Eric Holder, the corrupt former Attorney General under President Obama, is in the news this week calling on the DOJ and FBI to stonewall President Trump's call for transparency and public disclosure in connection with their efforts to derail the Trump presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton took her sour grapes tour to Harvard this week, where she received an insignificant award for being "transformative". (Hell, Hitler was transformative too. That's not necessarily a good thing.)
More than any two public figures I can think of, these two raise the question in my mind of whether there is equal justice in America.
We hear a lot of talk these days about equal justice, largely thanks to groups like Black Lives Matter. It is their contention that African Americans do not receive equal justice due to their high rates of incarceration and the greatly publicized shootings of black suspects by police. That's a complicated subject. Suffice to say I disagree with the position and tactics of BLM.
However, the public careers of Holder and Clinton have led me to conclude that there is one tier of justice for some and another tier for others.
Eric Holder is the man who, as a high ranking official in the DOJ, ramrodded the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich around the normal procedure at DOJ right up to President Bill Clinton's desk. It was one of the most controversial pardons in history. We later learned that Bill Clinton had a "friendship" with Rich's ex-wife. The whole thing stunk, but there were no repercussions.
As attorney general, Holder reigned over Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF operation that allowed thousands of weapons to be bought in US gun stores by a straw purchaser then transported into Mexico without any notification to Mexican police or any surveillance or tracking. The goal was to later recover the weapons after shootings in Mexico and show that US-purchased weapons were responsible for much of the bloodshed in Mexico's drug and gang wars. Hence, the need for more gun control.
Holder repeatedly denied any knowledge of the operation before Congress. In my view, he committed perjury. As a former DEA agent who occasionally worked with ATF, I know that such an operation could never have been concocted by street agents in Arizona, as Holder and his minions led us to believe. Fast and Furious had to have been the work of the highest levels of the Justice Department. Any other explanation makes no sense. When then- head of DHS, Janet Napolitano, spoke at UCLA, I had the opportunity to tell her that personally and ask her point blank why she never demanded answers from Holder. Of course, I got a run-around and a scolding for rolling my eyes.
Then there is Hillary Clinton herself, the queen of the dual justice system. This woman's entire life has been one scheme after another from the Rose Law Firm to Travelgate to the Clinton Foundation to Benghazi to her email scandal. Yet, she came so close to becoming president of the United States.
As secretary of state, Clinton and her underlings ignored pleas for enhanced security at the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Then the inevitable happened. The consulate was attacked and the ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three others were killed while any effort at rescue was told to "stand down." Then came the cover up and the lies. It should have disqualified Clinton from any further public office.
Later, we learned that as Secretary of State, Clinton had disregarded the use of the department's secure system of communications, one I had to use when I was a DEA agent stationed overseas in Thailand and Italy. These were rules every last foreign service officer is well aware of. Yet, Clinton had her own "system" clearly designed to evade Congressional oversight and later historians. It had all the security of a personal cooking blog. Like everything else in Hillary's career, lies and cover ups ensured, and in the end, the FBI, in spite of plenty of evidence, declined to prosecute. Now we know that ex-director James Comey and his cronies had written the exoneration memo months before they even "interviewed" Clinton. The interview itself was a joke. The fix was in.
It pains me to say this as a former Justice Department agent who served with pride and a conviction that ours was the best system of justice in the world. But when you look at the careers of Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, it is clear that something is amiss in our justice system. These two have gotten away time and time again with crimes that the rest of us would have dealt with swiftly. They have made a mockery of the notion that that is equal justice for all in this great nation.
The strategy is famed. If you can't beat your opponents on the military field, or with facts, beat them with the law. The strategy is an axiom of the Palestinian Authority PA. Having finished the commemoration of Nakba (Catastophe) day on May 15, the day in 1948 when five Arab armies tried but failed to destroy the State of Israel created a few hours earlier, the PA is continuing the battle by the weapon of international law. The foreign minister of the PA, Riad Malki, on May 22, 2018 at The Hague called on the International Criminal Court, ICC, to open an "immediate investigation," into the alleged "crimes" committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. The chief prosecutor at the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer, has said she will take "any action warranted" to prosecute crimes.
At the start there are three problems. The ICC has jurisdiction over allegations of international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. A case must be referred to it either by the UN Security Council, or by a state that has ratified ICC jurisdiction. The first problem that arises is whether the ICC has jurisdiction in the PA complaint because of two legal factors. One is clear, Israel has not ratified and is not a member of ICC.
The other, more controversial, issue is whether "Palestine" can be considered a state and therefore eligible to bring a suit. This is arguable, though Palestine was admitted on October 31, 2011 to UNESCO by vote of 107-14-52 as a member state, became in 2012 a non-member observer state at the UN, and accepted jurisdiction of the ICC in 2014. However, it is doubtful that "Palestine" meets the criteria of the Montevideo (Uruguay) Convention of December 26, 1933 that defines the criteria of "statehood." Essentially, the criteria cover four factors: permanent population, defined territory, government with effective control over a territory, capacity to enter into relations with other states. The absence of these factors in Palestine is palpable. especially as Hamas continues its civil war fight with rival Palestinian faction, Fatah, as recently as April 2018 in the Gaza Strip.
Another problem for the ICC is inability, since it has no police force, to examine and respond coherently to the PA charge that Israel has committed the crime of "apartheid" against the Palestinian people. The State of Israel may justifiably be criticized for certain discrimination and existing inequities, typical in all states, but only a bigot or intolerant detractor of Israel will equate these imperfecions with apartheid, an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another racial group or groups.
The introduction against Israel of the charge of apartheid, absurd though it is, is a shrewd move by the PA, not only because of the obnoxious significance of the concept, but because it has relevance to a crucial international case involving apartheid South Africa.
After World War I, a League of Nations Mandate left the German South-West area of Africa to be administered by South Africa until the territory was ready for independence. South Africa was thus the trustee power accountable to the League of Nations. After World War II and the creation of the United Nations that superseded the League, South Africa did not agree to the area being put under the UN Trusteeship supervision system. Instead, the area became subjected to the rules of the South African apartheid regime, which thus became the virtual de facto ruler. Instead of helping the area prepare for political self determination, South Africa's application of the apartheid system meant virtual annexation.
As a result, the UN Mandate was revoked by the UN General Assembly, UNGA, in October 1966, and in May 1967 the UNGA established a Council to administer the area until independence. The area was named Namibia. The UNGA decision was endorsed in 1969 by the UN Security Council Resolutions 264 and 269. In1970 the UN Security Council Resolution 276 condemned the illegality of South African control of the area, and then sought the advice of the International Court of Justice, ICJ.
In June 1971 the advisory opinion by the ICJ determined that the continued presence of South Africa in Namibia was illegal, and that South Africa was obliged to withdraw its administration from Namibia immediately, and thus end its occupation of the territory. South Africa did not so until Namibia became independent in March 1990 following a war of independence. The ICJ held that the Mandate had been validly terminated by the UN and therefore South Africa's presence in the area was illegal.
Is this ICJ advisory opinion, pertinent to two issues of apartheid and illegality, relevant to the PA charge against Israel? Everyone understands there is a complicated issue of disputed territory in the Israeli-Palestinian area, but the present Palestinian leaders are reluctant to accept or comply with the international agreement, UNSC Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, that the issue of a just and lasting peace must be decided by negotiations.
There is no consensus in international law on the exact meaning of "belligerent occupation," but most analysts agree that principles concerning it involve a number of factors: the occupier will not annex any part of the occupied territory; the rule is on a temporary basis; the occupier governs in compliance with directives of the United Nations and of international law in general.
However, the cases of South Africa and Israel are totally different, politically as well as physically and economically. The country of Namibia has a territory of 318,000 square miles, a population of 2 miillon, a GDP of $27.4 billion, and per capita GDP of $11,800, while Israel has 8,000 square miles, population of 8.5 million, GDP of $334 billion, and GDP per capita $37.600.
Politically, there are at least two major differences. The first is that the apartheid nature of South Africa not only existed but was not accepted by any other state, while Israel, in which apartheid does not exist, is seen by all objective observers as the only democratic country in the Middle East and is supported as such internationally. The other difference is that South Africa refused to negotiate with the Namibian minority, while most Israelis are anxious to reach a negotiated agreement, and the PA created by the Oslo Accords of 1993 has limited self-government in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip over Palestinians.
Instead of negotiations, attacks against have continued. A report based on official data calculates that between 1948 and 2018 Palestinian terrorist attacks killed 3,705 Israelis and injured 14,736. Suicide attacks began in 1989. Because of increasing casualties, Israel in 2003 began building a physical barrier, a "security fence," that Palestinians called a "wall." Their arguments also asserted that the barrier was not simply built for security reasons, but also is intended as a land grab, the future border line.
In October 2003 a UNSC Resolution passed by 14-1 and opposed by the U.S. concluded that construction of a "wall in the Occupied Territories" was illegal. After an emergency special session of the UNGA , ES-10/14, the issue was brought before the ICJ. The advisory opinion of the Court was that the West Bank is occupied territory, and that Israel had ways other than the barrier to defend itself, though it did not mention what they were.
The international bodies held that construction of a barrier in the "Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem," constituted breaches of obligations of humanitarian law and human rights. Their findings are unbalanced in that they refused to condemn the terrorist attacks, still continuing, and suicide bombings, that made the barrier necessary in the first place. They also refused to recognize that the barrier, though it has caused some problems, has been successful in preventing or limiting terrorist attacks.
International tribunals, including the ICJ, dispensing impartial jurisprudence, have an easy task in rejecting charges of "apartheid" against Israel, but a more difficult one in discussing and challenging the charge of legality or illegality of Israel activity and presence in disputed areas. The task is one of balancing the legitimate security interests and the safety of the State of Israel, and the needs and human rights of civilians in an area held under belligerent occupation. Again, as in so many of the issues concerning Israel, the question is that of proportionality, a difficult problem that has to be resolved by reasonableness and good faith. Underlying this is the concept there should be a clear relationship between the goal sought, in this case peace, security, and the right of self-defense for Israel, and the least harmful means employed to do this, and for Palestinians a right to self-determination. The courts should concentrate on how benefits and costs should be balanced, not on absurd issues.
Real issues must be examined by international bodies. The ICC should reject both the absurd PA charge of the commission by Israel of "systematic crimes" or "grave crimes," and also any Palestinian political pressure on the court. Bringing the issue to the ICC is harmful and counterproductive to any peace process. It contradicts the essence of UNSC Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967: every state is entitled to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, free from threats or acts of force.
It is still true, let the punishment fit the crime.
Sikh Awareness Society volunteers also asked to leave Crown Court Leeds
Sikh girls and women suffered abuse by Islamic men for centuries before it came to British working class towns. The Sikh Awareness Society has been working to help abused girls and their families and to raise public awareness since 1998. And most of them are not cowed by fear of racism.
A senior leader, Mr Mohan Singh was with a small team of volunteers at the Crown Court in Leeds on Friday, expecting to observe from the public gallery the return of the jury and delivery of verdicts in a certain case.
More and better pictures from two trusted friends who were in Whitehall this afternoon. Thank you, much appreciated.
They got the waist high barrier gates open so as to reach the high gates. Then, and I know this from a video clip, they shook their fists towards No 10 shouting "Shame, shame! Shame on you". That's pretty damning towards our PM and her government.
There may be a reporting restriction on the events at Crown Court Leeds yesterday but there is no such prohibition on todays demo. And while the BBC was believed to have been present, at time of writing I can find no report in any national or London newspaper. The London Evening Standard now has a report - Hundreds of far-right protesters descend on Whitehall(there's none so blind as those who WILL NOT see) )
I am unable to attend todays demo in London to support Tommy Robinson. However through the live feed and reliable friends who are in attendance I can report that a large and vocal crowd has assembled in Whitehall outside No 10 Downing Street. I'm told that the police seem to be at a loss as to what to do.....
The protesters are now making the protest a sit-in across Whitehall, so as to block the road and stop the buses.
I'll update as the afternoon progresses.
Above left - red London buses, stacked along Whitehall, going nowhere and abandoned by their passengers.
Now speeches above right. Are the BBC here? Come forward BBC, we'd like a chat.
The crowd is responding with wanting not just freedom for Tommy, but justice for the raped girls, and more robust action from the authorities.
Speeches continue with passion.
The police have decided what to do. Move in a large group to push protestors away from the gates and threaten with arrest anybody sitting down refusing to move. There is anticipation of mass arrests
The police are now trying to clear the road so traffic can resume. They are not having much luck! The crowd became agitated at being moved and the organisors formed a line in front of the police as if they were protecting the (not very) thin blue and yellow line. There was a scuffle.
The live feed has either ended or my computer has given up but I have received a telephone call from a friend who was there, and had just left.
He said that when he arrived about 400 people were gathered listening to a speech, and Gerard Batten of UKIP was waiting to speak next.
He witnessed something he has never seen before; that the gates across Downing Street were rattled by protestors, and two people climbed up them, but were persuaded down before they reached the top and before anything untoward happened.
He looked up and another 400-500 men and women were marching from the direction of Parliament Square. They joined the throng and the nucleus of the demo was formed, in numbers sufficient to close Whitehall. More arrived as the afternoon wore on.
His impression of the crowd was similar to my own observed through the live feed. Many respectable looking middle-aged couples and women among the more obvious Football Lads. The police officers deployed among the crowd were of the 'Community Police Officer' type, who were being friendly and conciliatory. However it was known that 'the heavy mob' were sitting just round the corner and could be deployed at a moments notice. This, it was hoped, could be avoided, with co-operation.
I have tidied the pictues and text up since the live feed went off; I hope to have better quality photographs later this evening.
The forces of America's left were no match for Canadian intellect and English wit
Jordan Peterson and Stephen Fry prove a powerful coalition at a Munk debate, overrunning the trenches of the New York and Washington left
by Conrad Black
Stephen Fry arrives for a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Lord Snowdon at Westminster Abbey on April 7, 2017, in London, England.Justin Tallis/WPA Pool/Getty Images
The last Munk Debate, on May 18 in Toronto, was on the complicated question: “What you call political correctness I call progress,” thus inviting disagreement both on the meaning of the term “political correctness,” and on its merits, whatever its meaning is. The participants upholding the view that political correctness was progress were Michael Eric Dyson, an African-American professor of sociology (at Georgetown) and Baptist minister, and Michelle Goldberg, a columnist for The New York Times, the Daily Beast, and Slate. Opposing them were University of Toronto professor of psychology (and successor to the late mayor Rob Ford as the most famous Canadian in the world outside Canada) Jordan Peterson, and English comedian and actor Stephen Fry. It was as much an exercise in cultural anthropology as a debate of the merits of political correctness. Professor Peterson was the only contestant who seriously attempted to address the issue.
Professor Dyson delivered a vehement and rapid harangue. As if to convince doubters (whose existence he seemed to imagine) that there are black Americans who know a lot of long and arcane words and can gabble them out quickly (though in his case not always coherently), he poured forth a torrent of righteous anger against slavery and segregation in the United States, which he apparently felt justified whatever strictures he wished to apply to white society, in the U.S. and elsewhere. Dissenters of other cultures could simply be discounted, and, for good measure, excoriated.
Ms. Goldberg, a fine exemplar of the New York journalistic left, invoked President Trump on four separate occasions. She seemed convinced the mere mention of his presence in the White House made the case that the American left, if it were politically correct in the conventional sense of one’s opinions and conduct, was also literally right in its belligerence, as any level of ferocity could be justified to oppose, and if possible remove, this elected president. She didn’t elaborate on what was so abominable in Trump’s policies or even engage in the usual diatribe against the president’s stylistic foibles, merely invoked his name, as if he were Satan, or at least Hitler. The fact that he was president meant that the politically correct had not been aggressive or watchful enough, and this gave the left carte blanche to be as abrasive and as fierce as it wished in pursuit of whatever policy goals it espoused.
Neither of the Americans showed the slightest recognition that they were addressing foreign opponents before a foreign audience. Those present unfamiliar with American history would be astounded to learn that slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, that segregation was declared and repressed as illegal in 1965, and that the previous U.S. president was African-American, as are many other prominent figures in the public and private sectors of the United States. Ms. Goldberg seemed to think that all she had to do to win the debate was say “Trump.” Presto, the argument was over. (If that were the case, it would at least have spared us her disjointed and irritatingly unintelligible monologues, irrelevant to what was supposedly at issue.)
What followed were vintage exemplars of the intensely concentrated Canadian intellectual, and the urbane and thoughtful English showman and actor. (Disclosure: Jordan Peterson and Stephen Fry are both friendly acquaintances of mine.) Peterson squarely addressed the subject with such precision that Dyson tried, unsuccessfully, to mock his gestures and portray him as a figure of the far right. Peterson explained that he considered the essence of political correctness to be the imposition, regardless or merit and aptitude, of “diversity, inclusiveness,” meaning demographic ethnic and gender balance and “equity,” defined as enforced equality of outcomes, in all cases regardless of merits. He had no difficulty establishing that this is fundamentally unjust and oppressive.
This drove Dyson to, as was said of O.J. Simpson’s trial lawyer (Johnnie Cochran), “play the race card and deal it off the bottom of the deck,” accusing Peterson of being “mad, mean, bad, and white,” which the accused described as “a hell of a thing to say about someone in a debate.” The home audience rallied to him — it was an outrageous allegation and I was proud of the quality of his Canadian intellect and the fair-mindedness of the Canadian audience. Peterson also slapped away racial slurs such as indifference to native people by pointing out that he was brought up in a native area and was an honorary tribe-member, and when tauntingly asked to say where he thought “the extreme right went too far,” he replied: “What about Auschwitz?” Dyson and Goldberg both showed the frequently encountered American obliviousness to the fact that the United Sates and the world are not coextensive and the same thing.
The Peterson-Fry duo proved a powerful coalition of talents. After Peterson’s intellectual infantry overran the trenches of the New York and Washington left, Mr. Fry overflew the battlefield and carpet-bombed the retreating enemy with witty diplomacy. He was, he said, the antithesis of what his opponents were warring against: a man of the moderate left, a man so unwaveringly gay that when he emerged from within his mother “I said to myself I will never enter that sort of passage again,” and a person who has had “mental health issues.” Having made himself unassailable to his opponents, and almost irresistible by his good-natured and very intelligent light touch, he made a plea for decency, civility, the avoidance of name-calling and the collective imputation of discreditable characteristics to total strangers. It was a compelling double-barrelled response, victory in war and victory in peace. The audience was polled on the way in and then again at the end, and the political correctness skeptics won initially and their lead was stretched out somewhat at the end.
Mr. Dyson and Ms. Goldberg are obviously intelligent and articulate people, and most of the goals they espouse are desirable. But they voluntarily demonstrated the limits of righteous inflexibility in a democratic society where almost everything requires some element of compromise. Jordan Peterson demonstrated, without pedantry, his grasp of great societal issues and trends, and Stephen Fry showed what a felicitous combination of fluency, wit, and charm can do to settle roiled waters. The issues were argued as much by personality as by exact examination, and four different cultural branches of the advanced English-speaking world from its three main countries were on display. My late friends of a great many years, George Jonas, who suggested the Munk debates, and Peter Munk, who endowed them, would have been gratified by it.
Caolan Robertson of Rebel Media has just reported from Crown Court Leeds on Twitter.
Tommy Robinson has just been given a 13 month prison sentence starting now for his livestream today. This is a death sentence for tommy. He is going to die in jail. This has to be stopped
Tommy was subject to a suspendend sentence from an earlier matter - this has probably also been invoked, hence the length of sentence, although the maximum sentence that can be imposed for this at the Crown Court is two years. Also 2 years at a Civil court, but at a magistrates court, only 28 days.
Tommy Robinson arrested and in Court this afternoon, after trying to observe the progress of a current grooming trial at Crown Court Leeds.
There has been a trial, or more accurately a series of trials of men and women with Islamic names, accused of grooming, raping and prostituting young girls on-going at the Crown Court Leeds for some months. The case has been so low-key that when some local residents, known to be involved with the local branch of EDL, attended the court building, (which is a public building) hoping to observe and find out progress of the first trial, their arrest had to be reported without mention of the trial they intended to observe.
Some of us have been following progress through public access websites of listing and thus we knew when the defence cases ended, and that the jury retired to consider their verdict yesterday afternoon. By my reckoning this is the second trial of the mass arrests made last year. It followed immediately on from the earlier trial in the same court in April.
This is a public domain, public information, freely accessible list.
Tommy attended the Crown Court premises this morning. He was arrested and taken to the local police station. We now see that he is listed to appear before the trial Judge later this afternoon. He is to be dealt with for contempt of court, an act which can carry a sentence of imprisonment.
Caolin Robertson of Rebel Media was with Tommy and filmed the arrest (I have not yet seen Tommy's live feed) which is now being copied and making its way across you tube.
When Universities Turn a Blind Eye to Anti-Semitism and Trample Free Speech
by Gary Fouse
As a former part-time teacher at the University of California at Irvine, during the 10 or so years I have been involved in issues of anti-semitism on campus, I and other outraged community members have occasionally stated that Jewish donors should cease their contributions to UCI as long as the school turned a blind eye to anti-semitism. (They still do,) Some of us have also suggested that Jewish students might consider institutions of higher learning other than UCI. (Many do.) In addition, I have joined with like-minded colleagues and written or signed onto letters to the chancellor of UCI, the president of the UC system, and the UC Regents about harassment, insults and disruptions of Jewish pro-Israeli events on the UCI campus, as well as other UC campuses. My last letter to UCI was last week.
Yet, as I write this, the problems persist.
In addition, conservative speakers on college campuses across the country, like Ben Shapiro, can always expect to be disrupted by progressive or pro-Palestinian thugs. Remarkably, virtually every university lets the disruptors get away with it. We have just seen it again at UC Irvine, and we have just seen it again at UCLA.
So what is there to do? I offer these suggestions.
1 Bring in the lawyers. If a university refuses to provide a safe environment for its Jewish students and turns a blind eye to the excesses of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine or the Muslim Student Associations, sue the institution on equal protection grounds. This would likely mean that affected students would be the plaintiffs (if willing) in some sort of class action suit.
2 Get to the donors. If Jewish donors to a university are educated about what is going on, I would hope that many would give their money elsewhere. Likewise, if donors care about free speech issues and their favored university is not protecting free speech rights for conservatives they can give their money elsewhere.
3 Don't send your kids to an anti-semitic campus. This is problematic because it's hard to find a university that isn't politically correct, where conservative thought isn't stifled, or where Palestinian supporters don't engage in intimidation.
4 Writing letters is good, but they must be en masse.
One problem we have encountered over the years as to the anti-Jewish issue at UC Irvine, is that there are powerful voices in the Jewish community who oppose any effort to discourage Jewish students from enrolling at UCI. They say that, "Jewish life is alive and well at UCI." They argue that if there are more Jews at UCI, pro-Israel voices will be increased. They will tell you that the administration and Jewish students have done a good job of keeping everything under control-even after the latest pro-Israel event is disrupted (the last three years in May). They have fought back against every effort by some on campus or in the Jewish community to educate the public as to the severity of the problem. They say the students don't want community members getting involved. Do you want me to name names? I will be happy to.
The Orange County Jewish Federation and Family Services
Ben Shapiro, a young, Jewish, conservative pundit who supports Israel, routinely meets resistance and disruption when he is invited to speak on a campus. But here is an encouraging note: The University of Minnesota recently put limits on his speaking appearance sponsored by the Young America's Foundation, a conservative student group. As a result, the "Yellow Gophers" of Minnesota have lost a donor.
In short, it is time to fight back. Many chapters of the College Republicans, Young America's Foundation, Students Supporting Israel, or (Fill in the Blank) for Israel are standing up and in many cases, shaming the respective university. They need our support. The enemies of Israel, of conservatives and free speech are playing dirty. They intimidate and disrupt at every opportunity. If students are willing to stand up for what they believe in, we owe it to them to support them. If the universities will not support them (and they aren't), these institutions must be held accountable.
“You Don’t Have To Shy Away From Asking Sensitive Questions… And Their Food Is Awesome”
by Hugh Fitzgerald
One more study in fatuity, in a recent story from Bill White, a journalist at The Morning Call, a paper in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “Islam and Chili“:
OK, I confess I was trying to intrigue at least a few potential readers with that strange headline.
But it really does reflect what I’m writing about, which is two terrific events Saturday.
They are the Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley’s Spring Open House and the annual Spring on the South Side chili-tasting event in Bethlehem.
I try to put something up here every time the Muslim Association holds one of these events, because it’s such a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of their faith.
From 11-3 Saturday [April 28] at 1988 Schadt Ave., Whitehall, you can learn about Islam, including a Question-Answer session; visit cultural stations; sample Middle Eastern food; take tours of the Islamic Center; and participate in other activities designed to enhance cultural understanding.
As someone who has attended events designed to forge connections between Muslims and Christians, I can tell you that you don’t have to shy away from asking sensitive questions. They’ll be ready and willing to address them. And their food is awesome.
Yes, of course “the food is awesome.” There is hardly a Muslim event put on for the Kuffar — an Open Mosque Day, an Islam Awareness Week, an Ask-A-Muslim Anything booth — that does not have food at its center. Food of various Muslim cuisines, from Moroccan tajines to curries from the subcontinent, to traditional rijstaffel dishes from Indonesia, are all being set out and offered, and they are not only deliciously exotic — all the stops are pulled out for the Infidel visitors — but the varied cuisines silently make the point that “Islam is not a monolith” and that Islam, far from being limited to the Middle East, doth bestride the world like a colossus. Small-talk between hosts and guests at the buffet table: “And did you know that there are 40 million of us in Europe?” “You know, now there are (choose a number from 4 to 7) million Muslims in America.” “Did you know that Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion?” Words to that effect. Outwardly friendly, yet menacing withal. That underhum of “we are here, here to stay, and there are more of us, every day.”
Bill White was certainly impressed. He strongly urges you — perhaps even more strongly than he suggests that you visit the Chili Festival — to visit the Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley’s Open House. You will be able to eat those wonderful foods. You can even take a tour of the Islamic Center — “and here is the mihrab, which is the niche in the wall of a mosque, at the point nearest to Mecca, toward which we Muslims face to pray.” If you are lucky, you may even see Muslims saying one of their five daily prayers — “yes, we pray from before sunrise to after sunset, bowing down, prostrate toward Mecca, then rising up, then bowing down again, over and over, as we chant our prayers. Just look at those men– you can see the depth of their devotion.” My, how impressive is that sight of serried ranks of the devout turned Mecca-wards, up and down, up and down. “What they are saying? These are prayers, so I suppose it must be something about peace or love or hope or charity, that’s what all religions are about, aren’t they?” “Yes, that’s exactly what they are talking about. Peace. Tolerance. Love for one another. The very word ‘Islam,’ you know, means ‘peace.’’’ “No, I didn’t know that. But I”m not surprised. It’s so peaceful here, in this place of prayer. I only wish some of the islamophobes in town could see what I am now seeing.”
Bill White says the Open House at the Muslim Association is the perfect place “where you can learn about Islam, including a Question-Answer session; visit cultural stations; sample Middle Eastern food; take tours of the Islamic Center; and participate in other activities designed to enhance cultural understanding.”
So you’ve visited those “cultural stations” where, so often, free hijabs are given out, to the female visitors, and to men, too, if they ask, for their wives, sisters, daughters, girlfriends at home. And what’s more, you are taught how to tie them correctly. “Go ahead, put it on, now you’ve tied it perfectly,” and with that encouragement, you can imagine the girls and women who will want to wear those hijabs. What fun! It’s playing at make-believe — “I could be in Cairo! I could be in Baghdad!” — and what the wearer does not know is that the hijab that she is putting on so eagerly is in many Muslim countries forced on women and girls, which is why this spring in Iran, women tore off their hijabs in a public demonstration of defiance of the mullahs. You might also be given a demonstration, and women visitors a free application, of henna tattoos right on the back of their hands. “How beautiful!” It has nothing to do with Islam, of course, but no one will think to ask about that.
So you’ve had the tour of the Islamic Center, seen the prayer room and, if you are lucky, may have seen Muslims at prayer, an inspiring sight as long as you don’t know what they are saying, you have not just “sampled” but consumed large amounts of food, and “participated in other activities designed to enhance cultural understanding,” aside from the henna and hijabs, samples of Qur’anic calligraphy, perhaps a video of village women weaving oriental rugs, or dervishes whirling, or a man playing on an oud. All part of enhancing “cultural understanding.”
There might be a short talk on the Five Pillars, always a crowd pleaser: Shahada (the Profession of Faith), Salat (the Five Daily Prayers), Zakat (the obligatory charitable giving), Ramadan (the month of daytime fasting), and Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca which all Muslims who can afford it should make at least once in their lifetime). No, you don’t have to write it all down. Your hosts have thoughtfully prepared a pamphlet describing the Five Pillars. “Yes, it’s part of the material we have prepared for all our visitors. Please help yourself to as many as you want, we’re delighted you want to help us inform others.” Nothing in that pamphlet will explain that Zakat is meant only for fellow Muslims, or those who are on their way to converting to Islam. Nothing, either, about the contents of one part of the five daily prayers, that is, the last two verses of the Fatihah, the first sura, which are said 17 times a day and in which the Christians and Jews are cursed.
But then comes what is going to be the most important part of the visit: the Question-and-Answer. Ask Away! says Bill White: “As someone who has attended events designed to forge connections between Muslims and Christians, I can tell you that you don’t have to shy away from asking sensitive questions. They’ll be ready and willing to address them.”
So what do you think you should ask about? What “sensitive questions” will Muslims “be ready and willing to address”? How about these?:
1. While it is true that the Qur’an says “there is no compulsion in religion,” isn’t it true that those who leave Islam may be killed? Doesn’t Muhammed say that “he who leaves his [Islamic] religion, kill him?” And isn’t it true that even today, apostates have been killed in several Muslim countries, not always by the government, but by private individuals enforcing the Sharia?
2. Why is it that under the Sharia daughters inherit half that of men? And why is the testimony of a woman worth half that of a man? What did Muhammad mean when he said that women’s testimony was worth half that of a man because of “a deficiency in their intelligence”?
3. In a famous hadith, Muhammad says “I have been made victorious through terror.” What do you think he meant by that?
4. Muhammad was 54 when he consummated his marriage to nine-year-old Aisha. Muhammad is regarded in Islam as the “Model of Conduct” and the “Perfect Man.” Does that include his betrothal to Aisha when she was six, and the consummation of the marriage when she was nine? Is that the reason that when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, he reduced the marriageable age of girls to nine years?
5. Why do you think there have been so many monarchies, and despotisms, in Muslim lands? And why so few democracies? Is there something in the political theory of Islam that makes Muslims regard democracies with distrust?
6. What is taqiyya? Why did Muhammad say that “war is deceit”?
7. What was Muhammad’s reaction when he heard of the murders, by three different followers, of Asma bint Marwan, Abu ‘Afak, and Ka’b bin al-Ashraf?
8. Why does Qur’an (5:51) command Muslims not to take Christians and Jews as friends, “for they are friends only with each other”?
9. What is the meaning of “Jihad”? Of “jizyah”? Of “dhimmi”?
10. Why was slavery abolished as late as 1962 in Saudi Arabia and Oman? As late as 1981 in Mauritania? Why in recent years have there been black slaves of Muslim Arabs in the northern Sudan? Why are there still a large number of black slaves and Arab masters in Mali? And in Mauritania, SOS Slavery says that there are up to 600,000 slaves. These are all Muslim countries. Has slavery been regarded as legitimate because Muhammad himself owned slaves?
11. Why can a Muslim man have up to four wives? Why can he divorce a wife simply by repeating the word “talaq” three times? Why is it so much more difficult for a Muslim wife to obtain a divorce than for a husband? Qur’an 4:34 allows a Muslim husband to “beat” a disobedient wife. Some interpret that to mean “beat (lightly).” How do you interpret that verse?
12. Muslims who conquered non-Muslims gave them a choice: to convert to Islam, to be killed, or to live permanently as dhimmis, subject to a host of onerous conditions, of which the best known is the required payment of the Jizyah, a capitation tax which, if other conditions were met, would allow a Christian or Jew to continue to practice his or her own religion. Do you think the dhimmi status was a fair one? Why did Muslim states stop the practice?
13. Do you agree that all people deserve the right to choose their own religion without being subject to any punishment? Shouldn’t Muslims have the same rights as Christians and Jews to leave their original faith for another one, or for none at all? Shouldn’t the choice of a faith be an entirely personal matter?
This is a Baker’s Dozen of questions, each consisting of several parts, the kind of “sensitive questions” that Bill White says Muslims are eager to answer. Did some of them turn out to be just a little too “sensitive,” so that you were not given a straight answer, or perhaps any answer at all? Let Bill White at The Morning Call know how your questions were answered — or not answered — by your Muslim interlocutors. He might find your report enlightening.
Two-State delusion divides American and Israeli Jews
Perhaps Diaspora Jews are alienating Israelis and not vice-versa.
by Matthew M. Hausman
Ronald Lauder’s recent New York Times editorial, “Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds,” exposed a growing rift between American and Israeli Jews over the elusive two-state solution, which has been further exacerbated by the violence currently roiling Gaza. Israelis from across the spectrum seem to recognize it as a chimera without historical foundation, whereas secular and progressive Jews in North America increasingly view it as doctrine to be imposed on others 5,700 miles away, regardless of the consequences.
Two-state advocates often demand that Israel make concessions despite the anti-Semitic rejectionism which permeates Palestinian society. But if forced on Israel, their solution would leave her with enemy sovereigns at her doorstep – as has been graphically demonstrated by the Gaza situation.
Americans who believe that most Palestinian Arabs accept the concept of “two states for two peoples” seem undeterred by surveys showing precisely the opposite or by the PA and Hamas Charters – though both deny Israel’s right to exist and one calls for genocide. Foregoing critical analysis, many accept the dubious Palestinian narrative while overlooking anti-Israel rhetoric that is revisionist on its face and anti-Semitic at its core. Whereas many proclaim they are saving Israel from herself, their seeming tolerance of Palestinian revisionism would suggest otherwise.
Though generally assumed to be liberal policy, the two-state paradigm is increasingly accepted by self-identified conservatives (e.g., Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress) who are secular and/or affiliated with the non-Orthodox movements.
Unfortunately, the paradigm is compromised by conflicting narratives that are irreconcilable. It presumes the authenticity of Palestinian national claims that lack provenance, but which Palestinians legitimize by denigrating the Jews’ ancient connection to and continuous presence in their homeland. While Israel could agree to any resolutional framework for political reasons with an entity that accepts her existence, she cannot validate a myth that repudiates Jewish history and sovereignty...
A suspected Islamic State supporter encouraged lone wolf attackers to target Prince George at his school and to poison ice creams, a court has heard.
Husnain Rashid posted a photo online of the four-year-old prince with the address of his Battersea school, a silhouette of a jihadist fighter and the message "even the Royal Family will not be left alone", a jury at Woolwich Crown Court heard.
The 32-year-old, who taught at the Muhammadi mosque, denies three counts of preparing terrorist acts, one count of encouraging terrorism, two of disseminating a terrorist publication and one of failing to comply with a notice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
On the first day of his trial, jurors heard that the accused, from Nelson in Lancashire, provided an "e-toolkit for terrorism" in a "prolific" online Telegram channel he ran called the Lone Mujahid.
Prosecutor Annabel Darlow said: "His proposals were indiscriminate and made no distinction between adult and child, between members of fighting forces and civilians. His suggestions included injecting poison into supermarket ice creams and targeting Prince George at his first school." He is also accused of posting a photoraph of the Burmese ambassador to the UK which said: "You know what to do."
Police arrested Rashid in April after finding his online channels.
It's still the same old story, a fight for semantic glory. This time the fight is to define "proportionate." More familiar is the buzzword "disproportionate," frequently and automatically uttered in meetings of United Nations bodies and by the majority of the "international community" when referring to the actions of the State of Israel and its citizens. Once again in recent weeks the UN Security Council in this fashion condemned the killing by Israeli forces of civilians during protests at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018 and April 6-20, 2018, that had erupted in violence.
On May 15, 2018 the proposal in the UNSC condemned the "excessive use of force against unarmed civilians" after Israeli forces had clashed with Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip. The protestors, trying to breach the Israeli fence on the dividing line betweeen the Gaza Strip and Israel, burned tires, used fire bombs and stones. Israeli forces responding to the provocation killed 62 and injured more than a thousand. No Israelis were killed. International criticism focused on Israel's "disproportionate use of military force."
All democratic nations and some of the moderate Arab nations accept the reality that Israel, like every other state, has a right to defend its borders. Even the UN Security Council knowledges this, even if begrudgingly, but always limits it to a more "proportionate resonse." The international pronouncement is always for Israel to refrain from "excessive use of force," to respect the principle of proportionality in its use of force when defending its security interests. The mild admonition to Palestinians, especially to Hamas, is "avoid provocation."
The missing factor is that the "principle of proportionality" is never defined. Does it mean that the same number of Israelis and Palestinians must be killed to ensure equality? The essential reality is that there is no cycle of violence in the Gaza Strip or anywhere in the area in relations between Israel and Palestinians. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one in which for 70 years Israel has defended itself against threats to its existence or against challenges to its sovereignty as the Hamas organized protests showed in March and April 2018.
A continuing part of that threat has come from inhabitants in the Gaza Strip where two million live in an area of 141 square miles, one of the most densely populated places in the world, where 65% are in poverty 44% are unemployed, and most young people don't work. Hamas may, in part, be concerned to alleviate those poor conditions, but its main objectives are to continue the struggle against Israel, by terror, explosives, tunnels, rockets, and destroying the border fence, and also to seize leadership of the whole Palestinian movement from its rival Fatah and its leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The Gaza Strip has alway been a troubled area. Hamas has added to the problem by its corruption and incompetence, and rivalry with Fatah. In its three wars against Israel it has been guilty of war crimes by using civilian facilities, schools, hospitals, and mosques, for military purposes, firing rockets on Israeli territory, and building tunnels to infilitrate into Israel. Its rivalry with Fatah and the PLO has led Abbas to impose sanctions, and to cut supplies of medicine and payment for Gaza's electricity.
Disagreements exist on the nature of a boycott or controls by Israel of Gaza, but Israel now allows a number of Gazans to enter the country to work, as well as allowing 800 trucks of supplies to enter every day. By contrast, Hamas has not only not renounced violence, but also has refused to allow Israeli trucks with medical supplies from entering its space.
Four things were left unsaid by many in the "international community" concerned with Gaza. The first is the refusal of Hamas to abide by international agreements. The Peace Treaty of March 26, 1979 between Israel and Egypt agreed on the recognized international boundaries between the two countries, "without prejuduce to the issue of the status of the Gaza Strip." The Oslo Accords II, signed first at Teba on September 24, 1995, and then again on September 28, 2018 in Washington, D.C. by Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. aimed to set up a "Palestinian interim self-government authority" for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hamas still struggles with Fatah over control of that self government authority,
A second fact is that at least 50, of the 62 Palestinians killed were not "civilians," but were members of Hamas, and another three belonged to Islamic Jihad, all terrorists who were instructed to bring a knife, dagger, or gun to the anti-Israeli demonstrations. Although Israel in 2005 withdrew all civilian settlements and all its military forces from the Gaza Strip, violence, especially after the emergence of Hamas, continued. To contain this, Israel built fences, physical barriers, one inside Gaza and the other along the Israeli line. For security reasons, Israel controls air and sea approches, and imposed a blockade, by sea as well as by land.
The third issue is that the protests that began in March 2018 were supposedly based on the March of Return, the right for Palestinian refugees to return to the homes and villages which they left , or in Palestinian language were "forcibly expelled by Zionist militias" in 1948. About this reasons for this departure, there will always be dispute, but the key meaningful present issue is that at most 30,000 of the original estimated 700,000 who left their homes in 1948, as result of the invasion by five Arab armies immediately Israel was created, are still alive. It is doubtful that international law would recognize grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who left as genuine refugees.
Above all, and the fourth issue, the real purpose of the March has been made amply clear in the past and now by recent statements of Hamas leaders, Yahya Sinwar, now political leader of Hamas, founder and leader of the terrorist Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza, and Ismail Haniyeh, former political head, and since May 2017 in charge of the Hamas political bureau since May 2017. The contribution of Sinwar, on the U.S. terrorist list since 2015, is that Hamas does not discuss recognizing Israel, it discussses wiping it out. "We will take down the border, and tear the hearts from their bodies."
Haniyeh is no Mother Theresa, He calls for ending the Oslo Accords, for the Intifada to bring about a general "confrontation" with the "occupation" and for there to be no abandonment of Al-Quds, the mosque on the Temple Mount. The blessed Intifada will continue until the "holy city" is liberated, which implies the elimination of Israel. Not surprisingly he was named by the U.S. State Department as "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" on January 31, 2018.
The troublesome Gaza issue been aggravated and made disproportionate, instead of helped, by international organizations, particularly the UN Human Rights Council , UNHRC. In March 2016 Michael Lynk, Canadian professor of law, was appointed by it to be special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestinan territories, a position held earlier by Richard Falk whose reports were criticised as biased and disproportionate with its focus on Isrsael. The disproportion continues with Professor Lynk who cannot be regarded as a neutral political figure. In 1989 he worked in Palestinian refugee camps. On September 14, 2001 he blamed "global inequalities" for 9/1. He also blamed it on Western disregard for the international rule of law, but later disavowed this by saying his views were misrepresented.
Lynk in 2013 called for Israel to be brought before the International Court of Justice. He sees the Israeli "occupation" as a legal oxymoron, an unlawful occupation without end. On current events he said that the "blatant excessive use of force by Israel against Gaza, an eye for an eyelash," must end. In a statement on October 26, 2017, he indicated that increased pressure on Israel would lead to a sea change in the attitude of Israeli citizens, and the Israeli government.
Lynk's advice is unsound and counterproductive. He should be calling on Hamas to end its objective of destroying Israel, and as a start to stop displaying flags with swastikas at its demonstrations. He should define and clarify "proportionate response" by Israel when confronted by terrorist attacks on its border.
Perhaps little can be done about the increasing misery of the Gazan population because of Hamas incompetence, corruption, and oppressive rule. The international community should call on Arab countries, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, to persuade Hamas and other militant Palestinans to renounce violence, give up the idea of armed stuggle to destroy Israel, and come to the negotiating table. The world will always welcome efforts of this kind as time goes by.
A teenage girl accused of plotting an attack on the British Museum in London said she was drawn to Syria after facing discrimination in the UK, a court has heard. Giving evidence to the Old Bailey, Safaa Boular, 18, said people called her names like "ninja, umbrella and postbox" because of her Islamic dress.
Ms Boular, from Vauxhall in south-west London, is accused of two counts of preparing acts of terrorism. She denies both charges. . . Ms Boular's defence lawyer, Joel Bennathan QC, says the teenager, who was then aged 17, was "groomed" by her fiancé, Naweed Hussain, and her family encouraged it.
(She) said her Islamic State lover encouraged her to launch an attack in the UK three times. The court heard how Safaa Boular was 16 when she met Hussain and went on to have what she regarded as an online Islamic marriage in 2016.
When she was stopped by police from joining him, Hussain urged her to drop out of school and do an attack in the UK instead, the Old Bailey heard.
Boular told jurors: “Around November (2016) he proposed to me about an attack at Christmas. He asked me if I was scared of being in an attack and I told him yes I am. Then he went back to the same usual lovey-dovey topics.”
Asked how he reacted when Boular rebuffed the idea, she said: “He did not mind. I just went back to the same conversation we had before, romantic, sweet. . . He told me if he died first I would not be able to cope with the news of his death so it would be better if I died first. But when I told him I was scared he just dropped the topic.”
He raised the prospect again in early 2017, she said: “He suggested I could do something on Valentine’s Day. Again I refused. I assumed it was the usual stuff he talked about before, like car or knife attacks.”
The 18-year-old chatted to Hussain via encrypted Telegram messages on a secret mobile phone she bought at Brixton Market. She would communicate with him in her school sixth form lounge and at home in her bedroom and bathroom, she said.
She said: “Naweed asked me to send pictures of my body which I did. Initially I did not want to because I am a shy person but as my husband I did not think there was any problem being intimate with him.” Hussain also sent her explicit photographs of himself and told Boular to watch “X-rated material”, the court heard.
This is what she was all lovey-dovey over. Not what I would imagine for a teenage girl, even a strictly reared sheltered Muslima who doesn't meet many real boys. Surely the actors from Bollywood set a higher standard for the romantic dream? But, for every pot there is a lid.
Actually, you can tell he was a foolish ole romantic - he has a pillion seat for her on his bike. Not many machines do these days.
Boular told jurors that after Hussain died in a drone strike, it was an emotional time but she had coped. She denied talking to her sister about her attack plans under the guise of a party, while she was in custody at Medway Secure Training Centre.