, and to present, too consistently to be unwitting, Arab propagandists, and those who, while not Arabs or not Muslims, have swallowed mostly whole the Arab view of things, and sweetly present it to the largely credulous, because largely ill-informed, listeners.

No, I'm wrong. There is something else as infuriating. It's those scenes of leaders, or those just "taking a leadership role," from Jacques Chirac to some E.U. bigshot, visiting Israel, putting on a kppah, and visiting Yad Vashem, and being shown coming out, appropriately solemn, even ashen-faced, and then writing something in a Visitor's Book, or uttering a heartfelt phrase about "Never Again" and then, of course, going right back home, and having his country's foreign policy, and his country's representative at the U.N., continue to swallow, continue to endorse, the most unfair and vicious treatment of israel, a treatment that surely will contribute, if it continues, to the undoing of that "Never Again."

The survival of Israel requires that Israel remain strong, and that it no longer be asked to give up any more territory, any more anything, not asked to give up the Golan Heights, not asked to give up the parts of Judea and Samaria that Jordan carefully renamed the "West Bank" and that is essential for Israel's survival, because without possession of that territory, Israel is eight miles wide at its waist (from Qalqilya to the sea), because without possession of that territory, Israel will not control the invasion routes from the East, because without possession of that territory, there is no doubt that the local Arabs will, eventually, go in for the kill. And this will not take very long, because as Muslims, they will naturally not be satisfied no matter what Israel gives up, for the very idea of an Infidel nation-state, and one run by the long-despised Jews at that, should exist in the middle of Dar al-Islam, is simply impossible for Muslim Arabs to accept. And because without possession of what litle remains to Israel from its spectacular victory in that war of self-defense imposed upon it by Nasser -- the Six-Day War -- all that remains is that "West Bank," territory which, it should not be forgotten or should be learned if not known, was part of that assigned by the League of Nations to the Mandate for Palestine that was set up, as all educated people know, for the express and sole purpose of the establishment, within the vast territories of the former Ottoman lands, the Jewish National Home. That the Jews, the Copts, the Maronites, the Kurds, the Berbers, and many smaller peoples, all over North Africa and the Middle East, deserve to be rescued from the treatment meted out to them by the Arabs , should by now be clear. That what Gaza has turned into is exactly what  the "West Bank," if Israel gives it up, will turn into -- no one in Israel, and no one outside of Israel, should have the slightest doubt.

Don't be fooled by the temporary, easily-changed, facade provided to the Slow Jihadists of Fatah by those two no-one-here-but-us-accountants Mahmoud Abbas (for decades the close collaborator of the murdering Arafat), and technocrat Fahad. Most men are primitive. If their ideology is fairly innocuous, or can be made so, then there is hope. But when their ideology is Islam, that Total Belief-System, that already has in place a system for punishing, for destroying, all those who , while Muslims themselves, try to question some element of that faith  (see the example of Taha Husain of Egypt), so that the only apostates who live to publicly explain what Islam is all about all must live in the West, and even some of them -- Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- must live with armed guards, or in hiding.

The current campaign in Gaza has revealed several things. Israel cannot count on anyone, it can only count on itself. The crazed hysteria among Arabs and Muslims, whipped up in the countries of Western Europe as well as in some Middle Eastern ones, shows that Muslims in our midst are a great physical threat. If you think that Europe will be better off without Jews, then by all means, do nothing. If you think that European culture did not suffer an almost mortal blow because of what the Nazis did, by all means, do nothing. If, however, you do not recognize  -- that the anti-Israel demonstrations, those hideous territorial demonstrations of power, right in the parvis (sagrato) of the Duomo in Milano, and in Bologna, and those violent marches by hysterical Muslims down the haussmannized boulevards of Paris, ending in the usual vandalism, theft of Infidel property (a quarter of a million dollars worth of jewels from Pion, for example), burnings of cars, and so on, and in London, and elsewhere, are the outward signs of a  threat, a permanent and growing threat to the Infidels of Western Europe, and hence to the Infidels of the entire Western world -- well, then, you are really a fool, aren't you? 

Posted on 01/07/2009 10:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Surabaya Activists Block Synagogue, Burn Israeli Flags

From The Jakarta Globe
Surabaya. At least 100 activists from Muslim organizations in East Java Province blockaded a synagogue and burned Jewish symbols in Surabaya on Wednesday to demonstrate support for Palestinians.
The protesters, led by Abdusshomad Buchori, the East Java head of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, or MUI, marched through central Surabya from Jalan Gubernur to Jalan Kayun where they tried to enter the Jewish assembly building.
The protestors burned Israeli flags and shouted slogans supporting Palestinians. They also raised a Palestinian flag in front of the building.
At least 10 demonstrators entered the property but were forced back by police before they were able to cause any damage.
The protesters then blockaded the gate to the building, which was established in the 1930s. Surabaya has been home to a small community of Jewish Indonesians who emigrated several generations ago.
About 200 police stood guard in front of the synagogue.
Rally participants demanded the Indonesian government take action over the Israeli attacks on Gaza and condemn Israel for causing the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians. The rally started at 10 p.m., but broke up after about 90 minutes.
State-run Antara news agency reported on Wednesday that hundreds of students staged a march in Serang, Banten Province, to protest against Israel’s offensive.
Protestors from organizations such as Al-Irsyad and hardline Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia took part. The protestors also condemned US support of Israel and urged Muslims to express discontent by boycotting American products. “It’s not only a religion-related war, but also a humanitarian problem that should be everyone’s concern,” said Muhtar Anam, a field coordinator for the group.

Posted on 01/07/2009 11:38 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
New twist in mosque row

This is the proposed Dudley Islamic Village. From The Express and Star of the Black Country
Controversial plans for an £18 million mosque were today set to be scuppered after a Black Country council launched a legal move to reclaim the land.
Dudley Muslim Association had won permission on appeal to build the mosque on land in the town’s Hall Street.
But under the terms of Dudley Council’s deal with the association, the development had to be “substantially built” by the start of this month. No brick has yet been laid and a detailed planning application not submitted.
Council leader Councillor David Caunt today confirmed wheels are in motion for the council to reclaim the land. “The agreement said ‘substantially built by the end of the year’ and they haven’t even got a detailed planning application in yet,” he said.
“There will be a report before the next cabinet meeting on the matter.”

Posted on 01/07/2009 12:08 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Fox On Ft. Lauderdale Protests

Fox News has picked up Tom Trento's video of the Ft. Lauderdale protests and is showing a snippet of it in their website. It is also linked at Drudge.

Like many other protests of Israel's campaign in Gaza, this one ended badly — police had to cool an ugly fight between supporters of Israel and Gaza, breaking up the warring sides as their screaming and chanting threatened to turn into something worse.

But some protesters at this rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took their rhetoric a step further, calling for the extermination of Israel — and of Jews.

Separated by battle lines and a stream of rush-hour traffic outside a federal courthouse last week, at least 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators faced off against a smaller crowd of Israel supporters.

Most of the chants were run-of-the-mill; men and women waving Palestinian flags called Israel's invasion of Gaza a "crime," while the pro-Israel group carried signs calling the Hamas-run territory a "terror state."

But as the protest continued and crowds grew, one woman in a hijab began to shout curses and slurs that shocked Jewish activists in the city, which has a sizable Jewish population.

"Go back to the oven," she shouted, calling for the counter-protesters to die in the manner that the Nazis used to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.

"You need a big oven, that's what you need," she yelled.


Millions of Jews were gassed and burned in crematoria throughout Europe during Adolf Hitler's rule of Germany. The protest organizers, asked to comment on the woman's overt call for Jewish extermination, said she was "insensitive" but refused to condemn her statement.

"She does not represent the opinions of the vast majority of people who were there," said Emmanuel Lopez, who helped plan the event, one of many sponsored nationwide on Dec. 30 by the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism ) Coalition.

Lopez, a state coordinator for ANSWER, admitted there is a problem with anti-Semitism within his organization's ranks. But then he went on to call the supporters of Israel across the street "barbaric, racist" Zionist terrorists.

"Zionism in general is a barbaric, racist movement that really is the cause of the situation in the entire Middle East," Lopez said....

Posted on 01/07/2009 12:07 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
The Perfect Present For Someone Going To Saudi Arabia
Posted on 01/07/2009 1:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Reading the Signs

How easy everything is in theory, and how difficult in practice!

This thought, by no means original, occurred to me recently on the Paris Metro (in the Réaumur-Sébastopol station, to be exact). I had to change lines there for several days in succession, and on each a terrible smell hung in the air for a couple of hundred yards along the passageway connecting Lines Three and Four—a mixture of urine and the body odor of a human being unwashed for months, if not longer.

The source of the smell, which made thousands of people walk a little faster, hoping to reach a place where it was no longer detectable, was not difficult to find: a man, almost certainly a schizophrenic, had taken up residence in the passageway, lying in indescribable filth on a bed of tattered cardboard. I will not describe him further, in case it is nearly mealtime for some readers.

Unfortunately, an unpleasant surprise awaited those taking the train in the direction of Gallieni on Line Three: another schizophrenic had taken up residence on the platform, not as dirty but much noisier than the one in the passageway. He screamed unending abuse at the hallucinatory voices he must have been hearing, so ear-splittingly that one could not think. The passengers gave him a wide berth: so much so that his end of the platform was deserted, while the other was crowded. No doubt this was stigmatizing, but there have been cases of schizophrenics pushing passengers off platforms into oncoming trains.

I also noticed that several of the advertising posters in the Réaumur-Sébastopol station had been defaced by—or, some might say, replied to—by passengers of ideological bent. For example, across the ads for some kind of cabaret show, depicting a young woman with a large bosom wearing only a revealing leotard and extravagant feathers, someone had scrawled FEMME—OBJET. It wasn’t difficult to guess the feminist sentiment behind these words: patriarchal society ritually humiliated women and kept them subordinate by turning them into mere sex objects. As for the woman in the picture, she was the female equivalent of an Uncle Tom.

A second advertisement was for a fast-food chain that sold chickens ready-roasted. Not surprisingly, it had a picture of a beautifully golden roast chicken, across which someone had scrawled NOURRI OGM—fed with genetically modified organisms. Again, it wasn’t difficult to imagine the environmentalist thought behind the scrawl: genetic modification, carried out by or at the behest of agribusiness, would eventually lead to disaster, either through famine or epidemic cancer. Therefore, we must live a simpler, healthier life, etc.

Finally, a department-store ad invited customers by asking passersby whether they had run out of ideas for Christmas presents. Across this, someone had written TANT MIEUX—so much the better. This, of course, was a succinct critique of the consumer society, in which people buy more and more of what they need less and less: does happiness consist of possession of what you did not know you wanted until you saw it, and possession of which will only momentarily please you? Of course not; abandon, then, your useless consumption.

I do not mean to say that I was completely unsympathetic with any of the scrawlers’ points of view. I could see how someone might find the cabaret ad vulgar and demeaning. I could see that a reduction in biodiversity brought about by the monoculture of genetically modified crops might prove a bad thing in the long term. And when I see crowds shopping for what they do not need and often cannot afford, I think of rats on a treadmill in search of they know not what (it is only when you think of the alternative to the consumer society in the modern world that I am slightly less critical of it).

No; what really struck me about the scrawlers of the Réaumur-Sébastopol station was their passionate certainty about large and distant abstractions; while at the same time, no one among many thousands knew, apparently, what to do in practice about the two individuals who were causing some inconvenience, displeasure, and even fear to those same thousands.

Originally posted at City Journal

Posted on 01/07/2009 1:19 PM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
'We (Muslims) weren’t invited to Basildon's 60th birthday bash'

From The Billericay Weekly News

A RELIGIOUS leader claims ethnic minority groups were excluded from celebratory events to mark 60 years since the creation of the Basildon New Town.

Brother Sarfraz Sarwar, leader of Basildon Muslim Association, has criticised Basildon Council by claiming the town’s ethnic groups have been isolated from celebrations to commemorate the landmark.

He says muslim and black community groups were not invited to a special civic ceremony to launch the start of the celebrations of Basildon New Town, held in St Martin’s Square on Sunday.
He also says they have not been contacted even once by the council to be included in any of the other special events set to take place throughout the year across the district.

Brother Sarwar said: “I am fuming at this. We are just as much part of the community and we would like to be a part of these celebrations. We have lots of interesting history to share and I am very angry nobody from the council – including the council’s own ethnic minorities officer who earns £31,000 a year – has bothered to pick up the phone and get in touch with us.”

Responding to Mr Sarwar’s comments, Paul Illet, head of communications at Basildon Council, said: “We held an event on Sunday in St Martin’s Square to start a year of celebrations across the district for Basildon's 60th birthday. This was a public event and the entire community was invited to attend.

To quote one of the comments "“This was a public event and the entire community was invited to attend" what did this idiot Sarwar want? A gilt-edged invitation card delivered on a gold salver by a liveried footman in a royal coach? What a p*llock.

Sarfraz Sarwar does have form and is known locally as a whiner.

Posted on 01/07/2009 2:05 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Derbyshire 2002

John Derbyshire linked to one of his articles from 2002 at The Corner which reminded me of the style I used to enjoy in his work:

...The Palestinians are Arabs; and the Arabs, whatever their medieval achievements (as best I can understand, they were mainly achievements of transmission — "Arabic" numerals, for example, came from India) are politically hopeless. Who can dispute this? Look at the last 50-odd years, since the colonial powers left. What have the Arabs accomplished? What have they built? Where in the Arab world is there a trace or a spark of democracy? Of constitutionalism? Of laws independent of the ruler's whim? Of free inquiry? Of open public debate? Where in your house is there any article stamped "Made in Syria?" Arabs can be individually very charming and capable, and perform very well in free societies like the U.S.A. There are at least two recent Nobel prizes with Arab names attached. Collectively, though, as nations, the Arabs are no-hopers.

All of this applies to the Palestinians. I spent some of my formative years in Hong Kong, a barren piece of rock with zero natural resources, under foreign occupation, chock-full of refugees from the Mao tyranny. The people there weren't lounging in UNRWA camps or making suicide runs at the governor's mansion. They were trading, building, speculating, manufacturing, working — with the result that Hong Kong is now a glittering modern city filled with well-dressed, well-educated, well-fed people, proud of what they have accomplished together, and with a higher standard of living than Britain herself. If, following the Oslo accords — or for that matter, in the 20 years of Jordanian occupation — the Palestinians had taken that route, had set aside their fantasies of revenge and massacre, and concentrated on building up something worth having, I might have respect for them. As it is, I don't.

The only halfway sympathetic thing I can find to say about the Palestinians is that UNRWA has surely been part of the problem. If you go to the UNRWA website, you will see how proud they are of having fed, clothed, sheltered, educated and cared for the Palestinian refugees of 1948... and their children... and their grandchildren. The number of people UNRWA cares for has gone from 600,000 in 1948 to nearly four million today. Now, I understand that the prime impulse of bureaucracies, especially welfare bureaucracies, is the consolidation and expansion of their turf, and a steady increase in the number of their "clients"; but this is ridiculous. The good people of Hong Kong should go down on their knees every night and thank God that there was no UNRWA in the colony in 1949. So, come to think of it, should the German and East European refugees who flooded into Western Europe after WWII. (I have seen the number 14 million somewhere — the Sudeten Germans alone numbered three million. Where are the festering camps? Where are the suicide bombers?)

Even if their lives had not been poisoned by the ministrations of a huge welfare bureaucracy, though, I doubt the Palestinians would have got their act together. None of the other Arabs have. Everywhere you look around the Arab world you see squalor, despotism, cruelty, and hopelessness. The best they have been able to manage, politically speaking, has been the Latin-American style one-party kleptocracies of Egypt and Jordan. Those are the peaks of Arab political achievement under independence, under government by their own people. The norm is just gangsterism, with thugs like Assad, Qaddafi, or Saddam in charge. It doesn't seem to be anything to do with religion: the secular states (Iraq, Syria) are just as horrible as the religious ones like Saudi Arabia. These people are hopeless. We are all supposed to support the notion of a Palestinian state. Why? We know perfectly well what it would be like. Why should we wish for another gangster-satrapy to be added to the Arab roll of shame, busy manufacturing terrorists to come here and slaughter Americans in their offices? I don't want to see a Palestinian state. I think I'd be crazy to want that.

What, actually, are the possible futures for the Palestinians? I think the following list is exhaustive.

1. An independent state, under Arafat or someone just as thuggish.
2. Military occupation by Israel.
3. Re-incorporation into a Jordanian-Palestinian nation.
4. Some sort of U.N. trusteeship.
5. Expulsion from the West Bank and Gaza, those territories then incorporated into Israel.

Number 1 is what we are all supposed to want. As I have already indicated, I don't want it, and I can't see why anyone else would, either. Except Palestinians, I suppose: If they yearn to be ruled by amoral hoodlums (as, according to polls, they apparently do), I suppose they have some theoretical right to see their wishes fulfilled — but why should the rest of us allow it to happen, given the dangers to us? Number 2 might work for a time, but the Israelis would eventually get fed up with it, and then we'd move on to one of the other options. Number 3 would get us back to the pseudo-stability of pre-1967, but is deeply unpopular with Jordanians — and look what happened in 1967! Number 4 undoubtedly has the UNRWA bureaucrats drooling, but as with number 1, it's hard to see what's in it for the rest of us. Aren't we handing over enough of our money in welfare payments to our own people?

Which leaves us with number 5: expulsion. I am starting to think that this might be the best option. I'm not the only one, either. Here is Dick Armey, Republican leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, talking to Chris Matthews on Hardball:

MATTHEWS: Well, just to repeat, you believe that the Palestinians who are now living on the West Bank should get out of there?

Rep. ARMEY: Yes.

When I say "the best option," I don't mean "best for the Palestinians". I don't think they have any good options. Being Arabs, they are incapable of constructing a rational polity, so their future is probably hopeless whatever happens. Their options are the ones I listed above: to be ruled by gangsters, or Israelis, or Jordanians, or welfare bureaucrats. Or to go live somewhere else, under the gentle rule of their brother Arabs. Would expulsion be hard on the Palestinians? I suppose it would. Would it be any harder than options 1 thru 4? I doubt it. Do I really give a flying falafel one way or the other? No, not really.

Unfortunately, later Mr. Derbyshire rejected those who offer a coherent, historically verifiable explanation of Arab backwardness: that it lies in their culture and religion, which shapes their world-view which in turn causes the problems discussed above. Mr. Derbyshire dismisses those of us who offer this explanation as "Islamophobes" and for his part seems to offer something vague about genetics instead. Yet, it is readably observable that Islamic societies across the genetic spectrum, from North Africa, across the Levant up into Central Asia, through South Asia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, all produce the same kinds of behavior and eventually, the same kinds of societies because they are rooted in the same world-view. The major variable is the degree of Islamization, not welfare dependance and certainly not genetics.

Posted on 01/07/2009 1:49 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Dialogue Overheard At Overlook Point
JP [Jason Pappas]:
Excellent point![about using the phrase “Gazan Arabs” instead of “Palestinians”]... As always, I enjoy the articles in this venue.
HF [Hugh Fitzgerald]:  
I'll pocket the praise (I need something to put in my pocket, after all) but I can't help wondering if your use of "venue" was deliberate, meant to comically provoke, or was not deliberate, was innocently used, in which case it is my sad duty to refer you to this recent posting: 
Ah, shows what you lose when you miss a day.
I understand. We all overlook things. You missed my remarks on the Sick Mass Transit of "Venue." I, on the other hand, back in 2004 missed the Transit of Venus. There I was, sitting quietly at home, reading volume 2 of the Memoirs of Viscount Morley, and for some reason I dozed off, and forgot to step outside with my spyglass to observe the Transit of Venus. And to think that the sonorously-named Abbé Chappe d’Auteroche travelled all the way from France to far-off Siberia, to Tobolsk, in order a to get a good view of the Transit of Venus on June 5, 1761, and then, eight years later, travelled all the way to sunny California in order to see the Transit of Venus from that….”venue.”  So you can imagine how miffed I was to have dozed through, and then slept through, the Transit of Venus of 2004. And to think that there won’t be another one until 2012.
Sometimes I feel that I just can’t do anything right
Posted on 01/07/2009 3:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
An Interview With Bassam Tibi That Does Not Date

From Der Spiegel in 2006: 


For years, political scientist Bassam Tibi has been urging Muslims to integrate into European societies and Europe to stand up to Islamists. He spoke with SPIEGEL about the weakness of Europe, the orthodoxy of Islam and what Germany needs to do to open up.


Bassam Tibi, 62, was born in Damascus, Syria and came to Germany when he was 18 to study in Frankfurt. He has been a German citizen since 1967.

Bassam Tibi, 62, was born in Damascus, Syria and came to Germany when he was 18 to study in Frankfurt. He has been a German citizen since 1967.

SPIEGEL: The administrator of one of Berlin's opera houses, the Deutsche Oper, has cancelled the Mozart Opera "Idomeneo" out of fear of an Islamist reaction. Is this the first sign of Germany bowing down to Islam?


Tibi: It's not the first sign, but rather a repeated one. Recently we have been seeing more and more acts of submission, the most recent case being the Pope's apology. When it comes to Islam, there is no freedom of the press nor freedom of opinion in Germany. Organized groups in Islamic communities want to decide what is said and done here. I myself have been dropped from numerous events because of threats.

SPIEGEL: You are trying to say that critics of Islam are systematically silenced in Germany?

Tibi: Yes. Even the comparatively moderate Turkish organization DITIB says there are no Islamists, only Islam and Muslims -- anything else is racism. That means that you can no longer criticize the religion. Accusing somebody of racism is a very effective weapon in Germany. Islamists know this: As soon as you accuse someone of demonizing Islam, then the European side backs down. I have also been accused of such nonsense, even though my family can trace its roots right back to Muhammad and I myself know the Koran by heart.

SPIEGEL: You have said numerous times that the conflict between the Western world and Muslim groups here is an "ideological war."

Tibi: The result of a conflict between two sides is that people politicize their cultural backgrounds. In Germany representatives of the Islamic communities try to hijack children who are born here, along with the entire Islamic community, to prevent them from being influenced by the society which has taken them in. Children born here are like blank sheets on which you can write European or Islamic texts. Muslim representatives want to raise their children as if they don't even live in Europe.

SPIEGEL: Many Germans believe that communities should live together peacefully without any parallel societies. Is it therefore right to compromise in order to avoid antagonizing Muslims unnecessarily?

Tibi: Quite the opposite. The Islamic officials who live here are very intelligent and view this as weakness. Muslims stand by their religion entirely. It is a sort of religious absolutism. While Europeans have stopped defending the values of their civilization. They confuse tolerance with relativism.

SPIEGEL: When something insults Muslims, we often tend to just back off -- doesn't this help defuse the conflict?

Tibi: No. That is simply giving up. And the weaker the partner is viewed by the Muslims, then the greater the anger which they express. And this anger is often carefully staged. The argument over the cartoons for example was completely orchestrated. Nothing was spontaneous. A lot of people don't know if Denmark is a country or a cheese. Where did they get the Danish flags? Protests like these are weapons in this war of ideas. Or take another example: The president of the Iranian parliament was visiting Belgium where he had an appointment with a female Belgian colleague. He refused to shake her hand, so she didn't meet with him. He left Belgium and accused her of racism. The accusation of cultural insensitivity is a weapon. And we have to neutralize it.

SPIEGEL: Can the Islam conference which the German minister of domestic affairs, Wolfgang Schäuble, organized in Berlin last week, help in this regard?

Tibi: No, because the biggest taboo is that there even is a conflict at all. Everyone denies that. Instead people talk about misunderstandings and how these should be resolved. But a conflict of values is not a misunderstanding. Islamic orthodoxy and the German constitution are not compatible. And that is why the Islam conference failed.

SPIEGEL: So what's the answer then?

Tibi: Muslims have to give up three things if they want to become Europeans: They have to bid farewell to the idea of converting others, and renounce the Jihad. The Jihad is not just a way of testing yourself but also means using violence to spread Islam. The third thing they need to give up is the Shariah, which is the Islamic legal system. This is incompatible with the German constitution. There are also two things they need to redefine.

SPIEGEL: Which are?

Tibi: Pluralism and tolerance are pillars of modern society. That has to be accepted. But pluralism doesn't just mean diversity. It means that we share the same rules and values, and are still nevertheless different. Islam doesn't have this idea. And Islam also has no tradition of tolerance. In Islam tolerance means that Christians and Jews are allowed to live under the protection of Muslims but never as citizens with the same rights. What Muslims call tolerance is nothing other than discrimination.

SPIEGEL: How many of the 3 million Muslims living in Germany would agree to these demands?

Tibi: A few thousand perhaps.

SPIEGEL: And what about the organizations at the Islam conference? After all, they all clearly said that they accept the German constitution. They also stated that it is allowed to change religion or to have no religion at all, even though the Shariah punishes a loss of faith with the death sentence. Is this a credible statement?

Tibi: I doubt that these statements are correct. Only representatives of organized Islam went to Schäuble's conference. Schäuble's problem is terrorism. And when the organizations tell him: "We are against terrorism," then everything is hunky-dory. But that is not a policy.

SPIEGEL: So who should Schäuble talk to? To you? For many years you have been a proponent of an enlightened form of Euro-Islam -- a topic which has been much discussed. But you are pretty much a lone voice.

Tibi: I support reforming Islam and I am not alone in this. Next month I'm meeting 20 other Islamic reformers in Copenhagen. We are trying to reinvigorate the tradition of enlightening Islam. But our mistake is that we are not united.

SPIEGEL: And apart from these scientists and thinkers?

Tibi: It would be much more important to have enlightened Imams. But when the Alfred Herrhausen society wanted to invite a German-speaking Imam with European ideas to a discussion, no one could be found. In the end they took the Grand Mufti of Marseille. And why are there such people in France and not here? Because the French state and French society has worked on developing them.

SPIEGEL: So the German state should reform Islam?

Tibi: Of course not. But the French state helped set up a council of Muslims which was completely in line with European values. If the French state had not been involved, the council would have probably been in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. This is a challenge facing civil society, but the state also has to help. By staying neutral, as is the case here in Germany, you are handing victory over to the Islamists.

SPIEGEL: Schäuble is looking for partners who can help in the teaching of Islam in schools and the training of Imams.

Tibi: That is a good start. The important thing is that the teachers must be trained here and that the state and the society decides on the curriculum.

SPIEGEL: You have often said that the integration of Muslims in Germany has failed. And that integration can only be achieved by "educating a civil society." But who should do this and who decides who needs to be educated?

Tibi: I am thinking in particular about the re-education programs which were carried out in Germany after the Third Reich. Social studies teachers and political science faculties were given the task of turning young people into democrats. That worked then. Why shouldn't we have a similar model for Muslims? In youth clubs, or during Islamic instruction in schools. Of course it takes a long time, 50 years say, but we have to start.

SPIEGEL: But how do you expect to draw the third generation away from the influence of the mosques?


Tibi: I don't have any clear idea either about how this should be done. The situation is this: young Muslims want to be "members of the club," part of German society. But they are rejected. And parallel societies provide warmth. It is a vicious circle.


SPIEGEL: But what is astounding is that you see yourself also as an example of failed integration. You have been working for 30 years at a German university, you have written 26 books in German and have been awarded the Federal Cross of Merit. Why, out of anyone, are you not integrated?

Tibi: It's more to do with a feeling of belonging. In Germany it is not a contradiction to say, Mr. Tibi is Syrian and has a German passport. In France however it is. And in America it would be a reason to take someone to court, as you are excluding them from American society. Even after 40 years here, I'm still not German. I also believe that I have not progressed higher as a professor here because I am a foreigner. When I retire I will be leaving Germany and going to Cornell university.

SPIEGEL: That sounds quite sad. What should Germany do?

Tibi: We need to see a change in culture among Germans too. We must change this idea that only those who are born here and have ethnically German parents, are seen as German. Almost 20 percent of the people living in Germany today have a foreign background. The problem is that Germany can't really offer foreigners an identity because the Germans hardly have a national identity themselves. That is certainly a result of Auschwitz. America's strength is that it is capable of accepting people into its communities.

Interview conducted by Cordula Meyer and Caroline Schmidt

Translated from the German by Damien McGuinness

Posted on 01/07/2009 3:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
A Cinematic Interlude: If Winter Comes
Posted on 01/07/2009 4:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
A Musical Interlude: Okay, Toots (Eddie Cantor)
Posted on 01/07/2009 4:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Ven you got it, flaunt it
Step right up and strut your stuff
People tell you modesty's a wirtue
But in the theatre modesty can hurt you
Ven you got it, flaunt it
Show your assets, let them know you're proud
Your goodies you must push
Stick out your chest, shake your tush
Ven you got it, shout it out loud
Now Ulla dance.
Ven you got it, show it
Put your hidden treasures on display
Violinists love to play an E-string
But audiences really love a G-string
Ven you got it, should it!
Let the whole vorld hear vat you're about
Clothes may make the man
All a girl needs is a tan
Ven you got it, let it hang out!
Remember ven Ulla dance?
Ulla dance again!
Ven I was yust a little girl in Sveden
My thoughtful mother gave me this advice
If nature blesses you from top to bottom
Show that top to bottom, don't think twice
Now Ulla belt!
Don't think twice!
Ven you got it, share it
Let the public feast upon your charms
People say that being prim is proper
But ev'ry showgirl knows that prim will stop her
If you got it, give it
Don't be selfish, give it all a-vay
Don't be shy, be bold 'n' cute
Show the boys your birthday suit
Ven you got it, if you got it
Once you got it, shout out hooray! 

(Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson)

Posted on 01/07/2009 4:42 PM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Those "Unbiased" Norwegian Doctors In Gaza

Norwegian Doctors in Gaza: Objective Observers or Partisan Propagandists?

Mads Gilbert

The source of most of the information coming from Gaza thus far has been from Palestinian representatives. One of the only non-Palestinian voices heard has been that of Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who entered Gaza on December 31 along with his colleague Erik Fosse ostensibly to provide medical assistance to Palestinians at Shifa Hospital. They have become media stars as the BBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, Independent, Sky News, and New York Times, among others, have turned to them as independent foreign observers to provide a presumably non-partisan perspective. They have been extensively interviewed in the Norwegian as well as the world press. In fact, Gilbert appears in so many interviews that one wonders how he has the time to provide medical help, never mind "doing surgery around the clock" as he claims.

In his interviews, Gilbert decries what he claims is Israel's "all out war against civilians." Condemning Israel for "deliberately targeting the [Palestinian] population" and causing "a man-made disaster," Gilbert and Fosse claim that Israel and the UN are lying about the civilian casualty count and feed the media their own alternate statistics ( "50% of the casualties are women and children"–CBS; "children made up 25% of the deaths and 45% of the wounded"–BBC). Gilbert is even quoted by the Iranian Press TV alleging the Israelis have used unconventional weapons against the Palestinians.

So are these Norwegians indeed non-partisan foreigners providing independent confirmation of Palestinian reports or do they have an agenda? Is Gilbert simply someone "who was allowed into Gaza last week to give emergency medical aid, and who has worked in many conflict zones," as the New York Times introduces him or someone with a partisan perspective?

Gilbert is a radical Marxist and a member of the political Red (Rodt) party, a revolutionary socialist party in Norway. He has been a pro-Palestinian activist since the 1970's and travelled to Lebanon in support of the Palestinians during the first Lebanon war in 1982. He has long been a vocal opponent of Israel and the U.S. Gilbert has acknowledged that he cannot separate politics from medicine, stating, "there is little in medicine that is not politics." He even criticizes the group Doctors Without Borders for providing medical assistance to both sides in a conflict instead of taking a strong stance and supporting only one party. In a 2006 article in Nordlys, journalist Ivan Kristoffersen lamented the fact that Gilbert allows his humanitarian efforts to be politicized by his radical agenda.   
The extent of Gilbert's political agenda and animus toward Israel and the U.S. is best evidenced by his radical support for the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the U.S.  
In an interview with the Norwegian daily, Dagbladet, shortly after the attacks, Gilbert stated:

The attack on New York was not surprising, after the policy that has led the West in recent decades. I am upset over the terrorist attack, but am equally upset over the suffering which the United States has created. It is in this context that the 5000 dead people must be seen. If the U.S. government has a legitimate right to bomb and kill civilians in Iraq, then there is also a moral right to attack the United States with the weapons they had to create. Dead civilians are the same whether they are Americans, Palestinians or Iraqis.

Erik Fosse

When asked by Dagbladet if he supported the terrorist attack on the U.S., he replied:

Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned. (Sept. 30, 2001)

Fosse worked as a doctor for the Palestine Committee in Lebanon in the 1970's. He now leads NORWAC, the Norwegian Aid Committee. According to Aftenposten, Fosse's passion to work on behalf of Palestinians was sparked by his time in Lebanon.

According to Verdens Gang, the largest Norwegian daily, Gilbert and Fosse's current trip to Gaza is funded by the Norwegian foreign ministry. 

Given the partisan — and in Gilbert's case, radical — perspective they represent, Fosse's and Gilbert's testimony must be weighed with extreme caution.


Posted on 01/07/2009 6:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Israeli General Effie Eitam believes “a clear cut victory in Gaza” is possible.

I was one of several bloggers on a conference call sponsored by One Jerusalem with Israeli Knesset member, Res. Brig. Gen. Effie Eitam. Eitam is a distinguished war hero, leading opposition figure, member of the Knesset and a senior member of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Knesset. Eitam has two sons who are among the IDF troops engaged in Gaza. Eitam is regularly briefed by both the Minister of Defense and the IDF Chief of Staff on current developments in Operation Cast Lead. Gen Eitam was an opponent of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, highly critical of the Second Lebanon War debacle under PM Olmert in 2006, and views the ‘peace process’ as virtually over. He has been an opponent of ‘land for peace’ and the so-called ‘two state solution’. Eitam  in today’s briefing may have answered the rhetorical question raised in my NER article, “Does Israel have the resolve to Vanquish Hamas?” 

Among the bloggers who posed questions to Eitam following  his briefing  were Ted Belman of Israpundit, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, Omri Ceren of Mere Rhetoric, Ann Lieberman of Boker Tov! Boulder and the author. You can listen to the One Jerusalem blogger call with Eitam, here.

Eitam stressed the following major points in his briefing, as chronicled by Ted Belman of Israpundit:
1.The IDF will seize control over the Philadelphi Corridor border with Egypt. There will be no more smuggling of arms. Period.
2. Israel will continue with its assault for another two weeks. Rather than enter into Gaza City and fight street by street, Israel will invite the Gazans to leave the city and go to the sand dunes of Gush Katif where a temporary city will be set up for their care. Then Israel will pulverize Gaza City from the air until Hamas surrenders.
3. Israel, even then, won’t rush into a ceasefire agreement but will manage the aftermath carefully. Ultimately, the IDF will return to Israel.
4. Israel will insist in any settlement that kidnapped IDF Sgt. Gilad Shalit be returned.
5. The Defeat of Hamas will not move the peace process forward. There is no peace process. The Arabs have to choose between the status quo and a fate similar to the fate of Gazans. The Arabs prefer Israel protection to having their own state. Everything is improving in Judea and Samaria and the Arabs know it.
6. Israel is unified and committed to preventing Iran from getting the bomb. From what he said I got the impression that the attack on Iran is not far away hopefully with international support.
7. Bush is ending his Presidency as a faithful friend of Israel and an enemy of terror.
What was not lost on any of my fellow bloggers during the One Jerusalem conference call with Eitam was his moral clarity and the solidarity of the Israeli people with IDF troops in Gaza. 80 % of Israelis polled, according to Eitam, support the IDF incursion. He noted that injured soldiers he met in Soroka Hospital in Beersheba were anxious to return to their units to carry on the fight against Hamas in Gaza. Ann Lieberman of Boker Tov! Boulder chocked up audibly when she thanked  Eitam and IDF soldiers in Gaza who were “also fighting for us in the Diaspora.” This is a matter addressed in Pamela Geller’s query about the ‘annihilationist’ protesters in Eurabia, U.K., and, yes, here in the US. Geller has been relentless in graphically conveying evidence of these protesters’ hatred of Israel and Jews.
I asked Eitam about whether a ‘clear cut victory’ in Gaza would send a telling message to Iran and what he called the axis of evil: Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and other Islamic terror groups supported by the Mullahs in Tehran. He said that Israel will not allow Iran to create a ‘nuclear umbrella’ over the region. He is convinced that if diplomacy failed an international operation to take down the Iranian ‘nuclear umbrella’ would be launched. Further, he noted that the incoming Obama Administration might learn from the Israeli confrontation with Hamas in Gaza, how one should deal with Iran.
One Jerusalem host Allen Roth gave us a flash news report indicating that IDF forces were dropping leaflets in the area along the Philadelphi corridor border with Egypt for Gaza civilians to leave – corroboration of Eitam’s first point in his briefing. 
The proposed ‘humanitarian corridor’ could be created with more than 300 to 400,000 Gazan civilians moved to a new temporary city site, ironically located at the former Israeli settlements of Gush Katif. Gaza City would be further isolated to provide IDF  forces freedom of movement, then perhaps Eitam’s ‘clear cut victory’ might be possible.
Given the world outcry and pressing demands for an immediate cease fire in Gaza, Israel  should remain resolute in pursuit of Eitam’s objectives. If it does, it will send an important message to Iran and the proxy extremist Islamic terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood that they had best watch out. We hope that incoming President Obama and his National Security staff  hear Eitam’s message regarding ‘engagement’ with terror states: appropriate force may give rise to effective diplomacy.
Posted on 01/07/2009 6:46 PM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Civilians As Human Shields In Gaza
Posted on 01/07/2009 9:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Lies, Lies, Lies, And Not Just Now, And Not Just About Israel

I just came across this 2006 report from Denmark. I'd almost forgotten that campaign of murderous vilification throughout the Muslim world: 

"Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is shocked at the way in which some Muslims are misrepresenting Denmark in the Islamic world. “I am speechless that those people, whom we have given the right to live in Denmark and where they freely have chosen to stay, are now touring Arab countries and inciting antipathy towards Denmark and the Danish people,” Rasmussen told journalists yesterday.

Rasmussen was responding to the recent visits by certain imams, Muslim intellectuals and representatives of Danish Muslim organizations who toured a number of Muslim countries to “explain” the Danish cartoon affair to local political and religious leaders and media. The affair started last September when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of Muhammad.

Meanwhile, after last week’s rejection of their complaint by the public prosecutor, Danish Muslim organisations have announced that they will take the newspaper to the European Court of Human Rights over the controversial publication. Islam forbids the depiction of the Muslim prophet. Carsten Juste, the editor of Jyllands-Posten repeated late last week that the daily will not apologise for publishing the cartoons: “We will not apologise, because we live in Denmark under Danish law, and we have freedom of speech in this country. If we apologised, we would betray the generations who have fought for this right, and the moderate Muslims who are democratically minded.”

Rasmussen said he did not want to use the word “treason,” as Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People’s Party, has done to describe the Danish Muslims’ visit to the Arab countries. Rasmussen said treason has a certain legal reference and should only be used in appropriate circumstances. He also stressed the necessity of a proper tone in the debate from all parties, but at the same time he said, with a reference to the words of Kjærsgaard, that Denmark had a tradition of wide ranging freedom of expression and one should tolerate the use of this freedom. “As Prime Minister I will not evaluate what other people say nor judge what is proper. The courts decide when someone crosses the line,” he added.

In the Danish Parliament there is general indignation at the Arab visits by the Muslim representatives. However, instead of using strong words the government has decided to ask Danish embassies to correct the misinformation. Previously Rasmussen had urged the Muslim representatives to correct the misinformation themselves. These, however, claim the wrong information did not come from them and that it is therefore not their responsibility but that of the „international press’“.

Meanwhile the 12 cartoons were published on Tuesday in the Norwegian Christian newspaper Magazinet “in support of the freedom of expression.” Magazinet has received much feedback since publishing the cartoons and the overwhelming majority of it has been positive, thanking the newspaper for its initiative in defense of freedom of expression. Much of it has come from Denmark, but also from e.g. Sweden, Great Britain, Canada and the United States. Yesterday the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet also published the cartoons on its website.

„We are ourselves a nation that has been exposed to increasing Muslim violence against freedom of expression,“ said Vebjørn K. Selbekk, the editor of Magazinet, and referred to the 1993 murder attempt on Willam Nygaard, the Norwegian publisher of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Consequently, Selbekk said, Norway has a special responsibility to confront this problem. He said that Norwegian illustrators were tending towards the same self-censorship as their colleagues in Denmark. They do not dare to depict Muhammad for fear of a violent Muslim reaction.

Drawing cartoons of Muslim religious leaders suffices to become the target of threats and even death threats, as Morten M. Kristiansen, illustrator at the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, has experienced. He says he often received remarks from Christians when he depicted Jesus Christ and from Muslims when depicting their religious leaders, but in recent years the Muslim remarks have turned into threats.

“We cannot tolerate this in a democratic society,” said Selbekk. Asked if he was himself afraid of reprisals he said: “We have gone astray if we begin to concede on this issue out of fear. Many have already done much to prevent this problem from being hushed up. We hope that by publishing the cartoons we can do our bit.”

Posted on 01/07/2009 10:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Gianfranco Fini: Hamas, And Those Who Set Fire To The Flag Of Israel, Want The Same Thing
Fini: «Chi brucia la bandiera
di Israele è come Hamas»
«Diversi modi per distruggere uno Stato: scriverlo nel proprio statuto o dare fuoco a una bandiera»

REGGIO EMILIA - Chi brucia la bandiera di Israele
è come Hamas. È l'opinione del presidente della Camera, Gianfranco Fini, intervenuto a Reggio Emilia per il 212° anniversario del Tricolore. «Ci sono diversi modi per dimostrare di voler distruggere uno Stato: scriverlo nel proprio statuto, come ha fatto Hamas, o dando fuoco a una bandiera. Non credo che ci sia una differenza significativa».

«QUALCUNO IN ITALIA LO DIMENTICA» - «Bruciare una bandiera, di Israele come di qualsiasi altro Paese, è intollerabile, perché sta a significare la volontà di distruggere quello Stato. La volontà di distruggere lo Stato di Israele è scritta anche nello statuto di Hamas e questo lo dico a coloro che spesso in Italia sembrano dimenticarlo», ha detto il presidente di Montecitorio. «Bruciare una bandiera non è soltanto un reato, ma un atteggiamento che merita ferma condanna, perché dà vita a politiche di tipo terroristico».

Posted on 01/07/2009 11:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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