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



















Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Even When He Starts To Get A Glimmer, He Gets Too Much Wrong

Blair on Islam and Western policies here.

Greedy opportunist Tony Blair, with his Tony Blair Faith Foundation (as his American analogue, Bill Clinton, has his Cliinton Global Initiative, staffed by his, and by his wife's, Lady Macbeth's, political apparatchiks), knows there is something dangerous about Islam. But he can't say exactly what, so he sticks to this business of "Islamic extremists" or "Islamic radicals." It was the policy of his government to admit, in ever-larger numbers, so many of the Muslims whose presence in the West has "created a situation for the native non-Muslims, and for other, non-Muslim, immigrants, that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous" than would be the case without such a large-scale Muslim presence. It was the policy of his government to participate in the Tarbaby Iraq fiasco, intended keep Sunnis and Shi'a from fighting (why?), and to make Iraq "prosperous" by handing out tens of billions of dollars in aid that was stolen or misspent by its Iraqi recipients. How a unified and prosperous Iraq would further the interests of the West, which is in a divided and demoralized Camp of Islam, was never made clear.

Even when he starts to make a little more sense, Blair misrepresents things, and communicates his state of confusion. He's not intelligent enought to sit still, think about  Islam -- the ideology of Islam, the texts of Islam -- or under what conditions those texts are taken or might be taken to heart (answer: no one can say because a "moderate" can become "extremist" for all kinds of reasons, some having nothing to do with the outside world), nor does he understand the blend of self-interest, filial piety, and embarrassment that causes Muslims to protect and defend their faith, and to refuse to admit to what it inculcates.

He's useful now for one reason: to hold up his words and thoughts to inspection, as a representative of many others. But certainly not to heed him.

I wonder how much he pocketed from Bloomberg London for his confusions.

Posted on 04/23/2014 8:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
A Musical Interlude: Three Little Fishies (The Smoothies)
Listen here.
Posted on 04/23/2014 8:33 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
The Water Wars: Ethiopia, Egypt, And A Dam
Here.
Posted on 04/23/2014 8:27 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Sugared Sonnets, One Of Them Tetrametric

Sonnet 66

Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And guilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
   Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
   Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Sonnet 129

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
   And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
   As any she belied with false compare

Sonnet 145
Those lips that Love's own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said 'I hate,'
To me that languish'd for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
'I hate' she alter'd with an end,
That follow'd it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away;
   'I hate' from hate away she threw,
   And saved my life, saying -- 'not you.'
Posted on 04/23/2014 7:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Join the March against Christian Persecution, May 17, 2014 in Orlando, Florida

In our interview with Austrian human rights advocate and counter-jihadist Elisabeth Sabaditsch –Wolff she previewed the upcoming March against Christian Persecution, The Myth of Islamophobia: The Vienna - Phoenix Connections.  We reported:

She discussed the forthcoming May 17th March against persecution of Christians in Orlando, Florida modeled on an annual one that occurs each December in Vienna. [The Orlando march will be held the evening of May 17th with remarks by the organizers and several speakers followed by a torch light silent parade].  {Sabaditsch-Wolff] will be coming to the US to join Florida March organizers Rev. Bruce Lieske and Alan Kornman of The United West.  Lieske had witnessed the last March against Christian Persecution in Vienna and was moved to sponsor one in Florida, next month. Among the European contingent attending the Orlando March will be Sister Hatune Dogan, a Syrian Orthodox Christian Nun of Turkish origins. Read her speech in an Austrian Cathedral delivered on December 28, 2013, here.

Watch this You Tube video with Rev. Bruce Lieske of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Orlando extending an invitation for you to attend the May 17, 2014 Prayer March against Persecution of Christians:

During our interview with Sabaditsch-Wolff, she noted the canard radical Muslims typically use, “first the Saturday people, then the Sunday People.  Perhaps it is time for the Saturday people to defend the imperiled Sunday people”.

David Gouthard, Wall Street Journal, 4-19-14

That was the subject of a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by the Hon. Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN published last Friday, The Middle East War on Christians.  Ambassador Prosor drew attention to the plight of ancient Christian communities in the Middle East and elsewhere threatened with extinction caught between warring radical Islamic extremist groups and ruling autocrats in the Middle East. He revealed that the only country in the region where Christian populations have increased is Israel. Further as we have written Orthodox Christians in Israel have rejected the label of Arab Christians as inappropriate and now unabashedly have signed up as loyal citizens to serve in the IDF according to Father Gabriel Naddaf, “Israel’s Christians Who Defend the Jewish State.”   

 .  That is evidence of what Caroline Glick wrote about, the rejection of the long term Pan Arabism position of Christian founders of the Ba’athist Parties in the Middle East and the radicals like the late George Habash, co-founder of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine.  In our Iconoclast post we noted this comment about Fr. Naddaf.

Yuval Brandsetter in a Jerusalem Post op ed about Fr. Naddaf, “The Good Father, “noted something that impressed us.  This evident assertion of Israeli Christian identification and solidarity with Israel was a rejection of Dhimmitude; the 1,400 years of Islamic Imperialism imposed on Jews and Christians under the pact of Omar.  He wrote:        

In spite of his lowly position, or maybe because of it, Fr. Gabriel Naddaf has reached the conclusion that Christians residing in Israel must link their fortunes to the Jewish state. In acting on this conclusion with fortitude and a free mind, Fr. Naddaf stands in defiance of the 1,300-year legacy of dhimmitude – the legacy that both his Jerusalem Patriarch and Istanbul’s Ecumenical Patriarch continue to observe.

 Prosor noted the perilous status of ancient Christian communities in the Muslim Majority Middle East:

The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26% of the Middle East's population. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have lived in the Middle East since their faith was born.

In the rubble of Syrian cities like Aleppo and Damascus, Christians who refused to convert to Islam have been kidnapped, shot and beheaded by Islamist opposition fighters. In Egypt, mobs of Muslim Brotherhood members burn Coptic Christian churches in the same way they once obliterated Jewish synagogues. And in Iraq, terrorists deliberately target Christian worshippers. This past Christmas, 26 people were killed when a bomb ripped through a crowd of worshipers leaving a church in Baghdad's southern Dora neighborhood.

Christians are losing their lives, liberties, businesses and their houses of worship across the Middle East. It is little wonder that native Christians have sought refuge in neighboring countries—yet in many cases they find themselves equally unwelcome. Over the past 10 years, nearly two-thirds of Iraq's 1.5 million Christians have been driven from their homes. Many settled in Syria before once again becoming victims of unrelenting persecution. Syria's Christian population has dropped from 30% in the 1920s to less than 10% today.

Prosor went on to note why Israel has become a beacon of hope for embattled Christians in the Middle East:

The scene unfolding in the Middle East is ominously familiar. At the end of World War II, almost one million Jews lived in Arab lands. The creation of Israel in 1948 precipitated an invasion of five Arab armies. When they were unable to annihilate the newborn state militarily, Arab leaders launched a campaign of terror and expulsion that decimated their ancient Jewish communities. They succeeded in purging 800,000 Jews from their lands.

Today, Israel, which I represent at the United Nations, is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population. Its Christian community has increased from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today; in large measure because of the freedoms Christians are afforded.

From courtrooms to classrooms and from the chambers of Parliament to chambers of commerce, Israeli Christians are leaders in every field and discipline. Salim Joubran, a Christian Arab Israeli, has served as a Supreme Court justice since 2003 and Makram Khoury is one of the best-known actors in Israel and the youngest artist to win the Israel Prize, our highest civic honor.

Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox priest living in Israel, recently told me: "Human rights are not something to be taken for granted. Christians in much of the Middle East have been slaughtered and persecuted for their faith, but here in Israel they are protected."

Perhaps  Ambassador Prosor’s message will sear the consciences of American Christians and Jews to demonstrate resolve against the plague of Islamic extremism that threatens the extinction of these beleaguered ancient Middle East Christian communities.  One way to demonstrate that commitment is to join the first US March against Christian Persecution in Orlando on May 17th. The hope of the march organizers is that it may spawn dozens of others across this great land of Liberty and Freedom.  

Posted on 04/22/2014 7:49 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Dutch Poll Vindicates Wilders against “fewer Moroccans” extremist charges by Opposition Parties

Gerrt Wilders, leader of the PVV Dutch Freedom Party

The virulent attacks on Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) by opposition parties in the ruling coalition in The Netherlands and threats to have him prosecuted for his “fewer Muslim” comments in our April NER article “Geert Wilders Once Again Endures a Firestorm of Criticismhave backfired.   A new poll commissioned by the PVV reveal that Dutch voters reject those threats categorically. 

A news release by the PVV today noted: 43% of the Dutch want fewer Moroccans”:



At the request of the PVV, the independent research bureau “Peil.nl / Maurice de Hond” conducted an opinion poll into the view of the Dutch regarding the presence of Moroccans in the Netherlands.

No less than 43% of all the Dutch prefer to have fewer Moroccans. Only 3% wants more Moroccans, while 48% does not care how many Moroccans there are in the Netherlands. A majority of the voters of PVV (95%) and of the governing VVD (59%), but also more than one third of the voters of the Socialist SP and more than a quarter of the Labor voters prefer to have fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.

A majority of 55% of all Dutch is opposed to a criminal prosecution of PVV-leader Geert Wilders.

Geert Wilders: “The figures are very clear. Millions of Dutch agree with me. It is great, too, that a majority of the Dutch is of the opinion that I should not be prosecuted.”

This latest poll bolsters a previous one of Dutch parties in the European Parliamentary elections just one month away on May 22 to the 25th that showed the PVV in the lead.  See our March 17th Iconoclast post, “Wilder's Freedom Party Leads Poll for Dutch European Parliament Elections”.    We noted:

Geert Wilders" Freedom Party (PVV) leads in Dutch polls next month's European Parliament elections.  According to a report in the Dutch publication,  Spitsnieuws:

A TNS NIPO poll published today predicts that the PVV, the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, will become the biggest party in the European elections in the Netherlands.

According to the poll the PVV is going to win the European elections on 22 May with 18.1% of the votes, followed by the Liberal VVD of Prime Minister Mark Rutte with 16.2% and the liberal-democrat D66 party with 15.7%.

The losers of the European elections would be the Christian-Democrats and Labor.

At the conclusion of our April NER article we said:

We hope that those Dutch folks who went to the polls on March 19th and gave the PVV victories in several smaller municipalities may be joined by others in the majority, who didn’t vote. That might provide the PVV with a victory in the May EU parliamentary elections. We have seen Wilders bounce back from previous episodes like a proverbial cat with nine lives.

Both polls taken in the Netherlands clearly indicate that the groundlings aren’t buying the ‘extremist’ charges and calls for prosecution of Wilders. Instead they may be auguries of a possible significant victory for the Freedom Party candidates in the May 2014 European Parliamentary elections.

Posted on 04/22/2014 6:09 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Al-Nusra's Suicide Bombers Pay Back ISIS's Suicide Bombers
About a month ago the head of the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Suri, was killed by a suicide bomber sent by ISIS. Now the Al-Nusra Front has sent not one but  two suicide bombers to kill members of ISIS, and they managed to get 16 of them. This has no end. But it has a happy, because long and drawn out, ending.
Posted on 04/22/2014 5:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
A Musical Interlude: Pennies From Heaven (Arthur Tracy)
Listen here.
Posted on 04/22/2014 5:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
A Long Article On Oman But No Mention Of Ibadiya Islam Or Dhofar

At Bloomberg News here.

The article is about how the ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos, is not enthusiastic about Saudi efforts to direct the foreign policies of the other, much smaller, member states of the G.C.C. , what the reporter calls "Saudi hegemony."

One example of this refusal is follow the Saudi lead is the willingness of Oman to enter into a new pipeline agreement with Iran.

This is reported. But it is mere reporting. The reader is left to wonder about an explanation. Why might Oman not be willing to join Saudi Arabia in its anti-Iranian campaign?

Here are two reasons.

The first would require a knowledge of history -- not of ancient history, but recent history, only back to the late 1960s and1970s. In that period,Saudi Arabia thought it would try to grab as much territory as it could, or at least to destabilize some of its neighbors. And when the Trucial Sheikdoms were finally left to fend for themselves, when the British removed their troopsin 1971 -- Philip Larkin wrote a poem about what he saw as the significance of that cost-cutting measure -- the Saudis tried to do what they could to bully their neighbors. One example is the dispute over the Buraimi Oasis, when the Saudis tried to claim territory that belonged by rights to Abu Dhabi and also, to a lesser extent, Oman (ARAMCO, of course, backed the Saudis to the hilt). The ruler of Abu Dhabi, Zayed, had as its expert someone familiar to readers of NER -- J. B. Kelly, who among other books had written  Eastern Arabian Frontiers and the undisputed authority on The Frontier Question, the frontier(s) in question being those that demarcated the borders of the various Arab states and statelets on the western littoral of the Persian Gulf. Another is the Dhofar or Dhufar Rebellion, within Oman, and which the Saudis supported early on -- later Nasserites took up the cause.

The second would  require a knowledge of Islam, and to know that Ibadiya Islam's redoubt in the entire Muslim world is Oman, with Ibadis found elsewhere only in a few places in south-central Algeria. About half the population of Oman is Ibadi, and the Ibadis are quite different in their practice of Islam than the Wahhabis who dominate Saudi Arabia. Those differences are not hard to find.

Begin with the words "Buriami" "Dhofar" and "Ibadiya" in figuring out why Sultan Qaboos of Oman(the favorite Arab prince of Prince Charles, because the old customs are maintained, the land and people of Oman still present a spectacle like something Freya Stark or Frieda Utley or Wilfred Thesiger might recognize as Araby) might have rejected "Saudi hegemony" and signed a pipeline agreement with Iran.

What do journalists do all day?

What?

Posted on 04/22/2014 1:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Saffron Road, American Halal Company, And Truth In Advertising

Several people have written to me to say that they bought, at Costco, "Saffron Road" products only to discover, when they got home, that on the back of the package, in small letters, was written "American Halal Company." They had no desire to buy any Halal products, both because the methods used in halal slaughtering repel them, and because they have no wish to promote the presence of Islam, and its adherents, in any way, in this country.

This attempt to downplay -- to put where you might not notice -- the sign that indicates the meat is halal, with all that that means, is deliberate. Even the use of "Saffron Road" is intended to represent the product as undefinedly Eastern, something perhaps having to do with the saffron robes of Buddhist monks. And saffron is a spice one associates, in the West, with Spanish paella or Italian risotto, and not with Arab or Muslim cuisine, as would happen, say, with such a spice as zaatar.

If you can stand all this "sustainably harvested" and "ethical consumerisml" and "faith- based" goodigoodiness, you should read for yourself how the website manages to fill every rift with the ore of this fashionable  lexicon, words, words, words, all the while making sly claims, and hiding unpleasantnesses about Islam and just how well its adherents got along with all the others on the Silk Road. Where are all those destroyed Buddhist Stelae, those Hindu and Jain temples, those Nestorian Christian churches, those artifacts of the Greco-Bactrian civilization of Afghanistan,and who is responsible for their disappearance?

Here's a sample of the treacle:

"Adnan[Durrani, the company's founder] felt that even though there existed many different ethnic cuisines, there was really no high quality offering in the US consumer market that celebrated the rich, ethnic diversity and cultural harmony that he believed exemplified the inclusive spirit of those travelling on these ancient Silk Routes, where one of the most treasured jewels was saffron.  Furthermore, since Islamic cultures had also enjoyed this Silk Road for 1,400 years, over the centuries halal food and saffron were an integral part of anyone who journeyed on this route.[halal food was an "integral part" of the cuisine of non-Muslims too?]  Thus Saffron Road was born – out of a vision of a journey that is truly memorable and which could be shared and celebrated by friends and families of all cultures and faiths coming together for an epicurean meal. With ethical consumerism as its foundation and pluralistic values as its compass, Saffron Road is the incubation of a natural food company, which excludes no faiths or cultures—but rather strives to be inclusive and celebrate all faiths with values that are multi-ethnic, socially responsible, and spiritually timeless. Our mission is to restore the “spiritual sacredness to food,” and bring back a simple mindfulness of the abundant commonality of all humanity in this complex world.

At the very least, should not customers of Costco ask that the Halal label be clearly indicated -- and not obscured -- on the front of any halal products, so that customers need not find themselves, by mistake, buying that which they otherwise would have no intention of buying? It leaves a bad feeling. It causes resentment. It is not much to ask, that halal products be clearly identified as such.

And it is not only the packaging that is deceptive. Take a look at the sweetness-and-light-and-everything's-organic-and-free-range-and-so-on description of this processed food, at the website for the American Halal Company, and look at how the word "Halal" is defined for those who don't know that they are not being given the truth, but a studied vagueness pretending to approximate the truth. 

This hiding of halal, some would say, is a little thing. Others might note in grim response that many a little makes a mickle.

Posted on 04/22/2014 2:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
The Double Language Of Muslims In France
Posted on 04/22/2014 6:18 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
An Anti-UKIP Article, And The Readers' Responses
Read the article, and then read the responses by readers. (Click on "More" when you have finished reading one page of those responses)
Posted on 04/22/2014 10:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 21 April 2014
Islamic school militants ‘confiscated Easter eggs’

From the Daily Express

EASTER eggs and bunnies were seized at a school at the centre of a takeover plot by Islamic hardliners, it was claimed yesterday. Park View School is at the centre of an inquiry into a “Trojan Horse” plot to “Islamise” secular state schools in Birmingham.

A mother of a pupil alleges ­“morality squads” of older boys ­confiscated chocolate and toys from younger children.

The woman, who asked not be named for fear of reprisals, told the Daily Express: “Older boys are going round in these morality squads telling off girls if they do not wear veils. They bully the girls and stop them mingling with boys in the playground.”

And she said gangs have clamped down on Easter celebrations. She said: “My daughter tried to bring in an Easter egg for a friend and one boy grabbed it and smashed it against a wall. Another girl of about 11 brought in a little Easter bunny toy that she wanted to show her friends. They grabbed that off her too. All talk of Christmas and other non-Muslim festivals is banned. The teachers just turn a blind eye to it.”

We saw this sort of boy by Regent's Park on Friday. I am told that there were boys as young as 10 making the throat slitting gesture. I saw two making another rude gesture. Small boys of all cultures can be rude but this is more sinister.

Posted on 04/21/2014 1:11 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 21 April 2014
Did the Boycotters Hear The Good News about Israel?

In his message of April 17, 2014, Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, surprisingly forgot to send Passover greetings to his many Jewish friends in Jerusalem, but he did issue a Palestinian Prisoners Day Call for churches worldwide to pray and act for justice.  In solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, the Rev. Dr. invited the member churches to call on U.N. member-states to insist that Israel end its “policy of arbitrary detention" and to abide by the standard rules for the treatment of prisoners adopted in 1955.

Rev. Tveit’s invitation and his moral passion were in no way related to an individual, Issa Abd Rabbo, a Palestinian who had been released from prison in October 2013 as one of the 104 prisoners the Israeli government had agreed to release.  Israel had agreed to this in order to get the Palestinian Authority, who had insisted on it as a precondition, to come to the peace-negotiating table.

Mr. Rabbo had been imprisoned for murdering, on October 22, 1984, two Israeli university students, Ron Levi and Revital Seri, who had been hiking south of Jerusalem.  In an interview in Palestinian Media Watch after his release, he described his technique: “I tied them up, of course, and then sentenced them to death by shooting, in the name of the revolution.  I shot them, one bullet each.”

In light of Rabbo’s own account of the ordeal he suffered after his conviction for the murderous activity, one can now understand why well-meaning people may be troubled by the Israeli treatment of prisoners that is said to have caused heartache for the entire Palestinian people.  Rabbo explained to the media that he had collected stamps before his arrest, but it was difficult for him to pursue his hobby in prison, because “there are many restrictions, few letters arrived, and the quality of the stamps on them was poor…I had no special albums to put the stamps in properly so I put them in an envelope.”  Rabbo apparently suffered his ordeal with the courage he had shown when committing the murders, and he did not even mention the lack of fresh flowers every morning in his cell.

One must also now feel compassion for those individuals, including prominent celebrities such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Irish activist and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, and the novelist Alice Walker, who find it difficult to avoid referring to Israel as an “apartheid state.”  They are all concerned about what they see as the devastating treatment of Palestinians by Israel, a treatment that Ms. Maguire regards as racist and as “ethnic cleansing.”  The solution must be to impose boycotts and sanctions against the state.  The BDS campaign will continue until, in Ms. Walker’s words, “Israel complies with international law and Palestinian rights.”  Though none appear to have degrees in international law, they all assert that Israel has been breaking the Geneva Conventions and is “committing crimes against humanity.”

Everyone is aware that Israel faces many internal and external challenges.  It is understandable that these boycotters are so active in publicizing those “crimes” that they have little time for observing the character of the diverse Israeli liberal democracy, politically, religiously, culturally, and sexually, and its response to those challenges.  They are too preoccupied to be aware of the 1.5 million Arabs in Israel who have full and equal legal rights, or to know of the Arab judge on the Israeli Supreme Court, or about the Arab military officers in the IDF, or the Arab heads of universities and other institutions.

The boycotters may also have little time for information about popular culture.  They could not possibly know of the success of the 25-year-old Israeli Arab woman who in 2012 won the national television talent show.  Nor could they possibly know of the result of the talent show in January 2014, when a 47-year-old Filipina, a lesbian by choice, and one of the 20,000 Filipina workers in Israel, won the contest by singing Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way.”

The upholders of moral principles and dedicated boycotters of Israel have bestowed their celebrity status on bias and bigotry.  They must be saddened by recent events in the “apartheid” country, particularly because Israel is so obviously succeeding in coercing women, especially Arab women, against their best interest to become highly educated, famous, and successful in their professions, so unlike the status of women in Arab countries.

The bigoted boycotters may perhaps already know about Miss Israel of 2014, the 21-year-old Yityish Aynaur, one of the 125,000 Israelis who came to Israel from Ethiopia.  She was born in a small village in northern Ethiopia, lost both of her parents at an early age, and immigrated to Israel when she was 12.  She became a model, and an officer in the IDF.  Her comment after her award, which may not have been communicated to the boycotters, was that “everyone can reach the top in Israel.”

Aynaur showed that you do not have to be white to be a Jew.  A recent event shows that you do not have to be a Jew to be a successful Israeli citizen.  The event concerns the fourth-season Israel MasterChef televised cooking competition in April 2004, featuring three candidates.  One is a white business man, a second is an Ethiopian-born Jewish Orthodox woman from Rishpon, and the third is an Arab woman from the largely Arab town of Baka al-Gharbiya in the Haifa area.  At the finale, which was the most watched TV episode in Israeli history (37% of households), the winner was Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, the Arab contestant.

The winner had forgotten she was supposed to be living in an “apartheid” state.  She is a 32-year-old molecular biologist and mother of three.  She had obtained a Ph.D. from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; has four other post-doctoral degrees, one in inter-bacterial communication; and is currently a post-doc at the Oranim College of Technology.  She won the contest with her menu combination of traditional Arab dishes with a modern twist.  Perhaps if boycotters change their minds and go to Israel they might visit her and try the Armenian lamb-filled dumplings topped with yogurt that she made at the contest.  Atammna-Ismaeel will surely welcome them in the Arab-Jewish culinary school she plans to open with the prize money – 200,000 shekels, or $57,000.

The boycotters must be morally indignant that at the last Israeli MasterChef contest in 2013, there was an ecumenical cast of candidates.  The winner was a German immigrant from Cologne who had converted to Judaism, and the runners-up were another Arab-Israeli Muslim female scientist, a neuroscience researcher, and a Jewish Orthodox woman with Moroccan roots.

Parenthetically, one wonders if a similar moral indignation of the boycotters has been unleashed as a result of the increasing enthusiasm of the Palestinian leaders to honor terrorists as heroes or heroines.  The most honored current heroine is Dulal Mughrabi, who is regarded as both a female role model and a martyr.  Her contribution to science and culture differed somewhat from the Israeli Arab women mentioned above.  She was not a neuroscientist or a nurse, but a 19-year-old leader of a Coastal Road massacre because she was determined to “kill as many Israelis as possible.”

She, and 12 other terrorists belonging to the Fatah Al-Asifa forces, was responsible for the massacre when, on March 11, 1978, they hijacked a bus north of Tel Aviv.  They killed 38 civilians, including 13 children, and wounded 72 others.  At some point in the operation, during which she was killed, Mughrabi raised the Palestinian flag.  This “bride of Palestine” has been honored in numerous ways, among them by having university football and table tennis tournaments, public squares, computer centers, girls' high schools, and summer camps named after her.

At the official ceremony honoring her held on March 11, 2011, Mughrabi’s mother echoed the words of Palestinian official statements.  The Palestinian National Charter, passed in July 1968, states (Article 9) that “[a]rmed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine, and is therefore a strategy, not a tactic.”  The more recent Sixth Fatah Congress of August 2009 called for “the complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military, cultural existence through violence.”

Perhaps before the next time the bigoted boycotters speak of the absence of “peaceful coexistence” in the area, they might try to find the correct names and addresses of those who believe in liberation through violence and who thus are responsible for the perpetuation of non-peaceful existence.

Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.

First published in the American Thinker.

Posted on 04/21/2014 9:17 AM by Michael Curtis
Monday, 21 April 2014
Times Are So Tough, Some Mafia Members Turn To Un-Crime
Posted on 04/21/2014 9:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 21 April 2014
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, And The Sunni-Shi'a Faida
Posted on 04/21/2014 9:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 21 April 2014
In What Etiolated Sense Can Abdullah Delghayes Be Called "British"?

Read about him  and about his sons who are off in Syria fighting (and one, so far, dying) in the Path Of Allah, and whom he wishes would "come home" -- to Great Britain, a country in which he has been allowed to settle, but to which he owes no loyalty, and in which he has no real interest except as a land in which he will work, however he can, to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam.

His zebibah -- see the photograph -- is practically topographical.

Posted on 04/21/2014 8:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 21 April 2014
Batik
Posted on 04/21/2014 7:49 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 21 April 2014
At Al Ahram, An Article On Sinai Terrorists Has An Interesting View Of Israel
Egypt's Sinai: Mapping terror
Ahmed Eleiba, Monday 21 Apr 2014
Sinai
Egyptian border guards patrol near the border with Israel in North Sinai city of Rafah, Egypt, August, 2013 (Photo: AP)

On Monday the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled that Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis be classified as a terrorist organisation. A number of Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, had already designated the group as terrorist. They were quickly followed by Washington.

In the same week the leader of the organisation was killed in an ambush in Al-Toma village in the north Sinai district of Sheikh Zuwaid and military and security forces successfully forestalled a number of terrorist operations.

They also conducted several raids that led to the deaths of three members of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis organisation and the detention of several others.

Many questions about the structure of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis organisation and its links with other salafi jihadist groups and organisations in Sinai remain unanswered. There is no question that there is an active network of such organisations.

The network operates on two levels. On the structural level it is led by commanders who have experience operating in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen.

They moved from the Asian to the African arena — Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Syria and then Egypt — lured first by the collapse of the tight security that had prevailed in the pre-Arab Spring regimes and then by the rise of the religious right, or the Islamist movements, in the political sphere.

The second level is ideological and shaped, in particular, by Abdallah Azzam, the godfather of Al-Qaeda, and Abu Mohamed Al-Maqdisi a leading Salafist Jihadist ideologue.

A week ago, Egyptian authorities arrested Al-Qaeda officer Tharwat Shehata in the Tenth of Ramadan City. The place where he was hiding out is thought to belong to a Muslim Brotherhood member.

Whether or not this is the case Shehata’s presence in Egypt cannot be separated from events in Sinai. He can best be described as a central intelligence unit for Al-Qaeda, whether in its first “Afghan jihad” version or its second “post-Arab Spring jihad” version. Many Egyptian security experts, including General Khaled Okasha, describe the capture of Shehata as a major event.

Intelligence on extremist activities in Sinai is accumulating though Okasha says much more remains to be done. There has also been a qualitative shift in the operational capacities of the security forces with the creation of a specialised rapid-intervention anti-terrorism unit.

A senior intelligence expert told Al-Ahram Weekly that Shehata had been under surveillance for some time before his arrest and that the observation had revealed important information.

On the evolution of Al-Qaeda networks he said: “I believe that they are more extensive than many believe and that there is an ability to extend even further given that some international parties are keen to ignite fires in the region. I do not exclude the US from this.”

The source also spoke about the progress of security operations in Sinai in recent months. Measures already taken on the eastern front were “ideal”, he said. He warned, however, that the western borders with Libya require much more intensive security activity and facilities. Libya, he said, has become a prime exporter of jihadist extremism.

“If Egypt could install radars on the borders there and increase aerial surveillance with pilotless aircraft that situation would change. Israel restricts the use of such radars in Sinai. We should therefore use them along our western borders in order to curb cross-border infiltration as much as possible.”

The source said acquiring pilotless aircraft had become an urgent priority for Egypt. “We need the sort that is being manufactured by Israel. The Russians, Americans, Germans, Turkey and India all depend on drones that Israel makes. But Israel is certainly not going to give us one directly.

But could Russia act as a third party and include one in a deal with Egypt?

“That would be difficult. Even conventional weapons being discussed with Egypt at present are contingent on the arrival of Field Marshall Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to the president’s office.”

In a related development, Libya’s ambassador to Cairo, Mohamed Fayez Jibril, met on Monday with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb.

Although much of the meeting was devoted to the problems of the more than a million Egyptians living in Libya and, particularly, hate crimes targeting Egyptian Copts, the two officials also discussed border security. Jibril laid the blame for the current situation on the Qaddafi regime which he said has used the border area as a recruitment zone for foreign mercenaries.

But Jibril, says Libyan expert Al-Hussein Bin Karim, is ignoring the facts and saying only what the government wants to hear.

“True, the Qaddafi regime had its bad points. But there are two parties responsible for what is happening in Egypt now.  One comprises the salafist jihadist emirs of various stripes who control a sizeable segment of Libya.

The other comprises the weapons emirs and their tribal networks of smugglers which extend from Upper Egypt to Marsa Matrouh.”

Israeli Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz has observed that the four areas surrounding Israel are unstable. With respect to the “southern front” — Sinai — he urged good security coordination with Egypt, which is something he said the Egyptian army can do in keeping with the arrangements of the security protocol of the Camp David accord.

The Israeli military leader noted: “We are happy with the calm that has prevailed on Sinai front recently. But we do not depend on it and, therefore, we will continue our deployment operations.”

“At this phase there is no need for military operations because of the close and good relations with the Egyptian side. The more coordination and cooperation between us develop the more the likelihood of a military operation diminishes. However, we are an army that knows how to work.”

 Israeli affairs expert Said Okasha linked Gantz’s remarks to statements issued by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claiming that it controls Sinai.

“If such claims were true the Israeli chief of general staff would never have issued such remarks. Nor would the Egyptian army have achieved such successes in the field. For example, the army has secured the Suez Canal and traffic through it has revived. Tourism [in Sinai] is also moving and customary economic activities continue uninterrupted.”

Despite an expanding terrorist environment generated by the aftermath of the 25 January revolution and developments following 3 July 2013 that necessitated a massive intensification of military operations in Sinai it appears that Egypt’s resistance to terrorist operations is relatively good.

This is heartening, given that the situation in Sinai is not just a local but also a regional, and perhaps international, concern. Nevertheless there remains the question related to Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. If this is a terrorist group, how do we rank all the other groups and organisations that are operating in Sinai and that take “Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis” as a mere banner for carrying out terrorist operations.

There definitely remain ambiguities surrounding the terrorist map of Sinai and beyond. More importantly, however, the existing agreements, protocols and cooperative arrangements are far from sufficient if we are speaking about a terrorist map that spans the greater Middle East. At the same time, according to Nabil Abdel Fattah, editor-in-chief of the report on the state of religion produced by Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, “Cultural and religious discourse requires much more extensive and deeper treatment than the very superficial attention that is being accorded at present".
Posted on 04/21/2014 1:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 21 April 2014
A Musical Interlude: Song Of Those Without Work (Mordecai Gebirtig)
Listen here.
Posted on 04/21/2014 9:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 21 April 2014
Charlotte Van Den Berg Uncovers An Unspeakable Dunning By Dutch Bureaucrats

One more wrong uncovered, after the Great Wrong. There is no end to this.

Here.

Posted on 04/21/2014 9:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 21 April 2014
Jack Straw, Still Confused

He has had finally to admit that  there is a "problem" with a Muslim takeover of schools. But for Jack Straw it's still

'a very small minority" who provide reason to worry. Other Muslims -- the "vast majority" -- are just fi

"There is a real distinction between people who are devout and a very small minority who are extremist and verging into militant extremism and to justifying violence".

What isn’t acceptable – and this affects only a tiny minority, but we’ve got to spell it out to them – are those who proselytise Islam in an exclusive way and claim that those who are not of the Muslim faith are infidel and have fewer rights, and argue that women are inferior and ought to have fewer chances in society than men.’[what Jack Straw claims -- with no evidence -- "affects only a tiny minority" is orthodox Islam." His confusion and fear of thinking clearly about things is indicated by his repetition of that phrase -- "a very small minority" and then "affects only a tiny minority." How does he know? And then he bizarrely talks about those who "proselytise Islam in an exclusive way" -- what could the phrase "in an exclusive way" possibly mean? Is he attempting to express the thought that Muslims claim the right to proselytize, but they deny that right to others? If so, why doesn't he say it? He can't, that's why. And to describe those who "claim that those who are not of the Muslim faith are infidel and have fewer rights, and argue that women are inferior and ought to have fewer chances in society than men" as part of a tiny minority, when all Muslims, if they take their faith seriously, believe all of  those things, shows again how difficult it is for Jack Straw to allow himself to understand Islam. I think at this point he's beyond all hope; his entire adult life has been spent believing certain thjings, about Muslims and diversity and so on, and now, as all the evidence accumulates to show how wrong he has been, he appears to change, a little, but he can't think things through to the end. It's beyond him. And many others like him.

His full remarks are here.

Posted on 04/21/2014 3:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Islamist plot: six schools face Ofsted special measures

Andrew Gilligan in the Sunday Telegraph

At least six Birmingham schools at the centre of an alleged Islamic takeover plot are set to be placed in “special measures” by Ofsted in a move that could see their entire leadership removed. The Telegraph understands the six will be rated “inadequate” by the schools inspectorate after a series of snap inspections over the past few weeks. The label usually leads to “special measures”, which in turn give Ofsted the power to remove senior managers or even close the schools.

Ofsted will also take action, although less drastic, at a further nine schools in the city where the attempted Islamic takeover is less advanced, or where secular head teachers are resisting it. Only one of the 17 schools inspected by Ofsted so far in connection with the alleged plot has received a clean bill of health, although one report is yet to be completed. 

One source said: “Almost all of the reports to a greater or lesser extent are pointing out flaws in leadership, management or safeguarding driven by an Islamist political ideology. Sometimes the flaws are light. In some cases they are very severe. Those to be put in special measures are those where [radical] governors are effectively running the school.”

Separately, senior sources at the Department for Education (DfE) say they have established an “overlapping web of connections” in the schools affected, with a “driving force which appears to be explicitly Islamist”. This is despite some prominent figures in Birmingham attempting to cast doubt on the credibility of the allegations.

In the reports, to be published at the same time next month, Ofsted will grade Park View; Golden Hillock; Nansen; Oldknow and Saltley schools in Birmingham as “inadequate” for leadership and management, the lowest possible ranking. A sixth school, Alston, is already in special measures.

Springfield; Adderley; Regents Park; Highfield; Gracelands; Ladypool; Marlborough; Montgomery and Waverley schools will be graded as “requiring improvement” in leadership and management, the second-lowest rank, and given enhanced monitoring and support. No concerns were found at Ninestiles. The report on one further school, Washwood Heath, is still being completed. A number of other schools in Birmingham are likely to be inspected after Easter. 

The verdicts of the Ofsted reports are almost certain to mean that Tahir Alam, the hardline Muslim Council of Britain activist accused of being the “Trojan Horse” plot’s ringleader, is removed from his roles as chairman of governors at Park View, chairman of the Park View Educational Trust, which also runs Nansen and Golden Hillock, and from his post as a governor of Highfield. His key allies at many of the schools affected are also likely to be removed. Mr Alam denies any involvement in any plot, calling it a “witch-hunt” and “fabrication”.

A separate report, by inspectors from the DfE, has substantiated many of the allegations. 

At Oldknow, another school to be placed in special measures, Bhupinder Kondal, the non-Muslim head teacher, was forced from her job despite also achieving an “outstanding” Ofsted rating.

At Springfield, staff told The Telegraph Christopher Webb, the successful secular head teacher, is under “non-stop attack” by radical members of the governing body. Separately, Mr Webb has received death threats.

A small number of individuals linked to either Mr Alam, a Birmingham charity called the al-Hijrah Trust or an online group called Educational Activists are present in most of the schools affected. In messages leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, members of the Educational Activists group discussed how they would pursue an “Islamising agenda” in schools. 

Mark Rogers, the chief executive of the council, claimed only two weeks ago that there was no conspiracy, merely “new communities” raising “legitimate questions and challenges” to the “liberal education system”. Ministers and DfE officials were understood to be frustrated at what one senior figure called “the wilful attempt at every stage to minimise what is happening” by local leaders in Birmingham.

The city council was aware of growing pressure on head teachers almost six months ago, but only acted after an anonymous letter purporting to reveal details of the plot was published. Many teachers have told The Sunday Telegraph their complaints to the council were ignored. 

Posted on 04/20/2014 1:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 20 April 2014
A Modest Proposal for a Swift Middle East Peace

The 18th century Anglo-Irish satirist, Jonathan Swift, is famous and best known for his book Gulliver’s Travels. Equally imaginative and ingenious is his essay A Modest Proposal written in 1729.  In this essay he addresses his concern with the heartless attitudes towards the poor that existed in Ireland and with the failure of Irish policy to create better conditions. He ironically suggests that the poor be killed and used to feed the rich. If he were alive today one can imagine he might deliver ironic comments on the subject of peace between the Palestinians and Israel. He would almost certainly have humbly offered a new modest and least objectionable proposal, in the following manner.  

First, he would regard it is as a “melancholy object” to observe the Palestinians so pessimistic, to witness their lack of unity, the quarrels between Fatah and Hamas, the bitter civil war in Syria, the resurgence of al-Qaeda, and would peruse the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood, the blaming of others for their own condition and the basis for their intransigent unwillingness to make peace with their Israeli neighbors. He would note the even more “melancholy object,” the refusal of fellow Arabs, some of them “failed states,” in neighboring countries to offer them assistance.

Then he would analyze the present situation and attitudes of the Palestinians. Some of them lament their misfortune to be citizens of the State of Israel even though they have full civil and political rights, freedom of expression and religion, the ability to exercise those rights without punishment and to express themselves in their own Arabic language which is one of the official languages of the country. The Palestinians who live in east Jerusalem where they are regarded as “permanent residents,” and have local political rights also complain about their comfortable condition.

Swift would notice that other Palestinians believe they have the good fortune to live in the Gaza Strip, under the benevolence, open minded, and the benign rule of Hamas and its Islamic Jihad ally, the members of which contribute to the art and culture of the area primarily by their advanced skill in timing and coordinating the firing of long range missiles against Israeli children.

Swift would quickly become aware that another group of Palestinians live in what the Jordanian Kingdom, when it illegally controlled the area between 1949 and 1967, named the “West Bank,” the area west of the River Jordan. The Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, agreements between Palestinians and Israel, which the present Palestinian leaders scorn and against which they express their dislike at every opportunity, sought to arrange their lives in three different administrative areas until the Palestinians felt ready for final status accords.

In area A, from which Israeli citizens are forbidden, Palestinians in towns such as Ramallah and Jericho, happily live under the democratic, efficient, non-violent, fully transparent, and uncorrupt Palestinian Authority led by Fatah and a President now in the tenth year of a four year term to which he was elected in January 2005.  Area B, which includes more than 440 villages and no Israeli settlement, is under joint Palestinian and Israeli control.  Area C, the area under dispute, though more prosperous than the others, is under the jurisdiction of Israel, the despised little Satan.  

Swift would be surprised that some Palestinians, usually referred to as “refugees” and including the great-grandchildren of those who fled their homes 65 years ago, are still sheltered by the UNRWA, to which the United States disproportionately contributes a large part of its funding. These great-grandchildren receive “sympathy” to some extent from their generous fellow Arabs in surrounding countries but which, except for Jordan, are too busy to grant them citizenship, and who usually find themselves “short of funds” to help the Palestinians in any material way.

Jonathan Swift would have made the penetrating observation that Arabs were now even more “melancholy” since the idyllic nature and harmony of the Middle East has been irritated by the continuing success of Jews in the world as well as by the very existence of the small country of Israel. He would appreciate that Arabs find it incomprehensible that Jews, who constitute just over 0.1% of the population of the world, should have been awarded such a disproportionately large percentage of Nobel Prizes, about 21% in chemistry, 26% in physics, 27% in physiology or medicine, and 37% in economics. It is certainly grossly unfair that Muslims, who account for 1.5 billion or 25% of the world’s population, should have received only 2 Nobel Prizes in the sciences. Moreover, everyone recognizes it is particularly unfair that Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader who enriched the art of airplane hijacking, and the science of igniting Intifadas, only shared a Peace Prize, but never gained one for his significant contributions to physics and chemistry.

Swift would have understood the “melancholy” feelings of Palestinians who are now aware they have suffered grave damage caused them by people who pretend to be friends. The biased bigots who boycott the State of Israel and its inhabitants, such as Oxfam International, Amnesty International, World Council of Churches, American Studies Association, the Irish Teachers Union, the British Cooperative Society, some groups in the European Union, and the other misguided individuals, are all busy preventing the Palestinians from taking advantage of the scientific and technological progress of Israeli citizens, or are anxious to forbid thousands of them from working in the well paid jobs offered them in Israeli settlements and elsewhere.

Swift may have wished that Palestinians grasp that the boycotters, especially those who claim to be skilled in understanding the complexities of international law, are false friends, perhaps even agents of the dreaded Israeli Mossad. Of course, no one can possibly believe that Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Alice Walker or some mainstream Churches, propagators of the fantasy that Israel is an “apartheid state,” could have been parties to such behavior.  Yet Swift must wonder, on behalf of the Palestinians, if the characterization by their “friends” of Israel as an “apartheid state” that must be boycotted has done anything but harm their interests and their hopes of gaining Nobel Prizes?

Swift would observe that the melancholy condition is aggravated by the behavior of friends in high places. Palestinians must wonder about the extravagant hyperbole of someone like Lord Sheikh (sic), a Conservative member of the British House of Lords, and chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum. In that House on January 20, 2009 he did not make any positive proposal but he did emphasize, “The people of Gaza have been subjected to collective and indiscriminate punishment by the Israelis, some of whose actions can perhaps be considered inhumane.”

Nor can one of his associates, Ibrahim Hewitt, who declared himself a supporter of Hamas, be regarded as any more helpful to Palestinians. Mr. Hewitt apparently did not bother to consult President Bashir Assad of Syria, a person whom he realizes is a world famous expert in the details of international law but is presently too busy slaughtering at least 140,00 of his fellow countrymen.  However, Hewitt somehow without guidance knows that Israel is the only nation in the world that stands above international law and that it acts with impunity.

In his own essay Swift, in putting forward his own proposal, was emphatic, “Let no one talk to me of other expedients.” Wise, and sometimes well-intentioned, persons have over the last seventy years advanced grandiose proposals for peace in the Middle East. However, following Swift, it is time for a more modest proposal.

Though Swift would believe the idea has merit, this is not the right time to suggest that the democratic countries, particularly the United States, should support the admission of Israel into NATO.  The benefits are obvious.  It would provide a collective security arrangement against international threats, including that from Iran. Though Israel could be appropriately admitted as a democracy with a free market, with intelligence capabilities for security purposes, and all would recognize it was more than capable of contributing to the common defense that would make it a useful addition to NATO, this is too immodest a proposal. 

Similarly, in spite of its evident desirability, it is not opportune to favor an application by Israel to join the European Union. Though the EU has not been the strongest supporter of the actions and policies of Israel, it is highly probable that diplomatic and economic cooperation, along  with Israeli participation with its technological knowledge in European research programs would benefit both sides. Nevertheless, it is better at the present time that Israel not strive for this ambitious objective, but should remain tied to Europe in the existing various forms of economic, cultural, and sporting interactions.   

No, the modest proposal, following Swift, would be limited to two different issues: the immediate renunciation of terrorist activity by Palestinians, especially the forces of Hamas now well armed by supplies from Iran, so that provocation can be avoided; and the recognition by Palestinian authorities of Israel as a Jewish state. The first would lead to cooperation, if not total harmony, to the increase in bilateral and multilateral trade, and perhaps to some education about the true history of the Middle East.

The second is imperative because Mahmoud Abbas, “President” of the Palestinian Authority has stated, “We will never agree to recognize the Jewish state.” This is rejecting peace. Our modest proposal would mean accepting the Jewish state, not as a theocracy or in religious terms, but as the home of the Jewish people who want to live there. Not accepting the proposal is the principal obstacle to real peace.  

Is there a glimpse of hope that there will be a “hearty and sincere attempt” to put this proposal into practice?  As Jonathan Swift suggested in his own AModest Proposal it is time to “maturely weigh” this proposal.

Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.

First published in the American Thinker.

Posted on 04/20/2014 8:22 AM by Michael Curtis
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Charities chief goes to war on Islamists

From the Sunday Times

The Charity Commission has warned that Islamist extremism is the “most deadly” problem it faces and is urging the government to introduce laws to prevent convicted terrorists from setting up charitable organisations.

In his first interview since becoming the watchdog’s chairman in October 2012, William Shawcross told The Sunday Times: “The problem of Islamist extremism and charities . . . is not the most widespread problem we face in terms of abuse of charities, but is potentially the most deadly. And it is, alas, growing.”

He said the commission was taking tough measures against any charity that was “sending cash to extremist groups in Syria” or “dispatching young Britons for training in Syria by al-Qaeda or other extremist groups”. 

The commission is monitoring several charities raising money for Syria and actively investigating some others. William Shawcross has written to the Prime Minister requesting laws to deal with a 'ludicrous loophole' that allows those with convictions for terrorism or money-laundering offences to set up charities or become charity trustees.

Posted on 04/20/2014 6:01 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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