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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
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
















Friday, 31 October 2014
Hudnas
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by Isaac Yetiv (November 2014)


Shortly after Arafat signed the Oslo agreement (Sept.1993) he visited the Arab community in Capetown, South Africa. There, he was assailed by the ultras who accused him of selling out by recognizing the "Zionist entity" and abandoning the holy war against the Jews. But he calmly explained that he had acted like the prophet himself who signed the peace agreement of Hudaybieh with his enemies when he was weak militarily and then attacked them two years later and destroyed them and their Arabian tribes. "Am I, God forbid, better than the Prophet?" he concluded rhetorically, to the applause of his audience.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:48 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
Fighting Social Media Jihad: An Interview with Joseph Shahda
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by Jerry Gordon (November 2014)

 

The chilling constellation of lone wolf attacks by self-actualized domestic Jihadis in Canada and the US present a dilemma for national counterterrorism and intelligence echelons in both countries. How best to deny access to provocative social media effectively used by foreign terrorist groups to inspire and arouse deadly acts by these isolated individuals?  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:44 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
The Version
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by Richard Butrick (November 2014)


It just doesn’t seem to be catching on.

It started for him in Indonesia where, as a “little Jakarta street kid” he found the Muslim call to prayer to be “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:41 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
Lone Wolf Jihadis on Both Sides of Our Northern Border
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by Jerry Gordon (November 2014)


The final weeks of October 2014 were devastating for America. We had lone wolf jihadis in Ottawa and Montreal killing and wounding Canada Forces service personnel. In New York we had a Muslim convert and former US Navy serviceman shot dead in the midst of a deadly hatchet attack on two NYPD officers in Queens. All three appeared to be operating below the radar screen of surveillance inspired by Islamic State jihadist social media imploring Salafist brethren in the West to mount attacks on uniformed military and law enforcement officers.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:37 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
ISIS is Islam!
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by G. Murphy Donovan (November 2014)


Barack Hussein Obama is given to making extraordinary pronouncements. Many of the more dramatic assertions are seldom based on facts, reason, or reflection. Put aside, if you can, the domestic hyperbole which often accompanies wishful thinking about social problems; poverty, public education, and public health. The President’s public rhetoric on foreign policy, questions of national security, is unique, bordering on the delusional. To paraphrase Jack Kennedy; getting it wrong at home might be tragic, but getting it wrong abroad could be fatal.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:32 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
Sex-Slavery and Sharia in the Islamic State
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by Joseph S. Spoerl (November 2014)

In September 2014, several Muslim men had the following discussion on Facebook:

                “Abou Jihad: “350 dollars for the Yazidi girl in Mosul if you want. LOL

                […]

                Abu Selefie: I heard there were slaves in Raqqa is it true?

                Abde-Rahman: I saw it was around 180 dollars per slave LOL.

                Abou Muhammad: You have revived a tradition.”  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:28 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
Driven Mad
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by Theodore Dalrymple (November 2014)


The motor car, a friend of mine once said, is the most liberating of all machines ever invented. Suffice it to say that I have not found it so, at least not in Europe, which is small and overcrowded and full of traffic jams. Once, for example, when I was going to visit my aunt, it took me two hours to go a hundred yards along the North End Road in London. I did not find it a liberating experience, unless the bringing to the surface of the inner demon that caused me to bang my fists on the windows in sheer frustration be counted as a liberating experience (for the inner demon, that is, not for me). I didn’t know either that I had it in me to scream so loud.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:24 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
The Evening Papers Do Not Say . . .
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by David Wemyss (November 2014)


Here in the UK, the celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recently gave us a series of pleasant but inconsequential television programmes exploring the Scandinavian way of life. As you would expect, cooking featured quite a lot, but so did lightweight cultural commentary about the familiar idea of ‘the Nordic welfare states.’  more>>>

 

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:20 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
God after the Death of God
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by Richard L. Rubenstein (November 2014)


(This essay is a revised version of chapter 16 of the second edition of Richard L. Rubenstein's, After Auschwitz: History, Theology and Contemporary Judaism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.)

When I reflect on the question of God after the death of God, I recall a crucial conversation with the late Swami Muktananda of Ganeshpuri that took place at a major turning point in my spiritual life. One of my academic colleagues, Dr. Gulshan Khaki, a disciple of the Guru, invited Dr. Betty Rubenstein and me to spend a weekend at his American Ashram when he was in attendance. more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:17 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
Eternal Youth, Eternal Kitsch
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by Theodore Dalrymple (November 2014)


A kind friend of mine, knowing my interest in such matters, recently sent me a little book containing a collection of inscriptions found in second-hand books collected by a diligent anthologist, a man called H. B. Gooderham. The books were not, on the whole, precious old volumes but rather cheap and relatively recent paperback editions, many of them in rather scruffy condition. Nor were the inscribers famous persons, nor even identifiable. They were, rather, Everyman.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2014 7:13 AM by NER
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Friday, 31 October 2014
Police 'put cap on arrests' in Rochdale sex abuse inquiry: Social worker whistleblower says dozens of offenders are still on streets
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From the Daily Mail

Veteran social worker Sara Rowbotham, who was responsible for gathering the main evidence in the 2012 Rochdale child sex abuse case, said that as a result dozens of sex offenders were still walking the streets preying on children.She said because police bosses became obsessed with convicting just nine perpetrators they left dozens free to continue raping and abusing young girls. 

‘It’s very shocking but there are dozens of child sex offenders still on the streets because they put a cap on the number of people they would arrest,’ she said. ‘In the end this was just a tiny proportion of the number of offenders raping and abusing children and they were allowed to escape. But not only did they cap the number of offenders but they also put a ceiling on the number of victims they would interview and proceed with.’ 

Her explosive comments will stun Greater Manchester Police whose Police and Crime Commissioner yesterday launched a report highlighting the massive problem of child sexual exploitation.Commissioner Tony Lloyd has vowed to go back and review cases where victims have made sex abuse allegations.But Miss Rowbotham, a social worker in Rochdale for more than 13 years, said the police were still doing far too little to combat on-street grooming.

She said: ‘It’s still going on. The same perpetrators are still out there because police put a ceiling on the number of arrests. The actual number of suspects is huge but the number of victims is equally large. They are still having to deal with the trauma of that on a day-to-day basis knowing no-one has ever been brought to justice for abusing them. . . The victims deserve their evidence to be taken seriously. I referred dozens of cases to the police that I know were never acted upon.’

Miss Rowbotham, who fought for a Serious Case Review and was commended for her work by the Home Affairs Select Committee, was made redundant in February.

It's almost a blessing to be released from these organisations - one can then speak freely, no longer having to worry about the bread and butter.

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Posted on 10/31/2014 4:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 31 October 2014
Isil jihadists 'offered teenager $25,000 to carry out bombings in Vienna'
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From the Telegraph and the Austrian edition of The Local

A 14-year-old boy suspected of planning a series of bombings in Vienna was reported on Thursday to have been offered $25,000 (£16,000) by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) to carry out the attacks amid claims that two other youths recruited in the same way remain at large.

The arrested youth has not been named by authorities, but has been identified by the Austrian media as Mertkan G, the son of Turkish immigrants, who has lived in the country for eight years. He was arrested on Tuesday but details are only now emerging about his case.

Among the sites in which he has admitted planning to plant explosives is Vienna's Westbahnhof station, one of the busiest in the country, used by 40,000 travellers each day.

Austrian officials have refused to comment on reports that he was recruited over the internet by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and promised a payment for carrying out the bombings. But a spokesman for prosecutors said that the 14-year-old was in touch with "various different contacts".

Despite his youth, he reportedly reconnoitred potential target sites "like a professional". He is not believed to have built any bombs by the time of his arrest, but he had researched bomb-making extensively on the internet, and made specific inquiries about purchasing certain parts.

The Austrian authorities have spoken only of "unconventional explosive devices", but, according to local media reports, he was planning to build improvised cluster bombs similar to those used in the 2013 Boston marathon bombings.

It appears he was not planning a suicide attack: he has reportedly confessed that he wanted to travel to Syria to fight alongside jihadist groups there, and saw a successful bombing campaign as his ticket to join. 

A report in Kronen Zeitung newspaper claimed that he was actively recruited over the internet by Isil and promised a "special position" as a reward for carrying out the bombings, as well as the payment of $25,000. The newspaper claimed that two other youths were recruited to carry out attacks in similar fashion and remained at large. 

Justice officials have two days to decide whether to extend the boy's detention by a further two weeks, to allow additional investigations.  In Austria, young people are considered criminally culpable from the age of 14.

Police in St. Pölten revealed that they had been investigating the boy since the beginning of October, since he had been making extremist statements and engaging in increasingly radicalized behaviours.  On Wednesday afternoon, the regional court in St. Pölten accepted a request by the prosecutor for the imposition of pre-trial detention.

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Posted on 10/31/2014 3:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
With Its Day Of Rage, Fatah Makes Ever Clearer That It Is Not A National Fight, But A Jihad
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Here.

On Friday, of course, the propaganda Jihad is to take place -- innocent Arabs ("Palestinians") who want only to pray at Al Aqsa and nothing more (nothing more except to keep Jews from ever praying on Temple Mount, and who also want to continue to ban Christian symbols too, from being worn there) -- will gather, throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, all in order to further the Jihad against the Infidel nation0-state of Israel.

That Jihad is not different from any of the Jihad acts committed against non-Muslims elsewhere, in New York City and Washington, at Fort Hood and Boston, in Madrid and Paris, in Amsterdam and London, in Moscow and Beijing, in southern Thailand and northern Myanmar, in the southern Philippines and iin Bali, iin many thousands of Jihad attacks  of which you probably have not read or heard about even one percent.
 

That understanding of what prompts those, such as Mahmoud Abbas or Khaled Meshaal, those who make war on Israel, needs to be promoted. "After we conquer Jerusalem we will conquer Rome" said one of the Al-Nusra Front captors to his captive Theo Padnos, as noted in the latter's detailed narrative of his captivity. It isn't hard for anyone who spends a few days studying Islam to grasp this. Why is it so hard for our leaders, all over the West? Or do they not want to understand that, because the implications are too upsetting? ,

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Posted on 10/30/2014 3:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
The Danger of Islamist Terrorists in Libya
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Libya, with its oil wealth and natural resources, could be an affluent and successful country. Instead, it is today a dangerous place and a chaotic society with continual fighting among Islamist terrorists, Arab nationalists, and a host of regional militias. The Obama administration and all democratic governments are now confronted by an increasingly troublesome issue, the growing influence of Islamist terrorism in Libya, Nigeria, and other countries in North Africa.

The terrorist groups, individually and in alliance, have taken advantage of the vacuum of central power and the mixture of rival tribal and regional groups and feuding political organizations in Libya. They control many of the large cities and much of the territory of the country, and are challenging the oilfields. Their tactics and ideology follow those of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, to which many claim allegiance.

It is commendable that the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi is planning as George Orwell once wrote to report on true facts and “not to feel obligated to fabricate imaginary facts and feelings.” At last, we will have the final definitive account of what happened before, during, and after the two attacks on September 11, 2012 by Islamist terrorists. The first on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, and the second, a few hours later, on another compound killed two American CIA contractors and injured ten others.

The forthcoming report will remind the country that the attacks were carried out by organized terrorist groups, and not the result of supposed mass outrage over a video that inflamed passions, as members of the Obama administration suggested. We already know that Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged ringleader of the main terrorist group, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, is being held in the U.S. on an 18-count indictment and multiple charges of murder. The group led the attack with assault rifles, grenades, and other weapons, and plundered sensitive U.S. information.

The Congressional inquiry should lead to further understanding of the dramatic increase of Islamist terrorism in North Africa. This is now a threat not only to neighboring countries in Africa but also to the whole world. Since the popular Libyan uprising in 2011, that followed the April Spring uprisings in Tunis and Egypt in February 2011, and the capture and death in October 2011 of the eccentric dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who had ruled Libya for 42 years, the country has been in chaos. Gaddafi’s bizarre political system, named in 1977 “Jamahiriya” or “state of the masses”, and run through “revolutionary committees”, was transformed into a republic that did not bring stability and security.

Today, that republic contains not only countless Islamist militia groups but also different political authorities, two governments and two parliaments, the General National Congress and a national parliament. The GNC, that has chosen Omar al-Hasi as prime minister, is dominated by Islamists who belong to a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Libyan party.

The official parliament composed of liberals and federalists, and the elected government and the Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, recognized internationally, has been forced to move to Bayda in east Libya. The commander of the Libyan army, General Khalifa Haftar, is conducting a campaign against Islamists. To counter their forces, General Haftar started “Operation Dignity,” an air and ground assault against the terrorist groups in Benghazi.  It attacked Islamist bases held by Ansar al-Sharia, the Raf Allah al-Sahati Brigade, and the 17February Martyrs Brigade. 

Opposed to the formal government are more than a few feuding Islamist groups and jihadists. The Libyan government does not control Tripoli, the capital. The Islamist group Dawn of Libya now controls the vital institutions there. In August 2014, the group seized the American Embassy in Tripoli from Zintan, a rival group, and now guards it. It has at least eight other militia groups associated with it.

The jihadists, a number of groups consisting of supporters of the Islamic State, control the area around the city of Derna. Those groups include Ansar al-Sharia, designated in January 2014 as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, and the Sahara Brigade. They have declared allegiance to the Caliphate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. 

The situation is confusing because the name Ansar al-Sharia refers not to one specific group but to several Islamist and Salafist groups in East Libya. To clarify, the main group Ansar al-Sharia in Libya (ASL) is primarily associated with two others, Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi (the one that attacked the American compounds in September 2012) and Ansar al-Sharia in Derna. ASL controls state and military bodies in Benghazi and public service facilities. It has large quantities of weapons, including SA-6 surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and armored vehicles.

Conflict rages in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, between government forces and terrorists. The city has undergone great violence, assassinations, bombings, and kidnapping. In the fighting, the terrorists destroyed part of Benghazi University. They bombed the area around Benghazi’s airport, killing 40 soldiers. The leader of the Ansar branch in Benghazi terrorists, Mohammed al-Zahawi, has made the demands of the group clear. The group, Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), will not disarm until a state based on sharia is created. It started in Benghazi and, in the context of political chaos, built communal ties with groups in other areas, and changed its name, claiming to be a national movement.

The problem is becoming urgent because it is spreading. This oil-rich country is becoming a terrorist haven. Terrorists who attacked Egyptians in South Sinai killing 30 soldiers in a suicide bombing were trained in East Libya. One estimate is that 3000 Egyptian terrorists have been trained in Libya. Even more disturbing is that a Libyan terrorist group called Masked Men Brigade that is linked to ASL and to al-Qaeda, in October 2014 captured eleven commercial jetliners that may well be used for terrorist attacks on a Maghreb state in North Africa.

The international community has become aware of the danger. On August 27, 2014 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2174 (2014) that expressed concern at the growing presence of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups and individuals operating in Libya. But it was French President François Hollande who, the next day, called for “exceptional support” to restore order. The American administration is conscious of the danger of the Islamist terrorists to world peace but should be more active in participating in the effort to assist the legitimate Libyan government to overcome the Islamist threat.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 10/30/2014 2:59 PM by Michael Curtis
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Anyone Need a Nap?
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Posted on 10/30/2014 2:42 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
One Hundred Years of English Betrayal
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Kenneth Levin writes:

The recent vote in Britain’s Parliament to recognize a Palestinian state (passed by 274 to 12) is, we are told, of no real consequence. Prime Minister Cameron’s government has said it signals no change in British policy.

But the vote was promoted by anti-Israel voices in Parliament that seek to pressure Israel into suicidal concessions; voices that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, have called for a total European trade embargo against the Jewish state, and have compared Israel to Nazi Germany. It is of a piece with other anti-Israel actions in Britain in recent years.

This summer’s Gaza War was triggered by Hamas – which openly declares its dedication to the murder not only of all Israelis but of all Jews – unleashing an incessant barrage of rockets at Israeli cities and villages. Even the Palestinian Authority’s representative to the United Nations observed of Hamas’s campaign that “each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity.” But in Britain, beyond Prime Minister Cameron’s assertion of Israel’s right to defend itself, the most visible, most vocal, full-throated and widely echoed contention was that Israel did not have a right to defend itself. Even as Hamas used civilians as human shields, the inevitable civilian deaths were evidence of Israel’s Jews being, in the words of a columnist for The Independent, “a child murdering community.” Such claims became also the message of large public demonstrations, which in turn were accompanied by mob attacks on Israel-associated and Jewish-associated targets and new calls for boycotts and other actions against the Jewish state.

The response to the war, and the parliamentary vote, represent only the latest of anti-Israel convulsions that in recent years have seen British academics, unions, religious bodies, medical and architectural organizations and other groups solemnly advocate boycotts of Israel, members of Parliament call for Israel’s dissolution, and the British public vote Israel the nation representing the greatest threat to world peace. The campaigns against the Jewish state – condemning it with false, kangaroo-court indictments and embracing those who openly advocate and pursue genocidal anti-Israel agendas – inevitably bring to mind Albion’s long history of anti-Jewish perfidy...

more here.
 

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Posted on 10/30/2014 2:07 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
James Burnham: American Machiavelli
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A serious argument, worthy of slow, serious consideration at the American Conservative.

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Posted on 10/30/2014 1:42 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Ivan Rioufol: The Fascism That Threatens Order In France Is That Of The New Left
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Posted on 10/30/2014 11:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Liebeman: The Middle East A Bit More Complicated Than Assemblying IKEA Furniture
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An amusing response to the new, following-the-far-left-fashion-without-thought Swedish government, and its recognition of a country it calls "Palestine" (coterminous with Israel, in the Arab view, to be peopled bywhat are now  the shock troops of the Jihad in the Eastern Mediterranean), here.

An extra little frisson of pleasure for those who remember that the owner of IKEA was a supporter of Nazioid groups in his youth, and may even have stolen theoriginal  idea for IKEA from a Jewish employee.

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Posted on 10/30/2014 11:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Meet The Third World, That Is Taken So Seriously In The West
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The latest from Burkina Faso -- it could be so many places -- here.

How many burkinabes will be on the next boats -- by the thousands or tens of thousands --from the LIbyan littoral  to Lampedusa, and then on to every possible place in wide-open Schengenland?

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Posted on 10/30/2014 9:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
BBC Watch: How The BBC Covered The Attempted Murder Of Yehuda Glick
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This exhaustive analysis of the various versions put up by the BBC is so good that, even though a previous post covers the same story, it deserves to be put up as a separate post.

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Posted on 10/30/2014 9:31 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Who Is More Far-Right -- Yehuda Glick Or The Man Who Tried To Murder Him??
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On NPR I listened to a report describing an attempt by an unnamed Arab (no information, such as that he had been imprisoned for terrorism, or that he was a member of Islamic Jihad, was given) on a "far-right extremist" Israeli, Yehuda Glick. I knew there was something wrong with this description. Sure enough, I discovered that the Arab was a terrorist and a member of Islamic Jihad, dedicated to the proposition that the entire world belongs to Allah and to Muslims, and while the entire world includes Israel, it is not limited to Israel. And I learned that the extent of Yehuda Glick's "extremism" consists in his thinking that if Muslims can pray in their mosque on the top of what is the holiest site not in Islam but in Judaism, Jews should have the same right. That's his "extremism." That's it. 

I came across an analysis of the telling, because representative, presentation of this event -- the attempted murder and the subsequent killing of the would-be murderer -- by The Guardian.

You might like it too.

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Posted on 10/30/2014 9:17 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Al-Nusra Front Takes More Territory From FSA
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Here.

Al-Nusra, The Islamic State, Jund al-Aksa which is mentioned fleetingly in the article (you needed look into it, you already know what it stands for)-- sometimes their members join forces, sometimes they fight among themselves, sometimes they pledge their allegiance to one group and then switch to another. Who cares? From the viewpoint of non-Muslims, all of them constitute a mortal threat to non-Muslims, and solemn parsing of their differences is unnecessary, though always useful if your aim is to win government grants at think-tanks or universities. 

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Posted on 10/30/2014 7:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Get Tough with Turkey
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The time must have come to consider whether it is really acceptable to retain Turkey as a member of NATO. At various times in the history of its membership, dating back to 1952, Turkey, though effectively rescued from threats from Stalin by the Truman administration in 1947 and 1948, was a double agent between the Soviet Union and the United States, taking substantial aid from both. For decades, on the strength of that NATO membership, Turkey knocked noisily on the door of Europe but was generally rebuffed as a nation of Muslims unassimilable to the pretensions of the surging Euro-federal ideal. This remained true in the brief shining but somewhat infamous moment when most of the West European leaders thought that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States could be eased out of Europe, and the Germans, French, British, Italians, Spanish, and others could stand on one another’s shoulders and Europe would become the centre of the world again, after the aberrant century that started with World War I in 1914. In these circumstances, NATO eroded, first into the enfeebled “coalition of the willing,” which isn’t an alliance at all, just an assertion that if one country in the group wishes to do something, another, if it is in its interest too, might join in. And in these temporarily relaxed times, when European officialdom was aflame with the anticipatory joy of being the world’s greatest power again, it was an affordable luxury to brush off the heirs to the “Abominable Porte,” the “sick man of Europe”; and to do otherwise, as Gladstone said of Disraeli, would be “backing the wrong horse.”

Turkey was one of the world’s greatest powers from the rise of the nation-state in the 16th century, when Europe’s greatest leaders were the Holy Roman (including the Spanish) Empire’s Charles V, Britain’s Henry VIII, France’s Francis I, and Turkey’s Suleiman the Magnificent. The Habsburgs and Romanovs beat the Turks back in the Balkans, Ukraine, and Caucasus through the 18th century, though the Turks besieged Vienna in 1529 and 1683 and almost gained control of the Mediterranean at Lepanto in 1571. The Ottoman Empire still put up a tremendous fight in World War I, which it made a serious mistake entering, but it sent the British Empire and the French packing in Gallipoli in 1915, inflicting 250,000 casualties and almost ending the career of Winston Churchill. The subsequent regime of Kemal Ataturk and his heirs westernized the alphabet, attire, and customs of the Turks and secularized their government. The army became the custodian of secular democracy, which necessitated overthrowing the democratically elected government from time to time, when it was deemed either insufficiently democratic, too corrupt, or a threat to the continuity of the army’s role as supreme arbiter of the state. Under Ataturk’s successors, Turkey behaved quite responsibly in the world but did not match its enthusiasm to join the West with very visible economic or social progress. The war with the Kurdish nationalists in Anatolia was prosecuted rather brutally, and Turkey has never come close to West European standards of individual liberties or what became known as transparent government.

Where it all began to become very complicated was with the elevation as prime minister of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2003. Erdogan, a former soccer player who was elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994, formed a modestly Islamic party with the eminent moderate Muslim theologian Fethullah Gulen, who approves of secularism as long as it isn’t rampant materialism, supports good relations with other faiths including Judaism and Christianity, and has a relatively enlightened view of the status of women. Gulen departed for the United States in 1999 for specialized medical care but was shortly after accused of calling for a more Islamic government than the Turkish constitution permitted. He claimed to have been taken out of context but has remained since in the United States, at Saylorsburg, Pa., where he continues to exercise great influence in Turkish politics. Erdogan was removed as mayor of Istanbul, imprisoned for ten months, and banned from public life for publicly reciting a Muslim poem that the chiefs of the army considered subversive. The plodding and corrupt course of the Turkish government enabled Erdogan, with Gulen’s support, to win the 2002 elections, although Abdullah Gul, one of their supporters, was prime minister until the ban on Erdogan was lifted. Erdogan was prime minister from 2003 to 2014, cleaned house effectively, purged the army of its more political senior officers, negotiated a partial settlement with the semi-terrorist Kurdish independence movement (PKK), ramped up economic growth, and pursued membership in the European Union.

The West was generally a little uneasy with an avowedly Islamist government in Ankara, and after the first five years of Erdogan’s government, matters began to deteriorate; Erdogan reinterpreted foreign policy as being a protector of Islam and the Arabs and railing vituperatively at Israel, sponsoring violations of the arms ban on Gaza, and threatening the right of Greece and Cyprus to extract offshore oil and natural gas. In a syndrome that usually afflicts authoritarian governments, Erdogan became steadily more heavy-handed and corrupt, while trying to distract his electors with shrill, traditionalistic, Israelophobic, and anti-Western rhetoric. His former ally Gulen, from Pennsylvania, joined the opposition, as scandals involving many billions of dollars mushroomed up and Erdogan was caught on tape uttering self-incriminatory reflections on the misuse of public money. This led to repressive measures against Internet comment on political matters, and Erdogan claimed that the resulting indictments against some of his officials were an “attempted coup” by Gulen. Erdogan had to put down widespread anti-government rioting and had to shelve his plan radically to strengthen the powers of the presidency, but was elected president earlier this year with 52 percent of the vote in a heavily contested election.

In the Iraq War of 2003, Turkey at first said the Americans and their allies could attack Iraq from eastern Turkey but then reneged; there was no thought of Turkey’s joining the attack, only permitting that it be launched from Turkey. In the recent disintegration of Iraq, Turkey, which has 20 million Kurds in its population of 80 million, has refused to be even slightly helpful to the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds; the Turks have been sitting on their hands in idling tanks just a few hundred meters from the Syrian Kurdish town of Khobani, which has been under intense attack by the Islamic State (IS) for several weeks. Turkey, in its opposition to the beleaguered and discredited Assad regime in Syria, has effectively supported the IS, tolerating the dispatch of some supplies to it and denying the United States and its allies the right to use Turkish air bases as launching points for air strikes on it. As a result, the strikes must be launched from aircraft carriers, a manageable but serious inconvenience. (Egypt’s President el-Sisi declared last weekend that terrorism sponsored by the IS, or undertaken by IS imitators, “threatens the existence” of Egypt, after 31 people were killed in terrorist bombings in northeast Sinai, near the approaches to Gaza. Turkey should not be giving any comfort to such mutants as the IS.) In this policy, Turkey has perversely taken the side of the most radically bellicose Islamic movement in history and leapfrogged over the positions of all the previous sponsors of less virulent terrorism: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Syria. Those countries, on this issue, are on the same side as Israel, and one of the few benefits of this latest ratchet-up of terrorist barbarism engineered by the IS is its revelation that militant Islamists see no practical differences between Christians, Jews, moderate Arabs, and even terroristic Islamists slightly less fanatical and unencumbered by the vestiges of civility than they. The tired old leftist claim that all problems would end if the West just put Israel over the side was always bunk, and now Palestinians and the Palestine question have effectively vanished from the radar screens of the Middle East, remembered only by a rag-tag of Israelophobic useful (to Hamas and the PLO) idiots in the West.

What Turkey should do is join with other civilized countries against all the terrorists, effectively establish a protectorate over Syria, and cooperate with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and even Iran, if that country can be induced to abandon its nuclear military program, in stabilizing Iraq. The world should recognize an independent Kurdistan, one that would pledge not to disturb Turkey if Turkey stops its support or even toleration of Islamist terrorism; the Muslim powers should recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state (as Egypt, Jordan, and even, in theory, Turkey have); and a viable state can be crafted for Palestine involving a narrowed West Bank but a thickened Gaza, with a connection between them. Ironically, the eruption of stateless, pan-national terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State tends to push the Iranians, Arab governments, and Israel into a common front with the West and Russia, a potentially useful condition. If threatening to expel or suspend Turkey from NATO and to encourage the unhappy Turkish Kurds (who claimed on the weekend to have transformed the southeastern Turkish town of Cizre into an “autonomous zone”) will help bring Erdogan to his senses, those steps should be taken. If they don’t bring him to his senses, the threats should be carried out. Allies must be given reasonable leeway, and Turkey has legitimate grievances against Europe, but treachery on Erdogan’s scale is intolerable, and if tolerated can only lead to greater betrayals and provocations. To be a member of the most successful alliance in history is a privilege, not a right, and this privilege must not be abused.

First published in National Review.

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Posted on 10/30/2014 6:16 AM by Conrad Black
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Beware of Homegrown Terrorists
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In his recent book about the origins of the World War I, The Sleepwalkers, How Europe went to War in 1914, Christopher Clark describes the major protagonists in 1914 as sleepwalkers, watchful but unseeing, stumbling into the catastrophe of the Great War after an act of terrorism by a Serbian nationalist. Taking a crucial lesson from this analysis, contemporary policymakers must be both watchful and insightful in relation to groups and individuals engaged in Islamist terrorism. A premeditated strategy is essential to respond effectively to that terrorism wherever it occurs.

A complex issue is at stake, how to assess the divergent views of the 1.6 billion believers in the religion of Islam. Most Muslims profess to view their religion as personal and peaceful, but a vociferous minority of Islamist extremists embodies religious views that stem from the fundamentalist brand of Islam, Salafism or Wahhabism, that regards Shiites as heretics and fuses religion and politics. Everyone is now aware of the emergence and the actions of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) that exemplifies the latter. That group, militarily successful and aggressive, challenges the people of the world, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, with its extreme version of jihad and its creation of a Caliphate.

Extreme Islamist rhetoric, with its military and missionary aspects, must be taken seriously. Militarily, the stated objectives are not only to capture the Middle East but also to reconquer Andalusia (Spain). The failure of the Ottoman Empire to take Vienna in 1683 put an end to the objective of Islamizing the whole of Europe, and extreme Islamists want this defeat rectified. Missionary Islam proselytizes peacefully through social media websites, sermons in mosques, and conversions.  In both cases, coupled with religious ideology are secular slogans of the victim status of Muslims, opposition to globalization, resentment towards supposed American and sometimes Jewish domination of the world, and a version of multiculturalism that holds that European culture is not superior to other cultures.

Arab terrorist actions stem from religious extremism. Though Arab entities, particularly Palestinians, cling to the status of victims and claim discrimination, the facts are otherwise, especially when compared with other countries. One relevant statistic is that international aid to the Palestinians per capita is vastly higher than to African countries. An estimate made by the World Bank is that the average Palestinian receives fifteen times more aid than the average citizen in Ethiopia with its 94 million people. The GDP per capita in Ethiopia is $500 while the GDP for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is $2,800.

A significant recent development is the recognition by Arab states, above all by Saudi Arabia, of the danger posed by the extremist form of Islam. That danger partly results from the funding and encouragement given the terrorists by some of those states, particularly Qatar and Kuwait. The Arab states now understand the danger to their very existence, as well as to the rest of the world, by the creation of the Islamic State.

The IS has been highly successful both in capturing and administering territory and in drawing more than 10,000 foreign Muslims to its cause. The leaders of the IS are unexpectedly gifted in their command of public relations and in attracting foreign adherents, including at least ten per cent women, through social media networks. Young Muslims may increasingly see IS in a personal way as a version of paradise and an end to their feeling of alienation, and in a political way as replacement of the failed politically unstable Muslim states that suffer from military dictators, corrupt elites, religious differences, tribal divisions, conflicting loyalties, and personal rivalries and ambitions.

It is important that the U.S. is conducting air strikes against IS and sending military advisers to help the Iraqi forces. Military and political problems exist. Twenty-four  of the 50 brigades of those forces are regarded as deficient because of the poor quality of Iraqi commanders. In addition, some of the Sunni tribal leaders are reluctant to help the Shiite majority political leaders of the country. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that five Arab nations, as well as Britain and France, have contributed to the air campaign against IS.

However, an equally important campaign must be waged against Islamist extremists in Arab countries and would-be jihadists in the democratic West. The West is responding to the terrorists in Iraq and Syria, but it must also be conscious of the influence of Islamist ideology and the possible action in their own countries of “lone wolves,” some of whom fought for the jihadists and want to return home and conduct attacks. This form of action has already been shown in Brussels, in Ottawa, in London, and in several cities of France.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a courageous and decisive leader, immediately recognized the reality of terrorism. He reacted forcefully to the two terrorist attacks in Quebec and in Ottawa commenting that the killers, both converts to Islam, were "Islamic Republic inspired terrorists.” An immediate issue is that neither of the two murderers was on U.S. terror watch lists or in the database of security threats, a deficiency that is of concern both to Canada and the U.S. Both countries now recognize the importance of sharing information about suspected individuals.

France is a microcosm of the general problem of Islam and the dilemma facing the non-Muslim world of how to separate terrorist Islam from peaceful religious pursuit. A recent book, Passion Française by the French political scientist Gilles Kepel, makes the case that some Muslim areas in France are controlled by drug lords or by Islamist religious police, both hostile to traditional French behavior. French authorities have been faced with violence from immigrants of their children. But violence does not come from the Chinese, Vietnamese, or Portuguese immigrants, but only from Muslims. The violence in the so called banlieues has accelerated since the riots by Arabs in October 2005 starting in Clichy-sous-Bois during which 9000 cars were burned, along with public buildings. These riots may partly be due to the high level of Arab youth unemployment, poor housing, discrimination and general lack of opportunity, but the Islamist rhetoric and the intensification of Muslim identity have been more important.

The French government attempted to deal with the growing problem. In 2003 Nicolas Sarkozy, then Minister of the Interior, created the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFGCM), a body elected by Muslims, which is intended to provide a setting for Muslims to discuss religious problems with French officials and to participate in activity of public institutions.

That participation is shown in at least two significant cases concerning women. The Vice-President of the French Senate is Bariza Khiari, a Socialist representing a district in Paris, who was born in Algeria. The current Minister of Education, and formerly Minister for Women’s Rights, is Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, a Muslim born in Morocco. At the last parliamentary election, 400 Muslims, mostly women and Socialists, of whom six won, were candidates, out of a total of 6000. Almost 90 per cent of Muslims voted for François Hollande in the presidential election. At present 4 Muslims are mayors in cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants.

But the problem remains, particularly in regard to young people faced with the question of whether to identify themselves as Muslim or French. Will the majority of Muslims in France integrate into the general French society and abide by the republican model of shared values? To what degree is belonging to the Islamic group, or wearing headscarves and veils in schools and in the street, more meaningful than adherence to the secular tradition of France? Peace and stability in the Western world depend on the actions of Muslim communities and Western reactions to them.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 10/30/2014 6:10 AM by Michael Curtis
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