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Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
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
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum

Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Egyptian Cleric: We Must Make War On The Shiites
Posted on 05/27/2015 7:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa - Author Interview

An interview with John Alembillah Azumah, the author of "The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa".

Posted on 05/27/2015 6:23 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Amna Muna: Eager To "Liberate, Inshallah, All Of Palestine"

Not-quite-chic and not-quite soigne in the Western manner, but in Turkey trying her Muslim Arab best, Amina Muna is proud of all she's done and, inshallah, that she's going to do.


Posted on 05/27/2015 5:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
The Farhud In Baghdad, June 1-2, 1941

The story of the Baghdad mass-killingsof Jews is told here.

The story of how Jewish volunteers, including David Raziel, Jabotinsky's likely successor, came to Iraq and took on the most dangerous missions the British could give them, and managed to prevent the oilfields from falling into enemy hands -- Raziel was killed in the mission -- still needs to be told, as do many other such acts by Jewish volunteers, all over the Middle East, to whom the British entrusted such tasks but, after the war, never mentioned what had been done, and by whom.

Posted on 05/27/2015 3:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Foreign aid scandal: UK money is 'STILL going to convicted Palestinian terrorists'

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has taken around £130million in foreign aid from the Department for International Development over the past five years.

The public cash is being used to help it fund its estimated £84million annual wage bill for convicted terrorists locked up in Israel, according to campaigners.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) claims that Britain may have been “intentionally misled” by the PA which last year claimed to have stopped the controversial payments but was later discovered to be channelling the cash through another political group.

MPs today called for the Government to suspend all aid to the PA until payments to convicted terrorists cease.

In a joint statement, Tory MPs Guto Bebb, James Morris and Andrew Percy said: “British taxpayers will be appalled to discover that the Palestinian Authority is handing their hard-earned money to convicted Palestinian terrorists.

“The PA should be strongly condemned for deceiving well-intentioned donor countries into thinking that it had ended this shocking practice.

From The Express:

"The British Government must seriously reconsider its provision of aid to the PA’s general budget until it ceases this abhorrent practice of financially rewarding and incentivising terrorism.”

The PA's practice of paying huge salaries to jailed terrorists was exposed by PMW in 2011.

The money is reserved for those “resisting the occupation” of lands Palestinians regard as theirs but which are part of the Israeli state.

Around 5,500 Palestinian terrorists could be drawing salaries and bonuses.

Posted on 05/27/2015 2:13 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia Reads Dick Tracy

There was a newspaper strike. The children of New York City were deprived of the funny papers. Mayor LaGuardia came to their radio rescue.


Posted on 05/27/2015 1:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
An Analysis of Media Narratives on Present Circumstances in Gaza

Robert Shortt, Gaza, Prime Time, May 7, 2015 (RTE Screen-grab).

Ireland’s principle broadcasting institution, RTE, ran a series of news reports by journalist Robert Shortt, which are concerned with the current troubles that the people of Gaza face, in the aftermath of ‘Operation Protective Edge’, last year’s war between Israel and several terrorist groups based in Gaza.

Shortt’s reportage echoes many of the recent accounts of the situation in Gaza found in the mainstream media. His reports form the basis of this article’s broader thematic rebuttal of current media coverage.

The most substantive report, ‘Inside Gaza’, was broadcast on ‘Prime Time’, RTE’s premium current affairs programme, on May 7th 2015 (RTE incorrectly posts the date as May 8th). The segment begins at 9:57 in RTE’s Internet Player.

An article, titled ‘RTE’s Gaza news coverage sponsored by Irish Aid’s pro-Palestinian proxy’ details possible breaches of broadcasting code in Shortt’s reports.
The report is introduced by David McCullagh, who accepted United Nations “estimates” of the civilian death toll, without mention of their true source — Hamas, which often used distorted figures for propaganda in the past.
“Last year Hamas and Israel fought a 50 day war in the Gaza strip. It was the third conflict in six years and the deadliest. The UN estimates that on the Israeli side 67 soldiers and four civilians were killed. On the Palestinian side, over 2,200 people were killed, including over 1,500 civilians, of whom 551 were children. Now many are warning that tensions are rising once again.”
Zaitoun Elementary School, 'New Crisis in Gaza', RTE News, May 9, 2015 (Screen-grab)
On the UN report: ‘attacking’ schools?

Shortt’s 11 and a half minute report highlights the suffering of children during and after the 2014 conflict. For example, he stated:
“Last July, Mara, her ten siblings, father, and mother, then heavily pregnant, fled the bombing of their home to find shelter in this UN school. Over a thousand people are still crammed into the classrooms of Zeitoun Elementary. Seven such centres were attacked by Israeli forces during the war causing 44 deaths, and 227 injuries.”
Shortt’s claim relates to the damage of seven schools studied in a UN Board of Inquiry report — its summary findings were issued on the 27th April. Shortt’s claim that Israel “attacked” seven UN schools is not credible. The report notes that one school (appertaining to ‘Incident (g)’ in the study) was not being used as a shelter, and the road outside another school (‘Incident (f)’) was struck, rather than the school itself. Moreover, the word ‘attack’ suggests an overt intentional wish to strike these UN civilian installations, which the UN report, although prejudicial in its own right, does not itself ascribe to Israeli actions.

Despite the specificity of the report, Shortt failed to properly identify the school in question. It may be an ‘United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East’ (UNRWA) school in Zeitoun (also spelt Zaitoun), called the ‘Shahada Al-Manar Elementary’, a site from which Hamas was identified to have fired weaponry, or ‘Zeitoun Preparatory Girls “B” School’. The UN report blames the IDF for a stray “projectile” striking the roof of the latter school, whilst stating that “militant activity was also noted” (Point D, 35) some hours earlier in the area, and that no IDF activity can be explicitly tied to the single strike. Therefore, to describe the school as having been “attacked” is misleading.

Shortt’s subsequent news report, discussed below, appears to reference the same building visually, but a sign identifies it as “Zaitoun Elementary Boys “B” School”, which was not one of the schools featured in the UN report, albeit related to the girls school of the same name. Shortt further remarks:
“Last week the UN dismissed Israeli claims that Hamas rockets were found in schools used as shelters but it admitted rockets were found in empty schools.”
Israel did not claim rockets had been found in schools actively used as shelters. Broad Israeli claims related to the use of active school shelters by terrorist groups, to launch attacks. Such claims were latterly disputed by witness testimony in the report but the conditions of the testimony can be deemed problematic with some justification, given potential conflicts of interest with the parties collecting it. Moreover, the word ‘dismissal’ is an undue and misleading description of the UN report’s findings. The UN report looked specifically at a small number of instances, namely those that involved UNRWA property (see Point 5 of the report), rather than provide an actual overview of the conflict:
“In its report, the Board noted that it was not within its terms of reference to address the wider aspects of the conflict in Gaza, its causes or the situation affecting the civilian populations of Gaza and Israel in the period before “Operation Protective Edge” was launched. Its task was limited to considering the ten incidents identified in its terms of reference.”
Furthermore it should be noted that inactive schools were not merely acknowledged to have been used for the storage of weaponry. Two of the three referenced sites were also used to fire against the IDF. Shortt’s report focuses on the area of Jabalia. The UN report notes an interesting event in relation to one of the area's local schools: it “was highly likely that an unidentified Palestinian armed group could have used the school premises to launch attacks on or around 14 July” (point 70) but Shortt does not appear to deem it necessary to mention such mitigating circumstance.

Shortt makes similarly misleading claims in an article on RTE’s site, which comes across as an apologia for the use of schools:
“Israel claims Hamas used school shelters to store rockets. But a report last week from the UN found the schools where rockets were located were empty and not the shelters where hundreds gathered only to come under attack once more.”
The UN report noted that the three schools in question were at summer recess so it is possible they could have been used if the war began at a slightly earlier date. They are designated civilian structures, so it is still a highly problematic matter to use them in war. Shortt et al. wish to dismiss the import of such unprecedented findings but they represent just a surface glimpse of long-established behaviour, e.g. from 2009:
‘United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Chief John Holmes told the UN Security Council, “The reckless and cynical use of civilian installations by Hamas and indiscriminate firing of rockets against civilian populations are clear violations of international humanitarian law.”’
The UN report’s findings add further credence to the long-expressed view that terror groups use human shields in civilian areas. The report only addressed three structures. An increasing number of international journalists have acknowledged that Hamas use human shields, while Ghazi Hamad, a representative of Hamas, grudgingly admitted they fired from civilian areas during the war, while civilians would have been resident.

It is time for the likes of Shortt, et al, to stop making excuses, whilst subtly inferring that Israel targets civilians intentionally, as per his claim (quoted above) that civilians were twice attacked by Israel.
Gaza’s embargo

The report mentions the failure of promised donations to materialise, but fundamentally blames the present problems on the blockade, with Siobhan Powell, of (UNRWA) echoing the notion. Shortt says:
“Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza after a violent split between Palestinians in 2007. Hamas has ruled Gaza since.”
It is not wholly accurate to describe Israel’s action as a ‘blockade’, other than with respect to its maritime activity, which cut off access to the sea beyond a six nautical mile zone, due to efforts to smuggle weaponry into Gaza. A blockade tends to be defined as “The isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce.” UNRWA however notes that “Israel allows most goods into the Gaza Strip except for items it defines as “dual-use” materials which could have a military purpose.”

Israel allows some Gazan produce to be exported internationally, through its borders, and has assisted farmers in recent years with a variety of projects. Export levels remain small but have shown signs of increasing in the aftermath of the 2014 war, a situation that looks set to continue by addressing security issues.

Israel’s actions over land would be more correctly defined as a partial type of ‘embargo’, a forceful diplomatic measure adopted by some nations to limit its interaction with a given territory. Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed the Agreement on Movement & Access, allowing for free access of people and goods into Israel. However, after the 2006 elections, Hamas refused to recognise Israel’s right to exist or to curtail its violence, which led to the EU and the Quartet suspending assistance arrangements in Gaza. Hamas would then enter into a state of revolt by violently throwing off the legal structures of the Palestinian Authority in 2007, the interim arrangement toward forging of a new Arab state, with it concomitant security arrangements.

With Hamas instigating further belligerent acts, a maritime blockade was formally announced in June 2008
“In accordance with the agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, entry by foreign vessels to this zone is prohibited. Israeli Notice 6/2008”
The embargo and naval blockade grew out of a worsening scenario with a belligerent seizing absolute control in a coup. As such it was and continues to be a justified measure, as the Palmer Report accepts.

Shortt on steel and cement
The limited reconstruction of Gaza should be blamed on Hamas and the international community for not ensuring that construction materials are utilised for their intended purpose. Shortt thinks differently:
“Rebuilding after a war is a huge task. Rebuilding after three wars in six years is a monumental task. Add to that a blockade and a temporary cease-fire, and it’s leading to frustration and a simmering sense of anger, which is stretching hope of return to any sort of a normal life here in Gaza to its limits.”
The destruction to some neighbourhoods nearer the Gaza border with Israel is considerable. The zones of conflict were limited however, so it is somewhat misleading to present all of Gaza as being in a near-complete state of destruction, and to present the entire enclave as being in need of reconstruction thrice-over, when there were substantive efforts to rebuild previously. In 2010 Israel significantly eased the embargo, allowing Gaza’s infrastructure to be improved, yielding results that were at times unexpected, given common perceptions of quality of life in the Strip. In 2013 Israel further eased restrictions on construction materials, until these materials were repeatedly found to have been exploited by Hamas for building terror-tunnels into Israel itself.

Shortt then presents, as an unsubstantiated claim, the notion that Hamas is using building materials to construct new tunnels to conduct assaults, when it is in fact rather more than just a mere accusation:
“Israel accuses it [Hamas] of continuing to use cement and steel to rebuild tunnels to launch attacks into its territory.”
The programme segment then leads to an apologia from a representative of Hamas. Dr. Hamad Ghazy, Hamas’ Deputy Foreign Minister, who, after indirectly justifying such acts as a defence, stated:
“We want to take precautions to prevent any possible aggression against our people, but ah we gave promises that all the building materials that come to Gaza go to people who need it. Hamas will not interfere.”
Despite the contradictory message, purposefully aimed at Western audiences, Hamas’ leaders have loudly pledged Hamas’ wish to build new tunnels, and rearm. Recent reports attest to an unpleasant reality that Hamas is intensifying its tunnel-building efforts, with the use of greater mechanisation.

Dual-use cement imports had been curtailed, due to its military usage. However, tens of thousands of tons of other building materials had been transported into the Gaza Strip since the end of the 2014 war, and Israel has in another respect liberalised the import of cement. UNRWA itself notes:
“Construction materials defined as dual-use are only permitted to enter for approved projects by international organizations and, since mid-October 2014, under the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), an agreement between the governments of Israel and Palestine, for private sector use. The GRM, to which UNRWA is not a party, allows for private sector imports, and hence for shelter self-help for large scale reconstruction which was not possible prior to the establishment of the GRM”
The Jewish State had restricted the import of cement due to Hamas’ efforts to obtain such materials, often via the black market, but has since lifted its restrictions.

In another news report, entitled ‘New Crisis in Gaza’, broadcast on the RTE’s 6.1 (6 o’clock) and 9 PM news programmes, and otherwise repeated cyclically on the broadcaster’s ‘News Now’ channel, Robert Shortt states:
“In Gaza they call concrete ‘grey gold’. Building materials are in such short supply that people are literally taking sledge hammers to the remnants of buildings here, to extract the steel rods and break down the concrete rubble, in order to use it again.”
Similarly, Shortt wrote:
“The dull thud of sledgehammers can be heard as people break up collapsed concrete floors. Donkeys pull carts piled with twisted steel rods literally torn from the wreckage. Such is the shortage of building materials, Gazans are recycling everything they can use.”
Cement factory representative, 'New Crisis in Gaza', RTE News, May 9, 2015 (Screen-grab)

Shortt presents this story as if individual Arab-Palestinians are remoulding rubble with their bare hands. However, there is in fact an established localised industry recycling steel bars and concrete. Shortt indeed does mention a “concrete factory was destroyed during the war and rebuilt at a cost of four million Euro” but does not tie the point to the recycling of concrete.

To quote one pro-Palestinian source critical of Israel:
“Abu Ali Daloul is one of the main traders of recycled iron bars in Gaza. He bought tons of the iron bars removed from the rubble of the recent war. He fixes the bars and prepares them to be used again for construction purposes.

The concrete rubble are transported to stone breaking workshops in order to be turned into pebbles for use on road paving projects. Abu Lebda is a stone breading [sic] workshop which recycles concrete rubble and provides brick manufacturers with pebbles to make bricks with

Malaka concrete bricks factory brings the pebbles from Abu Lebda’s stone breaking workshop and puts the amounts in its stores hoping the cement to pass through the crossings to be able to produce bricks suffecient to rebuild Gaza.”
Moreover, the recycling of steel and concrete building materials has become commonplace the world over, for environmental reasons. Shortt, however, would sooner have the viewer believe that this is a remarkable, near-unprecedented phenomenon!

An anti-Israel NGO, called Gisha, reported in January that quite substantive amounts of concrete had entered Gaza since the end of Operation Protective Edge, but very little has been used to rebuild Gazan homes, despite the fact that Gaza’s residents are entitled to free building materials if their homes are damaged. The materials were in fact sold to Hamas, and requisitioned by Hamas.

Dr. Mona el-Farra

In the Prime Time report, Shortt proceeds to discuss the more personal effects of the embargo upon Dr. Mona el-Farra, a leading member of a highly partisan NGO called the ‘Middle East Children’s Alliance’ (MECA):
“But the blockade goes deeper. Gazans cannot travel freely across their borders. Dr. Mona el-Farra was prevented from travelling to Ireland in March to speak at a conference.”
The conference in question was organised by SIPTU in Dublin. SIPTU, Ireland’s largest trade union, has long pushed for a strong anti-Israel agenda, and supports a boycott. Some made a fuss of her non-attendance at the time. Sinn Féin-IRA leader, Gerry Adams, took up el-Farra’s cause with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, but the conference, far from advocating a fair just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, actually promoted a boycott of Israel, and a one-state solution, which would destroy the self-determination of the Jewish People, in a region that is otherwise Judenrein.

Therefore, it was no surprise that el-Farra proceeded to blame Israel for not letting her travel through its borders. She suggested it was because her voice is ‘loud’. However, neither she nor the programme makers noted that both Egypt and Israel denied her passage from Gaza, nor that both states have a right to control their borders, particularly when belligerent groups lie in wait beyond these barriers!

It should be noted that the Palestinian Authority constitutes the body responsible for the issuance of Gaza’s passports, as established in the Interim agreement with Israel. It is left unsaid in Shortt’s report, but Hamas has accused its Fatah/PLO rivals of frustrating the efforts of academics and campaigners to travel from the Gaza Strip, since 2008.

For the children?

Notably, Robert Shortt’s reports focused to a significant extent on the welfare of children. He states:
“Its against this backdrop of continuing violence and confrontational politics that children like Mara attempt to grow up.”

Like many Gazan children, she has seen the horrors of war. Psychological support has helped her re-adjust.”
Similarly, to quote a promotional webpage:
“Dr El Farra was prevented from travelling to Ireland in March to speak at a conference on Gaza. Her main concern is the impact of the conflict on the children of Gaza.”
Dr. el-Farra comments further on the predicament of Gaza’s children, who suffer the effects of war:
“The direct impact is the children don’t sleep well at night, having nightmares. Different sorts of phobias. Some of them lost speech. Some of them are afraid of dark nights or back to bedwetting again.

Some cannot focus at school. They became very irritable and they cannot focus at school. And this of course has another effect which is social problems. Have restless children, quarrelous, aggressive children.

There’s no life at the moment in Gaza. You are coming as visitor but I live here, and I go everyday to the refugee camp areas, and I can see the frustration on peoples faces and souls and minds.

My concern is the youth. They will start looking for radical solutions, getting involved with more radical Islamist groups like ISIS”
In this context, Israel’s influence on Gaza, through embargo and war, is blamed for these disturbing behavioural traits. Oddly however, neither el-Farra, or the programme makers, mentioned the extent to which Hamas radicalises Gaza’s children, with thousands of youngsters going to training camps. Even some Gaza-based anti-Israel NGOs are objecting to Hamas’ use of children in this way:
“local human rights groups are accusing Hamas of exploiting children for political purposes.

“We are not disputing the right of an occupied people to resist, but it must be done by adults, not children,” one human rights activist told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The camps are making young people aggressive instead of educating them and teaching them to abide by the law,” the activist said.”
Thus, problematic unsocial behaviour in children can equally be attributed to radicalisation. Hamas and other Arab-Palestinian factions have engaged in such behaviour, which is illegal under international law. The issue is far from recent, e.g. with the use of children in the First Arab Revolt of 1936.

Despite el-Farra’s/MECA’s professed wish to see the welfare of Arab-Palestinian children improve, the vocal defence of terrorism, and use of children for emotive conflict propaganda, may explain why they turn a blind eye to the abuse of children on their very doorstep, an abuse that even has expression in Gaza’s media. “Every Muslim mother must nurse her children on hatred of the sons of Zion” is one of Hamas’ many statements on the desired outcome of parenting.

Schools have long been a source of radicalisation in the Arab-Palestinian territories. Even children attending UNRWA’s own putatively civilian schools can experience the force of radicalisation. The headmaster of Zeitoun Elementary Boys school openly celebrates genocide and massacre. Shortt visited the school but seemingly such behaviour didn’t deserve mention!

El-Farra frets about the possibility of Islamic State becoming popular in Gaza. While the Western media presents ISIS in justifiably strong terms, due to its extraordinary bloodlust, Hamas’ speech is notably more extreme with respect to its advocacy of the genocide of all Jews, leading to the distinct possibility that the Sunni group’s bloodlust is only impeded by arguably the most sophisticated counter-terror force in the world.
Does responsibility lie with Arab-Palestinian rule?

Shortt’s coverage suggests Israel treats Gazans worse today than say a year ago. Arguably the opposite is the case. Shortt failed to report on various developments. For example, Israel facilitates the mass transit of construction materials into Gaza. Israel is doubling the water delivery to Gaza, after a crisis due to illegal drilling in the Strip’s coastal aquifer. Israel is also helping to increase the supply of electricity in the region, and may have indirectly engaged in discussions with Hamas, to construct a pipeline going from the Jewish State to Gaza to reinforce the electricity supply.

It is of course stating the obvious to say there are very limited opportunities for the people of Gaza, and that many are likely to feel a deep sense of despair. However, although conditions are extremely challenging after the damage caused by war, further Israeli initiatives, for business and reconstruction, were initiated during the latter months of 2014.

Shortt focuses on Israel’s blameworthiness for the present circumstances blighting the Gaza Strip, but what of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority themselves? The viewer only hears mention of “dysfunctional Palestinian politics”. Perhaps he hints at a topic that goes beyond Hamas’ rejectionist stances. He may refer to factionalism and corruption but viewers are not advised even though it relates strongly to the topic at hand. Is blameworthiness attributable to non-Jews of less interest to the viewer?

It is acknowledged that political factionalism has played abidingly negative role on conditions in Gaza from the very outset.

Other than previously mentioned issues, such as the dispute over passport issuance, there have been continued disagreements between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority over the payment of trans-state energy bills, which has resulted in power cuts of up to 18 hours per day. Such a measure would have a profoundly destructive impact on any economy. Likewise, the PA is believed to be intentionally slowing the payment of wages to State employees in Gaza, which constitute a substantive source of revenue to the localised economy. Lack of pay for many months has led to protests. There have been reports that Hamas is imposing another tax on imports, the monies from stressed private sectors will go into the pockets of long-unpaid members of Hamas.

Hamas have claimed that the Palestinian Authority demanded control of 50% of the monies pledged by international donors, to aid reconstruction in Gaza, whilst also stating that they rebuffed an Israeli offer to lift the embargo, and open up Gaza’s territory for shipping and air travel, in return for a long term truce. Both Fatah/PA and Hamas have of course their own agendas in attempting to commandeer billions of dollars in promised international aid.

Shortt on facts?

As we have seen, Shortt’s capacity to place blame on Israel was achieved due to significant omissions of basic fact inconvenient to his narrative. Shortt closed his Prime Time report with these troubling sentiments:
“Gaza is hemmed in by the sea and Israel. Its people are caught between dysfunctional Palestinian politics and the constant threat of war. The tide of violence breaks regularly here. Summer is coming. People fear what it may bring.”
Tellingly, Shortt made no mention of the fact that Israel’s embargo and maritime blockade is made in partnership with Egypt. This is a normative approach for the media, which largely ignores Egypt’s crucial role. Egypt has long appreciated the threat that Hamas poses to its security, as a military faction of the long proscribed Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the Arab nation did temporarily allow access through its borders, Egypt’s policy had broadly been harsher than that of Israel, giving little assistance at all.

Be that as it may, conditions for the people of Gaza are harsh. Siobhan Powell of UNRWA stated:
“There are no jobs so people can’t provide food for their families. It’s why we have such a dependency on assistance.”
Such a claim is an exaggeration, with the employment rate of Gaza largely remaining at 55% in recent years. Beyond the hyperbole, it is one of the highest rates in the world. The international community, including UNRWA, et al, blame Israel for such circumstance. And yet, in Israel’s defence, it does foster assistance programmes, continues to provide water and electricity (sometimes at its own peril), and supplies the assistance that keeps Gaza fed, the fuel to provide comfort and transport, and the materials to at least tentatively rebuild.

Shortt’s closing statement illustrates the problem with these normative media narratives — they flatly refuse to place any meaningful blame at Hamas’ door. Any sensible evaluation would surely conclude that when Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas, via the electorate’s assistance, took the opportunity to perpetuate conflict. Israel had to act to cut off a lethal belligerent operating freely on one of its borders.

The international community decry the wars with Hamas, and they decry the suffering of the populace. A highly vocal number claim that Israel should release Gaza from its embargo, and somehow peace will be found! All such a strategy will do is give Hamas carte blanche to wage a greater scale of war. As a result, Gaza’s civilians and the Israeli populace near Gaza’s border, will suffer all the more. There is no option for peace, other than Gaza being rid of Hamas, but the common ideological blind spot, which Shortt appears to suffer from, has to blame Israel for not only for its own legitimate defensible actions, but for the pain Hamas visits on the populace that voted it in on a mandate of continued strife.
“We shall not rest until our entire holy land is liberated … To the Zionists we promise that tomorrow all of Palestine will become hell for you” (Memri)

First published in Eirael.

Posted on 05/27/2015 11:56 AM by Robert Harris
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Is it Game Over for the P5+1 Deal with Iran’s Nukes?


Negotiators of Iran and six world powers face each other at a table in the historic basement of Palais Coburg hotel in Vienna April 24, 2015.
Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

Reuters has two reports on  negotiating  hiccups possibly forestalling  conclusion of the P5+1 deal with Iran and its nuclear program.  One  report indicates another possible  extension of the ‘final agreement’ deadline  beyond June 30th .  A related  re port  reveals  a stiffening position of France, that there will be no deal unless full access is provided to military facilities. As we have heard previously, that is verboten according to Iran’s Supreme Ruler. Thus, are we witnessing the a denouement  or  simply kicking the can down the road. Either way, President Obama’s legacy  of an opening to  Iran may be slipping from his grasp. Doubtless that may bring up short those EU and US companies   poised to  partake tens of billions in development deals under discussion with Islamic Republic should economic sanctions be lifted under the proposed P5+1 deal. If the diplomatic  deal  is cratering, it leaves the question of whether this a momentary speed bump or a finality?  If the latter what options would the US and especially Israel have to deter Iran’s quest for nuclear hegemony? 

On the matter of a possible delay in the P5+1 deadline, Reuters noted:

A self-imposed deadline of June 30 for Iran and six major powers to reach a final nuclear deal to resolve a decade-long standoff may be extended, Iran's state TV reported.

France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, said on Tuesday that the deal was not likely by June 30 because technical details would remain to be agreed.

"The deadline might be extended and the talks might continue after the June 30 (deadline)," Iranian senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying.

"We are not bound to a specific time. We want a good deal that covers our demands."

Ambassador Araud said it could take a few weeks of July to complete the technical annexes that are envisaged under an agreement if one can be reached.

Iran and the six powers resumed talks in Vienna on Wednesday to bridge gaps still remaining in their negotiating positions ahead of the deadline.

"The meetings on deputy negotiators level take place in the context of the E3/EU +3's diplomatic efforts towards a negotiated, comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue," the EU said in a statement.

Once, France’s redoubtable Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius exhibited toughness in these negotiations by going public with a demand that could be a deal killer:. Reuters reported:

France's foreign minister said on Wednesday his country would not back any nuclear deal with Iran unless it provided full access to all installations, including military sites.

"France will not accept (a deal) if it is not clear that inspections can be done at all Iranian installations, including military sites," Laurent Fabius told lawmakers .

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week ruled out international inspection of Iran's military sites or access to nuclear scientists under any nuclear agreement. Iran's military leaders echoed his remarks.

Fabius said he wanted other countries negotiating with Iran in the framework of the so-called P5+1 - also including Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States - to adopt France's position.

"'Yes' to an agreement, but not to an agreement that will enable Iran to have the atomic bomb. That is the position of France which is independent and peaceful."

However, it would be premature to exhibit schaden freude until a possible declaration occurs. The P5+1 side is stacked with cunning appeasers intent on cutting any deal that allows them to achieve economic bounty from development deals, while Iran gets away with an unverifiable and "very bad deal", as Israeli PM Netanyahu and many GOP members of Congress have said innumerable times. They may have their limited opportunity to vote on a deal under the recently passed bi-parrisan INARA, leaving President Obama to trump their possible negative vote with a veto. But first let's see if a final agreement is in the offing sometime in July or later. Stay tuned for developments.


Posted on 05/27/2015 10:16 AM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Wanton Saudi Bombing Continues In Yemen


Aren't you thinking about how different was the reaction of the "international community" to the constrained, carefully-targetted bombing by the Israelis in the Gaza campaign, when many times an attack would be called off if civilians were spotted. It was indignation, outrage, fury, horror. 

For months the Saudis have been bombing at will, the richest Arab country destroying so much of the poorest. And the Houthis are not people who pose the kind of threat to Saudi Arabia that Hamas posed to Israel; they pose no real threat at all. The Saudis just don't like them increasing their power in parts of Yemen, and don't care,of course, that it is only the Houthis who are prepared to attack Al Qaeda. The Saudis don't care about Al Qaeda, because Al Qaeda is focussed on the West, not the Al-Saud. Saudi and other Arab warplanes, knowing the Houthis have no way to fight bac, bomb at will, every day, wherever they feel like it. They bomb military installations, but also bomb civilians. They don't care. They aren't about to call off any bombing runs. They'd just as soon destroy as many of the Shi'a in Yemen as they can. Why? It cannot be argued that the miserable Yemeni quasi-state, whether controlled by the Houthis or not, could be a threat to Saudi Arabia, the largest arms buyer in the world, with hundreds of billions of dollars in weaponry, and the American government apparently permanently in its pocket.

But why is there no protest in the "international community" ? Where even do you find a palpable sense of unease at Saudi behavior and attitudes?

There is none.

Compare. Contrast.

Posted on 05/27/2015 9:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
The Boeing CHAMP Missile-A Non Nuclear EMP – Does Israel have its Version under Development?

Boeing CHAMP non nuclear EMP cruise missile

We noticed that the Boeing CHAMP non-nuclear EMP missile is back in the news after first surfacing following US Air Force (USAF) Research tests in Wendover, Utah in October, 2012. CHAMP stands for Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile. Yesterday, Digital Journal reported CHAMP’s official announcement by the USAF, “Boeing debuts powerful electromagnetic pulse weapon”:

The main development of CHAMP comes from Boeing, and it appears the project has been underway for several years. The system draws power from a microwave-emitting generator capable of killing electronics with a much higher accuracy rate. Rather than targeting entire blocks or even cities, the CHAMP targets only specific buildings.

In addition to its accuracy, it's also got another advantage; it can fire multiple times, unlike previous EMP devices that can only be used once at a time. In theory, the CHAMP could quickly take out several targeted buildings in rapid succession.

CHAMP is actually the result of three companies' work. Besides Boeing, Raytheon helped build the system's inner electronic workings, and Lockheed Martin built a special surface-to-air missile that delivers CHAMP to its targets. Called the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range (JASSM-ER), it has a range of at least 600 miles and can be used by B-1 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-16 and the F-35 stealth fighter.

In a single test mission in Utah, CHAMP successfully blacked out all seven of its targets in a single flight. It clearly impressed the U.S. Air Force, as it's apparently already in use in tactical forces.

Watch this YouTube video of the Air Force Research Lab test of the Boeing CHAMP missile from October 2012:

An Iconoclast post on October 28, 2012 showed Boeing video of a successful test of a CHAMP missile knocking out a bank of computers.  We wrote:

Israel could have a new unconventional capability given Boeing’s development of a new cruise missile the CHAMP that could produce high energy non-nuclear EMP effects to take out electronics.  Note this recent Digital Journal report, “New cruise missile will fry electronic targets, change warfare”.

The successful test of a US-directed energy weapon hints at a change in the frequency and impact of future warfare. The new missile proved it can fry an enemy's electronics using radio waves.

On October 16, 2012 a team comprised of members of Boeing’s Phantom Works, Raytheon's Ktech and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate successful conducted a missile test for a weapons system capable of decimating a country’s defenses and critically altering the military balance.

The team, led by Boeing and officially known as the Counter-electronics High Powered Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), held the test at the Utah Test and Training Range. During the hour-long demonstration a cruise missile flew over a target compound and completely disabled the electronic systems of seven targets including a two-storey building by emitting a burst of high powered radio waves.

“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” CHAMP program manager for Phantom Works, Keith Coleman said.

 “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”

Though the test simulated how a CHAMP missile could be used to shut down enemy radar in advance of a US air attack, hitting targets with non-kinetic energy, the new weapon is officially categorized as a non-lethal weapons system developed under the Future Combat Systems (FCS), which also includes advance robotic systems like autonomous unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs).

CHAMP is a directed energy weapon (DEW) that uses high powered microwaves (HPW) in the megawatt range to overwhelm any electronics systems similar to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) emitted from the detonation of an atomic bomb but without the kinetic force of a bomb.

American Israeli correspondent Jack DeLowe mirrored our own comments in an email exchange:

Imagine Israel using this weapon from their Popeye missile that could be fired from a standoff distance from a submerged Dolphin submarine or in the air from their Hermes Drone.  This could be used to not only paralyze the Iranian underground centrifuge facilities, but also to cut off Iran’s radar, missile systems and to cut off their entire communication system.

Given Israel’s high tech development, it would not surprise many of us that it probably its own version of CHAMP in late stages of development.  

Israel hardly ever talks about what it has either under development or in its inventory of advanced weapons.  There is the SPICE 250 glide bomb developed by Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Ltd. and used against targets in Syria.  SPICE stands for Smart, Precise Impact Cost-effective with a range of 100 kilometers.

Watch this YouTube video of Rafael’s SPICE250 glide bomb:

Then there is another Rafael development, the air and submarine launched Popeye Turbo missile. The Popeye Turbo tube launched cruise missiles carried by Dolphin Class submarines which has a range of 1500 kilometers and can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads. Israel just added a fifth Dolphin submarine to its fleet with a Sixth due from German shipyards in 2017. Thus, theoretically, Israel could likely retrofit both air and submarine launched variants of the Popeye Turbots with CHAMP-like warheads.  But, as we said earlier, Israel unlike the US doesn’t talk about such developments.

Watch this YouTube video of the air-launched version of the Popeye Turbo missile used by the Indian Air Force:

Posted on 05/27/2015 7:40 AM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
From The Annals Of Banality, Or, Just Think

From the Harvard Gazette:

"Students greeted each other under the flag at University Hall (photo 1) before jubilantly (photo 2) entering the Memorial Church for the Baccalaureate Service. Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister Jonathan Walton (photo 3) served as host, and reminded the graduating seniors that this week is called Commencement not because it’s the end of their college careers, but because it is “only the beginning.”

Posted on 05/27/2015 7:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Turkish Court Declares Despot's Palace Illegal


This latter-day Padishah, Recep Fatih, wanted his very own Dolmabahce or, more exactly, his very own Topkapi. So he built himself a palace, with 1,150 rooms, all in the worst possible taste, but there's no room at Erdogan's inn for good taste, or for law, or for justice. What will the temporarily foiled Erdogan do now? He'll arrest the judges. He'll call them agents of the Americans. Or the Israelis. What else would you expect?

Posted on 05/26/2015 5:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Burak Bekdil: Turkey, The NATO Member That Has Been Helping The Islamic State
Posted on 05/26/2015 4:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
A Musical Interlude: All Of Me (Russ Columbo)
Listen here.
Posted on 05/26/2015 4:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
An Exam Question For Mandarins

"His man's when is no otherman's quandour."

Please discuss.

Posted on 05/26/2015 4:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Yet Another Muslim Marriage Ruse To Remain In The West

The West -- the West that is to be hated, but all of its many benefits, including the security, the freedom from violence, that the advanced non-Muslim provides, as well as all the expensive government-supported education, health care, housing -- so sedulously taken advantage of by  Muslims have proven so remarkably adept at profiting from every last bit of aid that is on offer, now has another thing to worry about and monitor.

Story here.

Posted on 05/26/2015 4:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Dr. Mordechai Kedar On Muslims In The West
Posted on 05/26/2015 2:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Anti-Semitism Goes to School

Ruth Wisse writes in Mosaic:

“I never dreamed that it could come to this!”

In February, a Jewish college student was hospitalized after being punched in the face at a pro-Palestinian demonstration on a campus in upstate New York. His family has insisted on maintaining the boy’s privacy, but other such incidents, some caught on camera, include a male student punched in the face at Temple University, a female student at Ohio University harassed for defending Israel, and a male student at Cornell threatened physically for protesting anti-Israel propaganda. On three successive days last summer, the Boston police had to protect a student rally for Israel from pro-Palestinian mobs shouting “Jews back to Birkenau!” At the University of California-Irvine, this year’s Israel Independence Day festivities were blocked and shouted down by anti-Israel demonstrators. Every year, some 200 campuses now host a multiday hate-the-Jews fest, its malignancy encapsulated in its title: “Israel Apartheid Week.”

The Louis D. Brandeis Center in Washington, founded in 2011 to protect against such intimidation, has reported being startled by the results of its own 2013-14 survey: “more than half of Jewish American college students [have] personally experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism.” The film Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus faithfully captures scenes of the violence that often attends this new academic experience.

Nor are students the only targets. At Connecticut College, to cite but the most recent example, a quietly pro-Israel professor of philosophy has been maliciously singled out and hounded as a “racist” in a campaign instigated by Palestinian activists, endorsed by numerous faculty members, and at least tacitly complied with by the college administration and the campus Hillel organization. At the annual meetings of prestigious academic associations, boycott resolutions against Israel and Israeli academic institutions are routinely aired and often passed.

As one of its first acts in December 1945, the Arab League called on all Arab institutions and individuals to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Jewish and Zionist products or manufactured goods. Seventy years later, calls for boycott of Israel, under the acronym BDS—boycott, divestment, and sanctions—have become a staple of American university agendas, extending not only to Israeli companies like SodaStream but to Israeli scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Last year, a petition by “anthropologists for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions” garnered the signatures of the relevant department chairs at (among others) Harvard, Wesleyan, and San Francisco State. The American Studies Association attracted the “largest number of participants in the organization’s history” for a vote endorsing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

In his introduction to a timely volume of essays, The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel, Paul Berman provides a witty summary of the efforts by university boycotters to frame their campaigns as “modern and progressive” when in fact they are “disgraceful and retrograde.” But the truth is that anti-Semitism never needed a sophisticated veneer in order to win susceptible recruits among the educated and the allegedly enlightened. Urgent as it is to expose the undeniably disgraceful and retrograde nature of the boycott movement, some of its ancillary effects are already playing themselves out in modern institutions and in “progressive” ways.


One of those effects is the scandalous insult—the undreamed-of this!—that cracked the patience of my academic colleague quoted at the head of this article. The “this!” emanated in reports first from UCLA, then from Stanford. At both universities, Jewish students running for election to the student government had been challenged on the grounds that their “strong Jewish identity,” manifested by travel to Israel, made them untrustworthy candidates for office. For my colleague, who had tried until now to treat anti-Israel agitation as a legitimate political activity, this now-naked move to place Jewish students under automatic suspicion for being Jewish made it impossible to maintain any longer the distinction between anti-Zionism (permissible) and anti-Semitism (impermissible). To be sure, there had always been some kind of link between incitement against Jews in Israel and incitement against Jews elsewhere, but how was she now to distinguish between the two when her colleagues, peers, and students blithely insisted on conjoining them?

For the moment, most of the American public seems free—solidly free—of the anti-Semitism that infects American universities. According to the most recent Gallup poll, seven in ten Americans view Israel favorably, up substantially from the 47 percent that viewed it favorably in 1991 around the time of the first Gulf war. It would be hard to imagine greater enthusiasm for a foreign leader than that shown to Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke at a joint session of Congress in 2011 and again this year. Appreciation for Israel seems secure when the Wall Street Journal, widely considered America’s most influential newspaper, is also its most effective editorial champion of Israel, with the FOX News channel not far behind.

Jewish students running for election to student government have been challenged on grounds that their “strong Jewish identity” makes them untrustworthy candidates for office.

Which is not to say that grounds are lacking for larger concern. In addition to the catalog of academic offenses I’ve briefly summarized here, a growing number of anti-Jewish incidents—from a swastika-desecrated Jewish cemetery in New Jersey to fatal shootings at a Kansas City Jewish community center—has been registered by agencies like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee. At the government level, more ominously, and perhaps for the first time in recent American history, it is the White House, rather than the once notoriously Arabist State Department, that has taken the lead in threatening to isolate the Jewish state. President Obama’s frankly contemptuous treatment of Israel’s prime minister smacks more of the university than of the Senate in which he once served, but he is the president, and his words and actions give license to others.

At any rate, the basic truth is this: Israel and the United States, unlovingly paired by their Islamist enemies as the Little Satan and the Big Satan, are prime targets of the same antagonists. It remains to be seen, then, whether the rise of anti-Semitism in America—itself an extension of the Arab- and Muslim-led war against Israel and the Jewish people—will fatally penetrate America’s thick constitutional culture, in which some of us still place our trust.

Universities are the obvious place to begin investigating that question.


I. Anatomy of an Attack


Although no single scenario can represent the workings of the anti-Israel syndrome among the educated, a recent UCLA initiative demonstrates how the movement achieves its goals. The steps go more or less like this:

(1) A consortium of self-declared pro-Palestinian student organizations devises a “statement of ethics” asking candidates for the student council to pledge that, if elected, they will not participate in trips to Israel organized by groups like AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, or Aish International’s Hasbara Fellowship on the grounds that these trips are discriminatory or, in student shorthand, “Islamophobic.” (At UCLA, the consortium comprises  Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Muslim Student Association, Afrikan Student Union, Armenian Students’ Association, and Samahang Pilipino; at Stanford, the umbrella group is the Students of Color Coalition [SOCC], which is formally aligned with Students Out of Occupied Palestine [SOOP].)

(2) Most candidates at UCLA, and the largest student party, decline to sign the pledge, but among the signers is the student who is elected student-council president.

(3) Before and after the elections, Israel’s defenders on campus urge UCLA’s chancellor to condemn the pledge in the name of the university.

(4) After the elections, in an email to students, faculty, and staff, Chancellor Gene Block (a) offers reassurance that the pledge was strictly a voluntary affair: “No one was barred from running for office, participating in the election, or serving on the council as a result of not signing the pledge”; (b) defends the pledge on the grounds that the core issue is one of free speech: “The decision to circulate this pledge and the choice to sign it or not fall squarely within the realm of free speech, and free speech is sacrosanct to any university campus”; (c) nevertheless goes on to say that he is personally troubled: constitutionally protected speech is not necessarily “wise, fair or productive,” and he is “personally concerned any time people feel disrespected, intimidated, or unfairly singled out because of their beliefs.”

(5) The chancellor’s statement is followed by an expression of “shared concern” from Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California.

On the face of it, the outcome at UCLA might seem to indicate a “win” by the pro-Israel side, since administrators, even if they did not condemn the pledge outright, as they were asked to do, did bring themselves to express a degree of discomfort with it. At least, that is the positive face that the pro-Israel groups on campus chose to put on the affair. A similar sense of satisfaction issued from events at the annual meeting in January of the prestigious American Historical Association, where, after strenuous efforts by pro-Israel members, it was finally decided (by a vote of 144 to 55) not to pursue further resolutions denouncing the Jewish state. Jeffrey Herf, a historian at the University of Maryland who spearheaded the opposition, took rightful pride in reporting that “a group of determined scholars fought the good fight and . . . won far beyond our expectations. . . . The momentum of BDS,” Herf concluded, “runs up against academic integrity and respect for evidence.”

But what kind of a victory is it, and how much integrity and respect for evidence are on display, when every anti-Israel referendum, exhibit, assembly, protest, and campaign reinforces the air of normalcy that this political minuet has acquired? Regardless of their outcome, anti-Israel allegations achieve their aim by negatively singling out the Jewish state from among all others and forcing its supporters onto the defensive. Aggression against Israel is by now reminiscent of the joke that circulated after World War I. The mayor of a town tells his deputy to round up all the Jews and all the bicyclists. The deputy replies: “Why the bicyclists?” Those who don’t get the joke apparently find nothing remarkable about Jews being apprehended. Yet just as it was never “normal” to single out European Jews for roundup, so it is not “normal” to single out Israel for censure.

Regardless of their outcome, anti-Israel campaigns achieve their aim by negatively singling out the Jewish state from among all others and forcing its supporters onto the defensive.

Contrary to the claims of administrators like the chancellor of UCLA, prosecuting the war against the Jews is not an issue of free speech, “sacrosanct to any university campus.” Had UCLA’s chancellor and president faced a campaign to reinstate segregation, recriminalize homosexuality, or bar women from the faculty club, they would have reacted with more than “concern.” Yet behind the banner of free speech, they tolerate, however squeamishly, campaigns to undo the Jewish homeland and to demonize the already most mythified people on earth. Anti-Jewish politics are no more innocent when pursued by left-wing American SOCCs and SOOPs than when they were prosecuted by right-wing European blackshirts.

Indeed, institutions that enforce “sensitivity training” to insure toleration for gays, blacks, and other minorities may inadvertently be bringing some of these groups together in common hostility to Jews as the only campus minority against whom hostility is condoned. On almost every campus in the land, the norms of political correctness are rigorously enforced; punitive speech codes proliferate; a phalanx of administrative functionaries labors so that nothing said, or read, will ever offend the sensibilities of any student—with one licensed exception. Multiculturalism has found its apotheosis in a multicultural coalition of anti-Zionists: a uniquely constituted political phenomenon with its own functions, strategies, and goals.

Surprising as this may sound to today’s activists, freedom of speech and the practice of anti-Semitism are not necessarily bedfellows. Both the United States government and Israeli courts have found ways of drawing the line between liberty and incitement. In the mid-1970s, at the height of the Arab boycott of Israel and at the very time when the Arab-Soviet coalition succeeded in passing United Nations Resolution 3379, which demonized Zionism as racism, the U.S. enacted laws to prevent citizens and companies from participating in other nations’ economic boycotts or embargoes. By prohibiting compliance with the boycott of Israel that had been enforced by the Arab League since 1945, the United States greatly reduced the damage being done to Israel through this branch of warfare.

More recently, the hyper-liberal supreme court of Israel upheld the provisions of Israel’s own “Anti-Boycott Law,” which withdraws accreditation from actors pursuing boycott campaigns by means of false and distorted legal or factual claims. Although the United States is reluctant to thwart American trade, and Israel prides itself on free speech, both recognize that democracies must also protect the freedoms they enshrine.

So, too, universities and the academic community, without limiting the free-speech rights of groups that promote anti-Semitism, whether through BDS or demonstrably false accusations leveled at Jewish students or faculty, could deny them accreditation and university funds. Student groups that justly demand respect for their own particular religions and ethnicities should be held to the same standards of mutual respect that govern formal group behavior toward gays and women. Newton’s first law of motion operates equally in politics: anti-Semitism in motion will remain in motion—and will pick up ferocity—unless stopped by resistant power.

Continue reading here.

Posted on 05/26/2015 12:31 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
President Obama’s Anti-Israelism Dissected

President Barack Obama and Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in Oval Office

This past Memorial Day Weekend Jews  observed  the Festival of  Shavuot (spring harvest festival) celebrating the giving of the law by Moses ( Moshe rabbenu “Moses our teacher” ) to the assembly of ancient Hebrews and others in the exodus multitude  gathered under the mountain.  Just prior to Shavuot  President Obama gave his ‘drash’ (commentary) on relationships with Israel its existential enemies and the Jewish people in two pre-holiday events. The first was  his interview with  Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on Israel, ISIS and Iran while the second was his appearance last Friday morning at Washington Conservative synagogue, Adas Israel  Congregation ,where  he spoke to a  gathering 1,200 progressive Jews, including Goldberg.   He suggested in his synagogue remarks that some in the progressive American Jewish community consider him perhaps the first “Jewish President”.  That would likely support the opinion of Oabma by redoubtable NER colleague, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein,  noted theologian, scholar and author of Jihad and Genocide and other  noted  post Holocaust works.  Rubenstein took the measure of Obama early on in our June 2010 NER interview posted  on You Tube calling Obama, “the most radical President ever”. Watch it here.

Both Vic Rosenthal’s  Abu Yehuda  blog post, “For Obama it’s a Moral Crusade” and Brett Stephens’  Tuesday Wall Street Journal column, “The Rational Ayatollah Hypothesis” suggest that the President’s comments sinuously convey anti-Israelism. 

Rosenthal gives the following evidence:

Some of the reasons I and others find Obama anti-Israel are these:

1. His stubborn attempts to force Israel into a suicidal agreement with the Palestinians.

2. His acceptance (regardless of his words) of a nuclear-armed Iran, and his efforts to stop Israel from acting against it.

3. His open contempt for our Prime Minister.

4. His taking the Turkish president’s side in the Mavi Marmara affair, and forcing PM Netanyahu to apologize to the Turks.

5. His acceptance of Hamas claims that the IDF acted ‘disproportionally’ in Gaza (as shown by his demand for an immediate cease-fire and imposition of an arms embargo during the recent war).

6. The aforementioned leaks about Israeli actions in Syria and elsewhere.

7. His acceptance of the anti-Israel narrative that Israel’s right to exist rests on the Holocaust and that it must be balanced against the rights of the ‘deserving’ Palestinians (as expressed in his 2009 Cairo speech).

8. His attempts to interfere in Israeli politics, including trying to defeat Netanyahu at the polls. It’s ironic that American money was used to help get out the presumably anti-Netanyahu Arab vote — and then Obama bitterly criticized Netanyahu for telling his supporters that they should get out and vote because the Arabs were!

9. The double standard he displays: compare his condemnation of the PM for his election-day remark with his lack of response to the daily barrage of Israel-hatred and veneration of terrorists coming from the official Palestinian media. Or look at his expressed concern for Palestinians suffering the indignities of checkpoints against his failure to mention the almost daily Jewish victims of Palestinian terrorism.

I could go on, but this should be enough to show that the belief that Obama is anti-Israel is substantive, not simply a political reflex as he suggests.

Stephens provides additional evidence:

Can there be a rational, negotiable, relatively reasonable bigot? Barack Obama thinks so.

So we learn from the president’s interview last week with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg—the same interview in which Mr. Obama called Islamic State’s capture of Ramadi a “tactical setback.” Mr. Goldberg asked the president to reconcile his view of an Iranian regime steeped in “venomous anti-Semitism” with his claims that the same regime “is practical, and is responsive to incentive, and shows signs of rationality.”

The president didn’t miss a beat. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s strategic objectives, he said, were not dictated by prejudice alone. Sure, the Iranians could make irrational decisions “with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool.” They might also pursue hate-based policies “where the costs are low.” But the regime has larger goals: “maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their country,” and getting “out of the deep economic rut that we’ve put them in.”

Also, Mr. Obama reminded Mr. Goldberg, “there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country,” to say nothing of Europe. If the president can forgive us our trespasses, he can forgive the aAatollah’s, too.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a man with an undergraduate’s enthusiasm for moral equivalency (Islamic State now, the Crusades and Inquisition then) would have sophomoric ideas about the nature and history of anti-Semitism. So let’s recall some basic facts.

Iran has no border, and no territorial dispute, with Israel. The two countries have a common enemy in Islamic State and other radical Sunni groups. Historically and religiously, Jews have always felt a special debt to Persia. Tehran and Jerusalem were de facto allies until 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and 100,000 Jews still lived in Iran. Today, no more than 10,000 Jews are left.

So on the basis of what self-interest does Iran arm and subsidize Hamas, probably devoting more than $1 billion of (scarce) dollars to the effort? What’s the economic rationale for hosting conferences of Holocaust deniers in Tehran, thereby gratuitously damaging ties to otherwise eager economic partners such as Germany and France? What was the political logic to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s calls to wipe Israel off the map, which made it so much easier for the U.S. and Europe to impose sanctions? How does the regime shore up its domestic legitimacy by preaching a state ideology that makes the country a global pariah?

Rosenthal concluded his column:

Obama does not actually love Israel. Possibly he loves some kind of idealized version of Israel, in which Israelis behave like good Christians, turning the other cheek at terrorism and “taking risks” to the point of sainthood. Of course, such an Israel wouldn’t last two weeks in this Middle East.

What he does seem to believe is that the Palestinian Arabs, like American blacks, are denied civil rights. He believes that this is due to the racism of the Israeli government and Prime Minister; that this is a special case of Western colonialism a la Edward Said; and that Barack Obama ought to use his power to right this ‘wrong’.

For Obama, like Said, the Palestinian Cause is a moral crusade.

Stephens ended his column:

Whether the Ayatollah Khamenei gets to act on his wishes, as Eichmann did, is another question. Mr. Obama thinks he won’t, because the ayatollah only pursues his Jew-hating hobby “at the margins,” as he told Mr. Goldberg, where it isn’t at the expense of his “self-interest.” Does it occur to Mr. Obama that Mr. Khamenei might operate according to a different set of principles than political or economic self-interest? What if Mr. Khamenei believes that some things in life are, in fact, worth fighting for, the elimination of Zionism above all?

In November 2013 the president said at a fundraising event that he was “not a particularly ideological person.” Maybe Mr. Obama doesn’t understand the compelling power of ideology. Or maybe he doesn’t know himself. Either way, the tissue of assumptions on which his Iran diplomacy rests looks thinner all the time.

We will more to say about this in a forthcoming review in the NER of Manfred Gerstenfeld’s latest book on the subject of anti-Israelism as political warfare, A War of a Million Cuts.



Posted on 05/26/2015 9:10 AM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
The Muslim Population and the Democracy Index

Sierra Rayne writes in the American Thinker:

Following yesterday’s column on the Christian-Muslim clash of civilizations, some readers were interested in looking at the data in more detail.  It’s a worthy exercise, as it allows us to draw a few tentative “red lines” that Western civilization should not cross.

If we look at the democracy index of all 167 nations for which it is available versus the corresponding Muslim population in each country, it is clear that an increasing proportion of Muslims correlates very strongly (i.e., massively statistically significant [p=1e-13, r=-0.53) with a declining democracy index (aka less democracy and more authoritarianism).

The red line is unequivocal: full democracies are effectively absent once the Muslim population reaches 6 percent or higher.  The Netherlands currently sits at 6.0 percent.  Wonder why Geert Wilders is so concerned?  His nation sits on the precipice of a potential slide into increasing authoritarianism.

Other Western nations approaching the red line include Belgium (5.9 percent), Germany (5.8 percent), Switzerland (5.5 percent), Austria (5.4 percent), Greece (5.3 percent), Sweden (4.6 percent), the U.K. (4.4 percent), and Denmark (4.1 percent).

You might ask what the relationship is between Christians and the democracy index.  It is the exact opposite of that for Muslims, and even more statistically convincing.  There is a stronger correlation (p=5e-22, r=+0.66), except in the positive direction, between the Christian population and democracy.

In general, more Christians equals stronger democracy, whereas more Muslims equals weaker democracy and greater authoritarianism.

The same trends exist for press freedom, which decays quickly once the Muslim population reaches six percent.  Another red line.

The highly significant relationship between the Muslim population and press freedom is strongly negative.  On the other hand, the significant correlation between the Christian proportion of a nation’s population and its press freedom is strongly positive.

In general, more Christians equals greater press freedom, whereas more Muslims equals less press freedom.

This is science.  Actually, the clarity of the results means that it is settled science.

The implications extend beyond domestic policies, particularly with respect to immigration.  They also highlight the folly of trying to “democratize” predominantly Muslim regions of the world (as with, say, the recent “nation-building” efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan).  The geopolitical facts presented herein show that such efforts are undeniably doomed before they begin on religious grounds alone.

Posted on 05/26/2015 8:16 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Campaign In Algeria: Be A Real Muslim Man, And Veil Your Women

It's been all downhill since the French left in 1962.

Algeria never attained to the secularism of Tunisia. It had no Bourguiba, but only a Boumedienne, and instead of his Destour Party, the FLN. But it also had forces opposed to the fanatical Muslims; the result was more than a decade of terrorism and war, and hundreds of thousands of casualties.

Now, in Algeria, the campaign to convince Muslim men to veil their women -- including the girls who used to be exempt because of their age -- and forbid the wearing of skirts, is finding success, is going great guns. A telling development.


Posted on 05/26/2015 6:33 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Sunni/Shia 1400-Year-Old War

The Sunnis, who are the majority of the Muslims in the world, believed that they should voluntarily choose Mohammed’s successor. They chose Abu Bakr, the father of Aisha, the ninth wife of Mohammed. Aisha was six years old when she was forced to marry the 50 year old Mohammed.

The Shias on the other hand believed the leadership of the Islamic movement should be hereditary. Mohammed’s closest living male relative was his cousin Ali. Ali became the leader or Caliph of the Shias. Within a decade after Mohammed’s death bloody civil war erupted between Sunnis and Shias. While the war has simmered in certain periods of history it has just as often raged.

We are now living in a period of history where this civil war is raging with unrelenting cruelty and ferocity. Sunni and Shia are killing each other with gleeful abandon in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Pakistan and especially Iraq. Islam is a bloody curse not just on Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, but also on Muslims. The West Point Center on Terrorism states that more Muslims since 9/11 have died at the hands of other Muslims than any other faith group. Sunnis consider Shias as apostates. All Sunni Hadith law demands death for the apostate. (See Reliance of the Traveller, Chapter O, section 8).

Now enter ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). This is a group that is so violent that in February it was disavowed formally by al-Qaida (the folks who killed 3,000 Americans in the 9/11 attacks). That gives you a real indication of the total barbarity of ISIS. The Internet is awash with pictures and videos of these monsters playing soccer with severed human heads, shooting and beheading thousands of Shias and torturing innocent women. You would be hard pressed to find a greater collection of psychopaths on the planet. Where did ISIS finds its role model to authorize these cruel excesses?

Mohammed is considered the role model for all Muslim men both Shia and Sunni. Any act Mohammed permitted in his life is considered permissible (halal) in the life of his followers. Mohammed was a warlord, a murderer, a thief, a slaver and believed in forced child marriages. Islam is the only religion of mankind that does not have some form of the Golden Rule. Islam is about revenge and conquest. It is a supremacist, fascist ideology masquerading as a religion.

Does this adequately explain the 1,400-year-long civil war of Islam between Sunni and Shia?

Does this explain the heartless fiendishness of ISIS? Unlike Vegas, what starts in Iraq won’t stay in Iraq. It will come here!

Posted on 05/26/2015 5:07 AM by John Constantine
Monday, 25 May 2015
Soeren Kern: Just A Month Of Muslims
Posted on 05/25/2015 9:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 25 May 2015
Turkey TV talent show: Woman contestant shot in head

BBC: A Turkish woman who has been taking part in a talent show on national TV has been shot in the head while rehearsing at home, Turkish media say.

Mutlu Kaya, 19, was in a critical condition after being shot in Diyarbakir province early on Monday.

Diyarbakir is a conservative region in south-east Turkey and Ms Kaya had reportedly received death threats for singing on the show, Sesi Cok Guzel.

One person has reportedly been arrested in connection with the incident.

The gunman was said to have been in the garden and fired through a window into the house.

Sesi Cok Guzel is similar to shows such as Britain's Got Talent. Ms Kaya's mentor is Sibel Can, one of Turkey's best-known folk singers.

Ms Can had visited Ms Kaya at the school canteen where she worked in March, in order to make sure she joined her team in the competition.

However, the Posta newspaper reported on Sunday that Ms Kaya had received death threats after appearing on the show.

"I am afraid," Kaya was quoted as telling the show's production team.

Posted on 05/25/2015 5:24 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Monday, 25 May 2015
In France, The Left Has Lost Its Minds
Posted on 05/25/2015 4:32 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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