Monday, 28 July 2014
In Syria, Things Not Quite Working Out For Assad
1,250 soldiers and supporters, dead -- but not many wounded, because ISIS doesn't leave the wounded alive -- in the last two weeks alone.
Posted on 07/28/2014 8:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 July 2014
Hamas: We've Got Plenty Of Tunnels Left, And We Will Win
And John Kerry, eyeless and guileless in Gaza, is doing what he can, to rally the "international community," to make sure that Hamas comes out of this seen as a victor. His misunderstnding of the world and of Islam, his nasty parti pris, are both scarcely believable.
The Hamas spokesman, on the other hand, in his delusions, is perfectly believable.
Posted on 07/28/2014 8:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 July 2014
In Pakistan, Ahmadis Are Regarded As Infidels, And That Means...
Posted on 07/28/2014 8:49 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 July 2014
Rising Tide of Antisemitism in Britain
Chris Greenwood writes in the Daily Mail:
Jewish people in Britain are enduring a backlash of attacks, bomb threats and anti-semitic insults fuelled by the bloodshed in Gaza.
More than 100 hate crimes have been recorded by police and community groups this month, more than double the usual number.
50 a month is the usual number?
Community safety groups fear the total could be the second highest ever recorded, after an explosion of violence during the 2009 Gaza war.
In several disturbing cases attackers have invoked the Holocaust and even shouted: ‘Heil Hitler’ at victims.
A rabbi was attacked by four Muslim teenagers outside a Jewish boarding school in Gateshead in one of the most serious incidents.
In Belfast, bricks were thrown at the city’s only synagogue, smashing windows on two consecutive nights.
Groups of Asian men chanted 'Heil Hitler’ as they drove through a Jewish area of Manchester, throwing missiles at passers-by.
In north London, one pro-Israel organisation received a telephone bomb threat and a Jewish boy riding a bicycle had a stone thrown at his head by a woman in a niqab.
More than 100 incidents have been reported to the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that helps to protect Jews, since the start of this month.
The surge in attacks and threats follows a similar trend in 2009, when up to 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the Gaza war.
Mark Gardner, of the CST, said the figure is ‘at least double’ what the community safety group would expect to see.
He said: ‘We have had at least double the number of incidents that we would expect, but the situation is not out of hand – as is the case in France.
‘The community is aware and alert but not panicking and life continues exactly how it should.’ ...
Posted on 07/28/2014 5:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 July 2014
Australia: 30 Jewhating and/ or Useful Idiot Politicians Expose Themselves In Public
By writing a nasty letter condemning Israel's self-defence against Jihad and accusing Australia's Federal Government of being insufficiently supportive of the Jihad against the Jews.
And they signed their names to it, so we all know who they are. To my surprise the only Muslim in Federal Parliament, Ed Husic, has not so far associated himself with this piece of mingled ignorance and thinly-veiled malevolence; but the two Muslims - Lebanese-background and Pakistani-background - who sit in the NSW State Parliament are, unsurprisingly, signatories.
Here, for the information of fellow Australians here reading who may wish to squirrel the information away for future reference as required, is what the ABC had to say about it all (Eliza Borrello reporting). Click on the link, please, as they have embedded a scribd copy of the entire letter with the list of signatories to date.
Gaza Conflict: MPs Condemn Israeli Attacks on Gaza, Accuse Federal Government of Being Blatantly Pro-Israel.
"Thirty state and federal MPs have signed a strongly-worded letter condemning the Israeli military's attacks on Gaza.
If you read the letter, you will see that they do perfunctorily mention Hamas, but they do not seem particularly interested in or aware of its genocidal goals, nor in the impact on Israel of the thousands of rockets that have been fired at populated areas with the clear intention of killing as many Jews as possible, an intention foiled only by Iron Dome, Israeli civilian preparedness, and - in many cases - miraculous good luck. - CM
'The campaign is being spearheaded by the Federal Labor member for Fremantle (port city of Western Australia - CM) and former United Nations lawyer, Melissa Parke, who lived in Gaza for two and a half years.
And who, while there, seems to have greedily gobbled up and blindly believed every lie and illusion that was there fed to her by plausible, smiling Mohammedans. - CM
'She says she has witnessed the toll the decades-long conflict has taken on the Palestinian (sic - CM) people (= the local Arab Muslims - CM) and wants all Australian politicians to condemn the Israeli military's latest attacks.
Ms Parke, I hope that all those Aussie politicians, state and federal, who did not sign your nasty little letter, will tell you to go to hell. You are carrying water for people - Hamas, and their ilk, like Islamic Jihad - who hate and attack Israel because it is Jewish, because it is Infidel, because it refuses to submit to the Best of People, the Muslims. They wish to destroy it for the same reasons as they wish and intend to destroy all non-Muslim states, everywhere. Ms Parke, you and your co-signatories are sympathising with the Enemy. - CM
"You cannot have more than a thousand deaths (among which the single largest cohort comprises males of military age - CM) and 6,000 injuries, more than three-quarters of those being civilians (no: more than three-quarters of those are claimed or asserted, by the Muslim jihad gang bosses of Gaza, to be civilians; but that is not necessarily the case, Ms Parke; for Muslims lie - CM), and that being okay under international law, it's simply not okay, and it's time that that was said", she said.
Ms Parke does have a law background, which means she should know better. She needs to sit down and listen to Richard Kemp. And she needs to get some perspective. In just two days of bombing Berlin in 1943, the Allies inflicted 3000 deaths. Israel has been bombing Gaza daily - Gaza which we are always told is "densely populated" - for two whole weeks, and has still not yet come near achieving the death toll which the Allies inflicted on Berlin in just two days (without anyone on their side suggesting that they should stop making war on Germany, because it would kill all the poor innocent German women and children). So far as I can see, Israel is being, in fact, remarkably restrained. - CM
'The letter says the rockets fired from Gaza are not justified, but cannot be compared with Israel's bombing of Gaza.
Ms Parke. To repeat. Israel is defending itself against a Jihad that is intended to destroy Israel utterly and either kill - or drive out - or reduce to the degradation, humiliation and perpetual physical peril of near-slave dhimmi status, every Jew (and Christian, and Samaritan) there resident. That is the bottom line. Hamas is never going to stop. Hamas is animated by classically-Islamic hatred of Jews that long predates the restoration of a sovereign Jewish state of Israel on part of ancestral Jewish traditional land; a Quran-Sira-Hadith-based hatred of Jews that sent the Muslim mobs into the Jewish quarters to pillage, burn, rape, torture, kidnap, force-"convert" and, often, mass murder defenceless dhimmi Jews, in many parts of the dar al Islam, on many occasions between the 7th century and the 20th. I believe that Israel is in fact using far less force - in defending themselves against Hamas' genocidal Muslim megalomania - than they can or should. - CM
"Israel is the occupying power (Ms Parke seems to have forgotten that Israel withdrew from Gaza years ago, leaving not one Jewish civilian nor IDF soldier there present, and would never have gone back in, had not Hamas and Islamic Jihad, etc, insisted on constantly and ever more frequently firing rockets and attempting murderous jihad ghazi raids into Israel - CM), Israel is the military might (how dare the Jooz have better weaponry than the Jihadis!! not fair!! / SARC/ - CM) and if Israel and states like the US and Australia, which has a seat on the security council, would stand on the side of peace and justice, then I think we would see a settlement happen", Ms Parke said.
If Ms Parke spent two years in Gaza, did Ms Parke learn the special Islamic definitions of "Peace" and "Justice"? For in Islamspeak, "peace" = Muslims rule, everywhere, and the sharia is the only law of the land. And "justice" is the same: Muslims rule, everywhere, and sharia is the only law. That is the real grievance of Hamas and their ilk; that those damned uppity Jooz of Israel are refusing to be submissive defenceless dhimmis, and are hitting back, when Muslims attack them. Dhimmis were not allowed to keep and bear arms; if a dhimmi was attacked by a Muslim, a dhimmi could cringe and plead and flatter and beg for mercy, or try to flee, or else simply submit, cringing, and hope the Muslim would not proceed as far as actual murder. Muslims could hit, spit on, kick, rob, and generally bully dhimmis anytime they felt like it; but dhimmis were not allowed to hit back. Self-defence was forbidden. And that is the paradigm to which Ms Parke, whether she knows it or not, and her colleagues, are attempting to force Israel to conform. Muslims must be free to attack; but Israel must never, never, never hit back, never defend itself, never hurt even a single Muslim. - CM
'She says Australia's position overtly favours Israel.
"It's a blatantly pro-Israel position (and thank God for that! - CM) and I don't think that Israel is really interested in peace", she said.
Liar. It would be more truthful to say that Israel is not interested in submitting to Islam. Read the Hamas Charter, Ms Parke, and find out who wants war - Jihad - and why. But if you have read that Charter, and know full well what is in it, and are okay with that, then you are a moral imbecile. And I'd like to know whether, when you say "peace", you're using the infidel definition of "peace', or the Muslim definition. Israel quite rightly does not want the Muslim "peace". Half of the Jews of Israel lived as dhimmis - de jure or de facto - under Muslims. In Yemen, it meant that until the 1950s they lived in the condition of chattel slaves. They were exploited, hated, and periodically mass-murdered. They have no intention of being forced back into that Predator Pit within which, for example, the Christians of Iraq and of Egypt currently languish. As a wise man who knew some rescued Yemeni Jews, in Israel, said once: "They would die before they would go back [into dhimmitude]. More, they would kill before they would go back." - CM
'Her Labor colleague, Michael Danby, who is Jewish, sees the conflict differently.
I see it differently, too, and I am not Jewish; I am Christian. - CM
"If Hamas stops firing the rockets into Israel, then I think the Israelis can cease military operations", he said.
Exactly. Though, now that Israel has found all those jihad raiding tunnels bored from Gaza into and under Israeli territory with clearly malevolent and hostile intent, they are going to have to find and destroy every last tunnel, before they can leave Gaza. - CM
"I don't think anyone likes to see these civilian deaths, but we have to remember Melissa's letter is a bit unbalanced, it doesn't mention the fact that Hamas' program is to destroy Israel, replace it entirely," he said.
Yes. Well put, Mr Danby. Suggestion: print off copies of the entirety of the Hamas Charter, and distribute - suitably highlighted (all the Quranic and Hadith passages, together with the endorsements of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) to all those of your parliamentary colleagues who did not sign Ms Parke's letter. Send copies to the signatories as well, and ask them sweetly if they personally endorse Hamas' goals, given that they are proposing a course of action that will benefit Hamas, and only Hamas, and enable it to survive and thrive. - CM
'Mr Danby says it is important to remember the Government lists Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
"Melissa's petition represents the Left and the Greens' view of the world, and I think other people, other Australians, would say that the issue of Hamas and ISIS and other jihadist groups' political orientation and what they want to achieve is also equally important", he said.
Yes. They are all pious Muslims waging Jihad in order to force the hated Infidels to submit; and if the Infidels - whether Jewish, as in the case of Israel, or non-Jewish, as in many other parts of the world where Muslims are attacking Infidels - will not submit, if they won't convert or accept dhimmi status and pay jizya, they are supposed to be killed one and all. - CM
'But western Sydney Labor MP Laurie Ferguson (one should not forget that western Sydney is where most of Sydney's Muslims currently reside, though the most heavily Islamised suburbs of all, Auburn and Lakemba, are not within Mr Ferguson's electorate - CM) who has signed the letter, believes the major parties are out of step with public opinion.
Really? It might be interesting to ask the Israeli embassy in Canberra how many letters of support they've received since the IDF started fighting back against the rocket assault from Gaza, and also it might be interesting to ask the Prime MInister and Foreign Affairs minister how many letters they've received from ordinary Aussie citizens, declaring support for Israel. - CM
"I went through the Timor issue where Labor and Liberal governments condoned the Indonesian occupation for 20-odd years despite Australian public opinion, I think there's a similar pattern now", Mr Ferguson said.
You've got your attempted analogy exactly the wrong way around, Mr Ferguson. It was indeed shameful that majority-Infidel Australia condoned the invasion and occupation of tiny majority-Infidel East Timor, by majority-Muslim Indonesia. But if you supported majority-Infidel East Timor's resistance to subjugation and occupation by majority-Muslim Indonesia, you really ought to be rooting for Israel and the IDF who are resisting Muslim attempts to terrorise, subjugate and destroy them; and not for the advance shock troops of the Ummah, the jihad gang bosses and their troops and camp followers in Gaza, who are at the moment proxies for genocidally-Jewhating Islamic Iran and equally nasty Islamic Qatar and are receiving support and praise from ever-more-openly antisemitic Muslim Turkey. As Israel at the middle eastern / Levantine edge of the de facto Empire of Islam, so Catholic East Timor at the southeast Asian; tiny Infidel nations with massive, hostile Muslim populations looming over them, against whose dominance they have had to fight to survive. - CM
'Labor MPs have long held opposing views on the conflict, however, the party's official position is to support a two-state solution, but also Israel's right to defend itself.
Those Australian MPs, whether Labor or Liberal, who say they support Israel's right to self-defence "and a two-state solution", need to reconsider their position. Because those two things are, in reality, mutually exclusive. You can support one or the other, but not both. Events in Gaza should be showing all western politicians with any brains at all, that a two-state solution that would hand the local Arab Muslims total command and control of the military high ground - Judea and Samaria, and Mount Zion and the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem - cannot be supported by anyone who wants Israel to survive and thrive; because such a "solution" would destroy Israel's capacity to defend itself against the onslaught of Jihad that would, sooner or later, and probably sooner, be launched upon it from within any "Islamic Arab State of 'Palestine'". - CM
Posted on 07/28/2014 12:50 AM by Christina McIntosh
Sunday, 27 July 2014
French Political Figures Mobilise For Christians In Iraq
Posted on 07/27/2014 9:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
A Musical Interlude: Let's Fly Away (Lee Wiley)
Posted on 07/27/2014 9:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
The West Does Not Realize How Much It Needs Israel's Military Advances
For example, in dealing with drones.
Posted on 07/27/2014 9:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
General James Conway: The Moral Chasm Between Israel And Hamas
Posted on 07/27/2014 9:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
A Note On The Poor People Of Ireland
From a friend:
There is growing pressure on the Irish Government to expel the Israeli Ambassador, Irish TD'S are calling for the Dail (Irish Parliament) to be returned from the summer break to discuss Gaza.
Senator Averil Power is calling the upper house , The Seanad to be returned to discuss Gaza. She has 12 Senators who agree with her so far, She needs another 8 and she has enough to return the Seanad.
We need to act fast, Irish4Israel is calling on all of you to please contact all Irish Senators and TD's. This is a faster way to send an email to them all. Fill out the form write your mail and click Send to All TD's and then copy and paste and send it to all Senators.
Please make the following points
You support Israel,
Congratulate the government on abstaining from the vote in the UN Human Rights Council. The inquiry is one sided and ignores Hamas war crimes. We as a NEUTRAL country should not support one sided motions.
State you oppose the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador as it will do nothing for dialogue.
Be polite, We need as many mails sent as possible in the next few hours. It is critical that everyone takes the time to send a mail.
Posted on 07/27/2014 9:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Ian O'Doherty: The Highly Selective Sympathy Of Those Who Would Boycott Israel
Posted on 07/27/2014 9:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Pro-Israel March In Marseille, Peaceful And Dignified
Posted on 07/27/2014 9:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Rally At Notre Dame For Christians Of The Middle East
In Paris, on the parvis, here.
Posted on 07/27/2014 3:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
What could go wrong?
Posted on 07/27/2014 3:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict Then as Now
[Colonel Richard] Kemp testified before the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in 2009, denying allegations that Israel engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Gaza War in December 2008 to January 2009. Kemp based his assessment on publicly available information from both sides, press reports and his 30-year experience of counter-terrorism operations and planning. In June 2009, Kemp wrote "HAMAS, THE GAZA WAR AND ACCOUNTABILITY UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW" for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. In this paper, Kemp accused Hamas of deploying women and children as suicide attackers, and wrote that "women and children are trained and equipped to fight, collect intelligence and ferry arms and ammunition between battles".
In October 2009, Kemp made a presentation to the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to the introduction of the Goldstone report in which Israel and Hamas were accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the Gaza War. Kemp spoke to the UN HRC on behalf of UN Watch. Kemp said: "Of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes...Based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare”.
Kemp also claimed to have relied on Israeli expertise in Afghanistan. He said he received help from an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) anti-suicide bombing expert and the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, following the 2005 London bombings. Kemp was highly critical of the "automatic assumption that everything the IDF does is illegal." He said "there is harsh criticism against the US and British armies as well, but they are given the benefit of the doubt. Israel is always automatically condemned, no matter what. It's a joke. Even the conspiracy theory that the one responsible for the 11 September attacks is not al-Qaeda but Israel refuses to die out, it's unbelievable".
Posted on 07/27/2014 2:15 PM by Norman Berdichevsky
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Speaking Truth on Gaza to the International Community
France has had the courage to speak truth to the international community. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on July 13, 2014 berated the pro-Palestinian demonstrators in the Barbès area of northern Paris and in Sarcelles, a suburb of Paris, for their violent acts in looting shops owned by Jews, shouts of cries of “death to Jews,” and for their attacks on synagogues during protest rallies against Israel’s actions in Gaza.
M. Valls commented that nothing could justify such violence and hatred witnessed in this demonstration in Paris. Antisemitism, “this old European disease, has taken a new form…that hides hatred of Jews behind a façade of anti-Zionism or hatred of the State of Israel.” His remarks also fit the 15,000 demonstrators in central London on July 19, 2014, many of whom exhibited swastikas, attacked Jews, and called for a “Palestine from the river to the sea.”
This analysis of a relationship between antisemitism and the hostility to Israel that has developed because of the fighting in Gaza is useful in considering the statements made by a broad range of people and organizations about the conflict. Some are relentless critics of Israel, who may not be devoid of antisemitic beliefs. One of the usual suspects is Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who loses no opportunity to declare the “The Israeli approach to the Palestinians is no different from that of Adolf Hitler.” A larger number of people, now more frequently heard from, are those advocating a moral equivalence between the actions of a terrorist organization, Hamas, whose only real objectives are to kill Jews and eliminate the State of Israel, and those of a democratic country, Israel, with a legitimate right to defend itself against attacks on its civilian population.
All should take account of the facts. Israel, then led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005. All Israeli residents, 9,000 people in 21 settlements, were withdrawn, but most of the Israeli greenhouses were left for the Palestinians to use. Israeli occupation of the area ended, and except for air space and territorial waters; control since then has been in the hands of Palestinians, at first the Palestinian Authority and since 2007 Hamas. The Palestinian population of Gaza grew from 230,000 in 1967 to 1.7 million in 2014.
The consequences of that withdrawal apparently are unknown to both the relentless critics of Israel and those who profess moral equivalence in the current crisis. Palestinians in Gaza vandalized and then destroyed synagogues, and looted the greenhouses given to them by Israel. Minutes after the full Israeli withdrawal the onslaught of rockets against Israel began with attacks on Sderot and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai. Between 2001 and 2005 Palestinians fired 1272 rockets; in 2006 alone there were 1,777. Between 2006 and 2013, 9,458 rockets were fired.
Those, such as the World Council of Churches, who have “grave concern” over the escalation of military operations in Gaza, call for immediate cessation of hostilities. In a statement of moral equivalence issued on July 23, 2014 Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC appealed to “all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.”
Well-meaning though his appeal might be, Dr. Tveit has forgotten that the real intention of Hamas is to eliminate the State of Israel. A useful reminder of Hamas’s goals are the sermons and the rhetoric of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Egyptian theologian, chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and friend of the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh who granted him “Palestinian citizenship” in May 2013.
Qaradawi, on January 28, 2009 in one of a number of similar statements, pronounced that “Throughout history, Allah imposed on the Jews, people who would punish them for their corruption…Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.” It is regrettable that this aspiration is apparently unknown to the WCC and to the five Nobel Peace Laureates who in a statement on July 18, 2014 said nothing about the hopes of the believers of Allah, but simply referred incorrectly to “the Israeli occupation” of Gaza, and to “the coercive and corrosive power that Israel wields over Palestinians.”
All those who argue, like the five Nobel Laureates, that the conflict will only be resolved “when Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory is ended,” say nothing about the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas or the many tunnels it has built to infiltrate into Israeli civilian areas. Their eyes see not what they see. They refuse to accept the statements of reporters who said they had received death threats after issuing reports of seeing Hamas rocket firing from civilian areas in Gaza and the use of human shields. One video shows a Hamas spokesman using the safe place of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to give interviews.
Perhaps worst of all in the approach to and the commentary on the continuing conflict is the cowardice of the European members of the UN Human Rights Council. That Council, not surprisingly in view of its history, on July 23, 2014 passed a resolution calling for the launch of a commission of inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza. It condemned “in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic, and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since June 13, 2014…which has involved (Israeli) disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks.”
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who has been a constant critic of Israel, at the meeting pronounced that there was a “strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.” Shakespeare must have had her in mind, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Pillay could not accept the compassion for Gaza civilians evident through the care taken by the Israelis, alerting Gaza residents by telephone, radio, and text messages, about intended strikes against Hamas terrorists. Nor in her criticism of Israeli “disproportionate” action did she indicate what might be “proportionate.” One may conclude from her statements that any and all actions taken by Israel in its self-defense are “disproportionate.” Israel is renowned for its many competent surgeons; it should be equally renowned for its attempts at surgical strikes.
This unbalanced UNHRC resolution, a travesty of the truth, was carried by 29 in favor, 1 (the United States) against, and with 17 abstentions. The European members did try, but failed, to soften the one sided resolution against Israel, and all eight Europeans, even the Czech Republic, abstained. But cautious behavior does not earn goodwill from fanatics. The new British Foreign Minister, Philip Hammond, in a bizarre statement, explained that Britain could not support the resolution which was unbalanced but abstained because “of the strength of feeling about the loss of life” expressed by other members of the Council. A more likely explanation, for the abstention of Britain and other Europeans was the fear of more violent demonstrations by Palestinians and their supporters, such as those that had already taken place in London and Paris, if they had voted against the resolution.
The World Council of Churches, the Nobel Laureates, and even some members of the UN Human Rights Council should have the intellectual acumen and integrity to recognize the reality of the struggle in Gaza. There is no moral symmetry between the parties. If Hamas stops firing rockets to kill innocent Israeli civilians, Israel will stop bombing Gaza. Though the result of Israel’s self-defense has unfortunately resulted in unintended casualties, Hamas is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, not only through its warfare against Israel but also through its cynical disregard for the lives of its own people that has extended to using civilians, especially children, as human shields.
First published in the American Thinker.
Posted on 07/27/2014 1:50 PM by Michael Curtis
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Listen to Lisa Benson Show with M. Zuhdi Jasser and Sherkoh Abbas at 4PM EDT
Posted on 07/27/2014 11:16 AM by Jerry Gordon
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Let States Decide on Marijuana
David Firestone writes part 1 of a 6-part series beginning today in the NYTimes:
In 1970, at the height of his white-hot war on crime, President Richard Nixon demanded that Congress pass the Controlled Substances Act to crack down on drug abuse. During the debate, Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut held up a package wrapped in light-green paper that he said contained $3,000 worth of marijuana. This substance, he said, caused such“dreadful hallucinations” in an Army sergeant in Vietnam that he called down a mortar strike on his own troops. A few minutes later, the Senate unanimously passed the bill.
That law, so antique that it uses the spelling “marihuana,” is still on the books, and is the principal reason that possessing the substance in Senator Dodd’s package is considered illegal by the United States government. Changing it wouldn’t even require an act of Congress — the attorney general or the secretary of Health and Human Services could each do so — although the law should be changed to make sure that future administrations could not reimpose the ban.
Repealing it would allow the states to decide whether to permit marijuana use and under what conditions. Nearly three-fourths of them have already begun to do so, liberalizing their laws in defiance of the federal ban. Two have legalized recreational use outright, and if the federal government also recognized the growing public sentiment to legalize and regulate marijuana, that would almost certainly prompt more states to follow along.
The increasing absurdity of the federal government’s position is evident in the text of the Nixon-era law. “Marihuana” is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act alongside some of the most dangerous and mind-altering drugs on earth, ranked as high as heroin, LSD and bufotenine, a highly toxic and hallucinogenic toad venom that can cause cardiac arrest. By contrast, cocaine and methamphetamine are a notch down on the government’s rankings, listed in Schedule II.
That illogical distinction shows why many states have begun to disregard the federal government’s archaic rules. Schedule II drugs, while carrying a high potential for abuse, have a legitimate medical use. (Even meth is sold in prescription form for weight loss.) But according to the language of the law, marijuana and the other Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
STATES TAKE THE LEAD No medical use? That would come as news to the millions of people who have found that marijuana helped them through the pain of AIDS, or the nausea and vomiting of chemotherapy, or the seizures of epilepsy. As of this month, 34 states and the District of Columbia permit some form of marijuana consumption for medical purposes. New York is one of the latest states to defy the tired edict of the Controlled Substances Act.
It’s hard for the public to take seriously a law that says marijuana and heroin have exactly the same “high potential for abuse,” since that ignores the vastly more addictive power of narcotics, which have destroyed the lives of millions of people around the world. (There are no documented deaths from a marijuana overdose.) The 44-year refusal of Congress and eight administrations to alter marijuana’s place on Schedule I has made the law a laughingstock, one that states are openly flouting.
In addition to the medical exceptions, 17 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized marijuana, generally meaning that possession of small amounts is treated like a traffic ticket or ignored. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have gone even further and legalized it for recreational purposes; two others, Alaska and Oregon, will decide whether to do the same later this year.
The states are taking the lead because they’re weary of locking up thousands of their own citizens for possessing a substance that has less potential for abuse and destructive behavior than alcohol. A decision about what kinds of substances to permit, and under what conditions, belongs in the purview of the states, as alcohol is handled.
Consuming marijuana is not a fundamental right that should be imposed on the states by the federal government, in the manner of abortion rights, health insurance, or the freedom to marry a partner of either sex. It’s a choice that states should be allowed to make based on their culture and their values, and it’s not surprising that the early adopters would be socially liberal states like Colorado and Washington, while others hang back to gauge the results.
PRE-EMPTED BY WASHINGTON Many states are unwilling to legalize marijuana as long as possessing or growing it remains a federal crime. Colorado, for instance, allows its largest stores to cultivate up to 10,200 cannabis plants at a time. But the federal penalty for growing more than 1,000 plants is a minimum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10 million. That has created a state of confusion in which law-abiding growers in Colorado can face federal penalties.
Last August, the Justice Department issued a memo saying it would not interfere with the legalization plans of Colorado and Washington as long as they met several conditions: keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors or criminal gangs; prohibiting its transport out of the state; and enforcing prohibitions against drugged driving, violence and other illegal drugs. The government has also said banks can do business with marijuana sellers, easing a huge problem for a growing industry. But the Justice Department guidance is loose; aggressive federal prosecutors can ignore it “if state enforcement efforts are not sufficiently robust,” the memo says.
That’s a shaky foundation on which to build confidence in a state’s legalization plan. More important, it applies only to this moment in this presidential administration. President Obama’s Justice Department could change its policy at any time, and so of course could the next administration.
HOW TO END THE FEDERAL BAN Allowing states to make their own decisions on marijuana — just as they did with alcohol after the end of Prohibition in 1933 — requires unambiguous federal action. The most comprehensive plan to do so is a bill introduced last year by Representative Jared Polis, Democrat of Colorado, known as the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. It would eliminate marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, require a federal permit for growing and distributing it, and have it regulated (just as alcohol is now) by the Food and Drug Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. An alternative bill, which would not be as effective, was introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, as the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act. It would not remove marijuana from Schedule I but would eliminate enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act against anyone acting in compliance with a state marijuana law.
Congress is clearly not ready to pass either bill, but there are signs that sentiments are changing. A promising alliance is growing on the subject between liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans. In a surprise move in May, the House voted 219 to 189 to prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration from prosecuting people who use medical marijuana, if a state has made it legal. It was the first time the House had voted to liberalize a marijuana law; similar measures had repeatedly failed in previous years. The measure’s fate is uncertain in the Senate.
While waiting for Congress to evolve, President Obama, once a regular recreational marijuana smoker, could practice some evolution of his own. He could order the attorney general to conduct the study necessary to support removal of marijuana from Schedule I. Earlier this year, he told The New Yorker that he considered marijuana less dangerous than alcohol in its impact on individuals, and made it clear that he was troubled by the disproportionate number of arrests of African-Americans and Latinos on charges of possession. For that reason, he said, he supported the Colorado and Washington experiments.
“It’s important for it to go forward,” he said, referring to the state legalizations, “because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
But a few weeks later, he told CNN that the decision on whether to change Schedule I should be left to Congress, another way of saying he doesn’t plan to do anything to end the federal ban. For too long, politicians have seen the high cost — in dollars and lives locked behind bars — of their pointless war on marijuana and chosen to do nothing. But many states have had enough, and it’s time for Washington to get out of their way.
Posted on 07/27/2014 8:27 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Posted on 07/27/2014 8:31 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Indicting Hamas for War Crimes
Hamas must be indicted in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Evidence of Hamas’s crimes in the Gaza Strip has been visible for a decade to anyone not blinded by an obsessive commitment to an anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic outlook. It is now obvious to the head of the United Nations, even as it is denied by the U.N. Human Rights Council; by Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights; by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; and by all those dedicated to the demonization or destruction of Israel
The truth has been revealed, unexpectedly, by two organizations: the European Union and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), a body that challenges the United Nations Human Rights Council for the title of the most worthless international organization in the world.
At the meeting on July 22, 2014, the 28 foreign ministers of the EU declared that the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians, constituted “criminal and unjustifiable acts.”
One can paraphrase the quote from Oscar Wilde. To find unexpectedly hidden in one of the UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip a batch of 20 rockets on July 16, 2014 that Hamas was planning to fire against Israeli civilians may be regarded as a misfortune; to find a second batch of rockets in another UNRWA school three days later looks like carelessness. Wilde might also have mentioned incompetence. UNRWA said it was unable to confirm the precise number of rockets in the second school. Nor did it mention any other of the UNRWA schools that have been misused, with or without its knowledge or approval, to house weapons to be used by Hamas.
UNRWA may well be the only group of individuals “shocked” at these “discoveries” known previously to every objective observer of Middle Eastern affairs. The naive UNRWA did issue a statement that it “strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.” Yet it appeared uninformed of the name of any such group. In fact, declaring that it was doing so in order to preserve the safety and security of the schools under its auspices, UNRWA handed the rockets in its schools back to unnamed “local government authorities in Gaza.” The “authorities” turned out to be the terrorist group Hamas.
UNRWA officials, after being caught out by their “discoveries,” stressed the importance of neutrality on all premises. What neutrality? They refuse to acknowledge their partisanship: the use of UNRWA schools for stockpiling weapons and as alleged bases for firing rockets. Those officials do not concede that Hamas has used its facilities to commit war crimes by attacking Israeli civilians while it uses schoolchildren as human shields, and operates the schools to safeguard its rocket facilities.
UNRWA, at a minimum, has been irresponsible in turning a blind eye to Hamas crimes. Instead, it called for an investigation after a girls’ school, believed to be hiding rockets, was shelled by Israel. UNRWA discounts the Israeli behavior that contrasts so strongly with that of Hamas. Israel, in Operation Protection Edge, issues warnings; drops leaflets to Gaza civilians; and sends phone, TV, and radio messages before its attacks. The level of Gaza civilian causalities is disquieting, and no doubt mistakes have been made, as in all wars, but the level is the consequence of Hamas’s use of civilians as shields, and its putting weapons systems in populated areas. UNRWA should be aware that Israel has set up a field hospital near the Erez Crossing to treat wounded Palestinians, an act it had done once before in January 2009.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon witnessed the reality for himself. In Jerusalem on July 22, 2014, he declared it “quite shocking” to see all kinds of rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad on “the heads of all the people and neighborhoods where many people are living.” No country, he added, would accept rockets raining down on its territory. A day later, on July 23, 2014, Ban Ki-moon also expressed outrage and regret at the placing of weapons in a U.N.-administered school. Those responsible, he said, are turning schools into military targets and endangering the lives of innocent children.
The Obama administration has not been as forthright as it should be on this issue. The call by some administration officials for the disarming of Hamas is a pious aspiration. In similar manner, the State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, explained that UNRWA was "a relief organization, not a peacekeeping organization that can deal with rockets.” UNRWA does offer relief to Palestinian refugees, but it also runs a children’s summer camp that includes recitals of chants with the words “we have to liberate Palestine.” UNRWA has 30,000 employees, some of whom are supporters of Hamas. The textbooks used in its schools have sometimes referred to Jews as pigs and monkeys, and they contain implications that action against the State of Israel is heroic.
It was surprising that Secretary of State John Kerry stated on July 21, 2014 that the U.S. was planning to grant the Gaza Strip $47 million in humanitarian aid, $15 million of which will be distributed by UNRWA. The U.S. administration is aware of the extent and the considerable number of “offensive tunnels” built by Hamas to infiltrate Israeli territory. Some calculations are that each tunnel costs $1 million to build and uses large quantities of concrete, material that could be put to better use for civilian housing, which is sadly lacking. One tunnel is located under the al-Wafa hospital, where Hamas has a command post and stores weapons. Can Secretary Kerry ensure that the $47 million will be used only for civilian housing?
What the United States administration and the U.N. secretary-general should be doing is indicting Hamas before the International Criminal Court. The Court was established on July 1, 2002 on the principles adopted by the Rome Statute on July 17, 1998. The Court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. This jurisdiction is applicable to acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.
In its behavior towards Israel, Hamas is guilty of both crimes against humanity and war crimes according to Article 7(1) of the Rome Statute, which applies to murder and extermination. Hamas is guilty of a government policy in which those two crimes are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Its actions are more than isolated inhumane acts and constitute a consistent pattern of behavior. The stated aim of Hamas is not simply to harm Israeli civilians, but rather a policy of genocide, the killing of Jews, and the elimination of the State of Israel. Hamas has really only one grievance: the existence of Israel.
Article 8(2)(b) of the Rome Statute deals with the war crime of using protected persons as shields. Hamas has been guilty on numerous occasions of this crime – the intention to shield a military objective from attack or shield, favor, or impede military operations. The major war crime of Hamas is to use children for this purpose. Golda Meir, in her straightforward manner, once commented, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” In contrast, Hamas has stated that preserving the capacity to bomb civilians in Israel is more valued than the loss of Palestinian children.
Those children have been used not only as human shields to protect the terrorists. They have also been used for actions such as being messengers and couriers for the terrorists, for digging tunnels into Israel, and for smuggling. Hamas has used them for military activities, including throwing grenades and rocks, and even for suicide bomber missions. Schools and kindergartens have been used to store missiles and mortars and as launching sites, in the same way as hospitals, mosques, and public places have been used. The sad reality is that Gaza children do not dream of becoming rocket scientists; they dream of firing rockets and becoming holy martyrs.
There is ample evidence to present to the International Criminal Court, including the outspoken statement of the U.N. secretary-general, the discovery that tunnels used for aggression are located under hospitals and private property, and the videos of Hamas actions. One video clearly shows rockets being fired next to civilian buildings. Another shows a demonstration of human shields as civilians were forced to gather on top of the home of a known Hamas terrorist to prevent an attack by Israel. Ban Ki-moon has spoken of the need to address the “root causes” of instability in Gaza. A case brought against Hamas before the International Criminal Court would find that the basis of instability in Gaza is the crimes against humanity and the war crimes committed by Hamas.
First published in the American Thinker.
Posted on 07/27/2014 8:15 AM by Michael Curtis
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Posted on 07/27/2014 7:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Repeal Prohibition, Again
The Editorial Board of the NYTimes writes:
It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.
We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.
There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.
We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, reducing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.
But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.
The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.
There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide.
There are legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains. For that reason, we advocate the prohibition of sales to people under 21.
Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.
In coming days, we will publish articles by members of the Editorial Board and supplementary material that will examine these questions. We invite readers to offer their ideas, and we will report back on their responses, pro and con.
We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition.
Posted on 07/27/2014 7:45 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Why Hasn't The West The Wit To Arm The Kurds In Syria And Iraq?
The Syrian Kurds, and their fight with inferior weapons against ISIS (or IS), is reported on here.
Posted on 07/27/2014 7:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
More French Comments On Gaza, Hamas, And Islam In France
A propos des médias français, il faut décerner une palme de l'esprit partisan à l'envoyée de France Info à Gaza : on chercherait à jeter de l'huile sur le feu. Aucun recul, aucune analyse, aucun effort d'informer sur la situation politique à Gaza ; rien sur la nature réelle du Hamas, pas un mot sur le rôle de cette organisation totalitaire qui impose sa tyrannie aux Palestiniens de Gaza, rien sur les boucliers humains, rien sur les tunnels destinés à investir des villages israéliens, rien sur les milliers de roquettes envoyées sur les civils israéliens, rien de tout cela dans le travail de cette journaliste. Se cantonnant dans une posture compassionnelle, elle se contente de décrire avec tous les détails possibles la situation tragique des civils palestiniens, des destructions, des blessés, des morts, mais rien sur tout ce qui a mené à cette situation.
Posted on 07/27/2014 6:33 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Secretary of State Kerry views the Gaza Conflict through the prism of his Vietnam experience
Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Jerusalem, July 24, 2014
Secretary of State John Kerry was dispatched last week to begin a new round of shuttle diplomacy between Cairo, Ankara and Qatar endeavoring to find some leverage with Hamas to obtain a longer cease fire. His latest attempt as of this writing was rejected by Israel as the offer he put on the table simply reiterated Hamas’ previously rejected terms. Those terms proposed by Hamas were based on the November 2012 cease fire agreement. An agreement the Administration used to encourage Israel to relent to shipment of cement, steel and equipment for reconstruction of Gaza. This reconstruction was funded by $405 million from Qatar, a Hamas supporter. Israel’s fears about diversion of those resources were confirmed in the discovery of the elaborate fortifications and tunnel network during the current Operation Defensive Edge. . Kerry returned to Washington this weekend via Paris, where he met with foreign ministers from Turkey, Qatar, France the U.K. and the EU foreign relations commissioner, without the likelihood that further mediation between the warring parties could yield an agreement to return to calm.
Perhaps the lack of success in mediating a cease fire agreement may be that Kerry views the Gaza conflict with Hamas through the prism of his Vietnam War experience over 44 years ago. The WSJ Weekend Edition “Notable & Quotable” had this insightful exchange between Israeli PM Netanyahu and Secretary Kerry drawn from a July 20th New Republic article by Ben Birnbaum and Amir Tibon:
The prime minister opened the meeting by playing Kerry a video on one of his favorite topics: Palestinian incitement. It showed Palestinian children in Gaza being taught to glorify martyrdom and seek Israel's destruction. "This is the true obstacle to peace," Netanyahu told Kerry.
"It's a major issue," Kerry replied. "And nothing justifies incitement. I hate it. I've read Abbas the riot act about it. You know I have. But it is worthwhile to try to understand what life looks like from the Palestinian point of view."
"This has nothing to do with the occupation and the settlements," Netanyahu said.
Kerry pressed on: "When I fought in Vietnam, I used to look at the faces of the local population and the looks they gave us. I'll never forget it. It gave me clarity that we saw the situation in completely different ways."
"This isn't Vietnam!" Netanyahu shouted. "No one understands Israel but Israel."
Kerry tried explaining himself again: "No one is saying it's Vietnam. But I've been coming here for thirty years, and I'm telling you, what's building up in the Palestinians has only gotten worse. I've seen it. It doesn't matter if it's right or wrong; it just is. It can't be solved if you can't see it how they see it."
John Kerry testifying before US Senate Foreign Relations Committee
April 22, 1971
To get some sense of what Kerry was talking about in this exchange with Netanyahu, I went back to his April 22, 1971 testimony on the so-called Winter Soldiers Study of Viet Nam anti-war veterans before the Senate Foreign Committee, chaired by the late Sen. J.W. Fulbright of Arkansas. Here is an excerpt from the opening stanza of his testimony:
We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.
We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Vietcong, North Vietnamese, or American.
We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw firsthand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs as well as by search and destroy missions, as well as by Vietcong terrorism, and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on ‘the Vietcong.
Fast forward to July 2014 and Kerry’s exchange with Israeli PM Netanyahu quoted in the New Republic article. The contrast is that Netanyahu knows his people are besieged with rockets and mortar indiscriminately raining down on four fifths of the Jewish nation from terrorist groups Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad controlling Gaza. Further, that Hamas and its partner in the Palestinian unity government, PA President Mahmoud Abbas marinate young minds in hatred and violence seeking destruction of the Jewish dhimmi state that has shamed them. If you substitute Hamas for Viet Cong or North Vietnam, you suddenly realize where Kerry’s head is at when it comes to mediating cease fire between two unmovable adversaries. Israel is the only reliable democratic ally in the region combating Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization designated by our State Department.. According to a report in The Times of Israel sources in Jerusalem accused Kerry of “completely capitulated to Hamas” in the proposed cease fire rejected by Israel.
Posted on 07/27/2014 3:46 AM by Jerry Gordon