With this month's resignation of Italian Prime Minster Giuseppe Conte, and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's calls for a new election, things looked promising in Italy. Salvini, who has become a folk hero in Italy (except on the left), and his Lega party, seemed to be poised to take power in Italy after winning so many regional elections. Salvini's popularity is principally due to his steadfastness in trying to close Italian ports to NGO ships loaded with African and Middle Eastern migrants crossing the Mediterranean. That had brought him the enmity of the EU and European leaders like Angela Merkel of Germany and Emmanuel Macron of France, all of whom want open borders no matter the cost in crimes. terrorism, lives lost, rapes, social breakdown, and everything else that goes with uncontrolled immigration-especially from mostly Muslim lands.
Conte, for his part, was caught on camera chatting it up with Merkel at an economic meeting in Davos, Switzerland this year, telling her how he wanted to cooperate with Germany and the EU in the immigrant matter, but that Salvini was gumming up the works.
So with Italy ready to turn out for Salvini and the Lega in (predicted) large numbers, the tricksters in the Italian Parliament pulled a fast one, something we in America would call a "smoke-filled room." The Cinque Stelle party (Five Stars) and the Partido Democratico joined together this week to form a coalition and voila! They now were in a position to take over the government. Salvini was out as interior minister, and now it is to Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, to call on a new prime minister (probably Conte!) to form a new government. Salvini and his allies in the Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) party have asked Mattarella to call for new elections.
Salvini, as well as Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Fratelli d'Italia held press conferences this week to denounce the cabal. Salvini asked why should Italians bother to vote when the politicians they regularly vote out just "crawl back in through the window."
Unless Mattarella does the right thing, it appears that Italy is headed back into the arms of the EU, France and Germany. Heretofore, the country had stood in solidarity with the Eastern European members of the EU in rejecting mass migration. Now Salvini's security decrees, designed to stop NGO ships from landing migrants in Italian ports, will likely be rescinded. Italy will continue to be swamped with so-called refugees, who are, in reality, mostly young African male fortune-seekers. Already, the country is having to deal with a particularly vicious Nigerian mafia, which not only deals drugs on Italian streets, but trafficks in body parts for organ transplants as well. The country has been reeling since last year over the murder of a young girl named Pamela Mastropietro, who was raped, murdered, and cut into pieces by a Nigerian immigrant. Mastropietro's uncle this week promised to go to Parliament and lay out the horrific photos of his niece's body if the politicos rescind the security decrees.
The events this week in Italy are disheartening, especially for those millions of Italians who thought their votes counted and who care about their national sovereignty. They deserve better than be delivered back into the arms of the EU and the likes of Merkel and Macron.
A TEENAGER is dead and another nine people are injured after two knifemen went on a bloodthirsty rampage today near Lyon, it has been reported.
An Afghan immigrant has been arrested after the horrific attack at 4.30pm local time at a train station car park in Villeurbanne, eastern France, local media reports.
Investigators are reportedly hunting a suspected second attacker believed to be in possession of a metal spike used to roast meat.
Pictures from the scene at the Laurent Bonnevay metro station show one man, who appears to be holding a weapon, being detained while stunned onlookers watch on.
A law enforcement source said the men targeted a 19-year-old man who died at the scene. They said: "Two men were involved in the attack at around 4.30pm. One carried a kitchen knife and the other a kitchen spit. They targeted a 19-year-old man, who died at the scene, while nine others were also hurt, three very seriously."
The source said one victim was in intensive care in a nearby hospital while adding that the man who has been arrested is a 33-year-old born in Afghanistan. He is also said to have given "at least three reasons" why he carried out the deadly attack - but has not mentioned any terrorist organisation.
Video footage from the scene appears to show pedestrians attempting to talk to the man, who threw his weapons to the ground before being apprehended. . . The second assailant, who fled the scene, is believed to be in possession of a rotisserie spike.
Officers are currently unsure of the motive behind the incident, however the scope of the charges currently being considered are murder and attempted murder, according to the ministry of the interior. The teenage victim was a local man who was trying to catch a bus to the Woodstower Musical Festival, near Lyon.
A statement on the Police Nationale 69's twitter account urged residents not to disturb rescue operations, and to limit the spread of false information following the "stabbing attack".
The Europeans now know they need to take Boris Johnson seriously
Johnson has thrown away the scabbard, and Brussels and, more relevantly, Paris and Berlin, can be in no doubt that the chicken game is over
by Conrad Black
No one in this country should underestimate the significance, for Canada and the world, of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ingenious measure for assuring the end of the crisis of immobilized government that has possessed the United Kingdom in the past three years. In 2016, 52 per cent of a heavy turnout of British voters chose to leave the European Union. The minority voted to remain — there was no option on the ballot for a compromise. The stark choice was selected by former prime minister David Cameron, because he was convinced that there was no chance that Britain, whatever its level of grumbling, would choose to “crash out” of the association with Europe in which the political elites were comfortable.
The British are the wrong electorate to bluff with such an artificially polar choice. The European Union has had the habit of simply ignoring negative votes in member countries and of waiting for the national governments to frighten their populations into reconsidering their rash decisions. This was what happened with the French, the Danes, and the Irish, and on the second try, the Unionists won. But those votes were not on such fundamental issues, and the negative votes were against the wishes of the incumbent governing parties, and no other European country has such an extensive history in worldwide activities or is as geographically insular as Britain.
Cameron and his chancellor, George Osborne, had promised “full-on treaty change,” but gained no significant concessions, baldly presented the triflingly altered status quo as entirely satisfactory and paid the price for their complacency and dissembling. Theresa May followed and claimed to be a leaver, though she had generally been thought a remainer. I assumed that she could be taken at her word and having failed to get concessions that the U.K. Parliament would accept, would run out the clock and leave without a replacement arrangement. I was mistaken; it is now clear that she had never considered doing what the voters had chosen, signalled to Brussels that Britain had to have a deal, and Brussels exploited her confessed lack of a real bargaining position. The majority of Parliament and of the Conservative MPs wished to remain, and Mrs. May, having tried and failed to strengthen her position with a needless election, got an offer from Brussels that if Cameron had taken the trouble to negotiate seriously and achieved as much, would have been approved in the referendum.
But in the escalated tensions after the referendum, neither the leavers nor the remainers much wanted to compromise. The majority in the country and among Conservative supporters wished to leave and the parliamentary majority, including most Conservative members of Parliament, wished to remain. Mrs. May had little support after three years, had shot her election bolt already, and Boris Johnson, who was her chief rival after the resignation of Cameron but folded in exchange for the Foreign Office, was the logical successor.
The Johnson move will either force a two-tier Europe: a common market for all but political integration only for those who want it, or it will advance some sort of quasi-Anglospheric cooperation, led by the United States
He has been as deft as Mrs. May was inept. He said that he would try to negotiate an acceptable (by Parliament) arrangement with Brussels, but left no doubt that without it, Britain would leave with no deal. He assured Parliament that no European in Britain under existing arrangements need fear for their right to stay in Britain. The bogus Irish border question that Brussels had raised to be obstreperous, with the connivance of the Irish government, he dismissed, saying that Ireland’s approach to immigration was identical to that of the U.K. and that as he had no intention of imposing tariffs on the European Union, there was no need for the hard border between Northern and southern Ireland that had become a very vexed issue.
Parliament recessed in late July to return Sept. 3. It was assumed that the government would try to hold through September and October, with the remainers relying on Johnson’s ability to use the threat to leave without any agreement to push Brussels into more concessions, and the leavers tenuously believing that Johnson could be taken at his word to leave if he did not achieve serious concessions. This kept the political scene relatively quiet through high summer.
On Wednesday, Johnson sprang his great surprise: he obtained from Her Majesty the Queen, in the most extraordinary constitutional development in her 67 years on the throne (the longest reign in British history going back to William the Conqueror in 1066), the prorogation of Parliament until mid-October, when the government will present a comprehensive program of reform. If there is a no-confidence vote then, or even a vote to require a request for yet another extension from Brussels, Johnson will return to the country, presumably in alliance with Nigel Farage’s pioneering Brexit Party, and will likely be re-elected, but it will be too late to stop the departure of Britain from Europe.
All sides want this intractable issue resolved. The howls of indignation elicited by prorogation from the last-ditch remainers, who have never acknowledged either the sanity or the legitimacy of the vote to leave, have rattled the windows of Westminster. But Johnson has thrown away the scabbard, and Brussels and, more relevantly, Paris and Berlin can be in no doubt that the chicken game is over: they can make serious concessions to the U.K. or suffer the defection of Europe’s second economy and its most prestigious nationality, a schism as great as if the province of Quebec separated from Canada or as great a loss as Texas would be to the United States. If they do not produce such a concession, they will not only lose Britain, but the British will almost certainly place greater emphasis on the original Commonwealth countries, the old Dominions, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as Singapore and to some extent India and South Africa, and more particularly, on a closer association with the United States.
The drive to make a single political entity out of the ancient European nations was always, in any foreseeable horizon, a very fragile and questionable enterprise
The European Union was always partially an anti-American organization and was to some degree based on the romantic fantasy that after the Russian threat collapsed, (thanks to the alliance leadership of the United States), the Western and Central European countries could stand on each other’s shoulders and regain together the geopolitical preeminence that they enjoyed up to the start of the First World War in 1914. The Johnson move will either force a two-tier Europe: a common market for all but political integration only for those who want it, or it will advance some sort of quasi-Anglospheric co-operation, led by the United States, but not subordinating other countries to it. The United States will not concede any sovereignty to anyone, and will not demand any from other countries, as has been demonstrated in the Canada-U.S. free trade regime.
The British leave vote was not primarily reactionary or xenophobic. The European Union in Brussels is meddlesome and authoritarian and is not accountable either to the principal component national governments (France, Germany, Italy, the U.K.) nor to the talking shop of the European Parliament. The United Kingdom is the only one of the major European countries that has the same political institutions that it had at the end of the Second World War, and in fact they have been substantially the same at least since the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1687. The British were always wary of subordinating the institutions that have served them so well for so long, as well as their relations with the senior Commonwealth and the United States, to rather authoritarian and bureaucratized government from Brussels.
The amity and free exchange of people and goods between the ancient European nations is entirely positive and enjoys almost universal support. But the drive to make a single political entity out of them was always, in any foreseeable horizon, a very fragile and questionable enterprise. The European Union today is not really a democracy, and that is Britain’s chief problem with it.
Presidential Candidates and the Sacred Cow of ‘Occupation’
by Eric Rozenman
Even before blasting Israel’s decision to bar Democratic US Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib — supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement — Democratic presidential candidates had tripped over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts all exposed either ignorance or bias.
On the campaign trail earlier this summer, all three were baited about “the occupation” by professional staffers of IfNotNow. IfNotNow is a decidedly anti-Israel group, which boasts its Jewish bona fides when convenient.
Asked if he would, as president, “pressure Israel to end the occupation,” Biden reportedly responded, “Do you know anything about my record? Then you know I have.”
As vice president, Biden — like his boss, President Barack Obama — imagined that Israeli hesitation to repeat in the West Bank the deadly fiasco of its 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip prevented peace. Somehow, Palestinian rejectionism, incitement, and terrorism were not the 800-pound gorillas that destroyed diplomacy.
In addition to his remarks about the “occupation,” Biden also said that Jewish communities in the West Bank were “unnecessary” and “the only answer is a two-state solution … and the Palestinians have to step up, too, and be prepared to stop the hate.”
But Biden should learn from history.
In agreeing to the 1993 Oslo “peace process,” the Palestinian side promised to “step up,” end anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish incitement, stop terrorism, and resolve all outstanding issues through negotiations. It never happened.
Furthermore, when offered an end to occupation via the “two-state solution” and peaceful coexistence in 2000, 2001, and 2008, Yasser Arafat and his successors took a hike. Instead of negotiating, Arafat launched the Second Intifada, a terror war in which 1,100 Israelis and foreign visitors were murdered.
Mr. Vice President, they rejected your efforts to restart talks in 2014, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s bid to do likewise in 2016. Have you forgotten?
And what about the so-called “Occupation”?
As a result of Oslo, more than 90 percent of West Bank and Gaza Arabs live under the daily administration of either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. The former is notoriously corrupt, and the latter a US-designated terrorist organization. Maybe the real problem is occupation of Palestinian Arabs by other Palestinian Arabs.
In any case, Israeli settlements comprise no more than five percent of the West Bank. The West Bank is disputed territory, whose status is to be decided by negotiations, according to agreements that the Palestinian leadership signed. Remember, Mr. Vice President?
Questioned by IfNotNow whether she would “push the Israeli government to end the occupation,” Warren said, “Yes, yes.” Of course she would. Her campaign hired Max Berger, an IfNotNow co-founder. The Progressive Zionists of California labeled Berger an “enemy of Israel” and called, unsuccessfully, for his firing.
Buttigieg declared “the occupation must end.” He added, “You can care about Israel’s future and believe in the US relationship and alliance with Israel without being on board with right-wing policies by the Netanyahu government.”
What “right-wing policies”? Allowing tons of humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip daily, while its Hamas leaders dig terror tunnels into Israel and permit the firing of rockets at Israelis? Admitting thousands of Palestinian Arabs to Israeli hospitals? Supplying water to Gaza and the West Bank in quantities far beyond those called for by Israeli-Palestinian agreements?
Some Israelis have objected to efforts by Netanyahu’s center-right Likud Party to enlist support from smaller parties that could be more accurately termed right-wing. But in terms of dealing with rejectionist Palestinian leadership, most Israeli voters see Netanyahu as less “wing” than realistic. That’s a key reason why he’s Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.
Despite their claims of an “occupation,” one occupation that does need to end is that of Democratic candidates’ minds when it comes to Palestinian propaganda and understanding the Palestinian conflict against Israel.
There are many aspects of Rashida Tlaib’s on/off/on again/off again visit to Israel/Palestine that are worth examining. Let’s take them in turn.
First, there is the propaganda value of the whole absurd affair – what some are calling, the matter of optics. How do things look? No one quite knows who has come out ahead. Many supporters of Israel think Israel looks bad for cancelling the trip initially, especially as Netanyahu is being depicted as “weak” for acceding to Trump’s request.
Others think that whatever advantage the anti-Israel forces gained by Israel’s flip-flop, they then lost when, after Israel announced that, as a “humanitarian gesture,” Tlaib could come “to visit her 90-year-old grandmother” as long as she committed herself to not promoting, while in Israel, the BDS Movement. Tlaib at first agreed, but a few hours later, when “Palestinians” expressed their outrage at this agreement, she suddenly cancelled. Apparently that visit to her grandmother, “possibly the last time I will see her” (said Tlaib), turned out to be less important than in hewing to the anti-Israel script.
Optics, optics – who looks good, who looks bad, who made the right and who the wrong decision? Hard to tell, isn’t it? Some days you think Israel should have welcomed them with open arms, feigning friendship – taqiyya isn’t just for Muslims — with Israelis eager to please and ready to show their country to the clearly unsympathetic visitors, making it harder for Tlaib and Omar to paint them as cruel oppressors, determined to keep them from reporting on Israeli reality. And on other days, you think Israel did exactly the right think to keep them out, (save for that conditional “humanitarian gesture” made to Rashida Tlaib, which she turned down).
Second, we should learn a little more about those behind the Congresswomens’ intended visit. This was Miftah, an anti-Israel group that sponsored the Omar-Tlaib trip and planned their entire itinerary. Miftah is a Palestinian NGO headed by that longstanding PLO propagandist and Arafat henchman, Hanan Ashrawi. It has done far more than support the BDS movement. On its website, Miftah has praised Palestinian suicide bombers and published antisemitic material.
A report posted on Miftah’s site in 2006 praised Palestinian women who took part in the second intifada. In particular, Miftah praised Wafa Idris, who in a suicide bombing killed one Israeli and wounded 150 others. The report said that Idris, the first female suicide bomber of the second intifada, “marked the beginning of a string of Palestinian women dedicated to sacrificing their lives for the cause.”
After President Obama held a Passover Seder at the White House in 2013, Miftah staffer Nawaf Al Zaru published the following:
“Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’?! Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals?! Much of the chatter and gossip about historical Jewish blood rituals in Europe are real and not fake as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”
This is the Blood Libel from the Middle Ages, that over the centuries prompted many a pogrom. And Miftah was happy to post it. When that Arabic-language post was then discovered by a horrified blogger, Miftah at first defended the article and attacked the blogger who had noticed it, but eventually, when too many outsiders became aware of the original article, Miftah decided to apologize and claimed it had disciplined Al Zaru. Since Al Zaru remained on the staff of Miftah, it’s unclear what kind of “discipline” he endured. Al Zaru himself made no apology. Possibly he was told something like this: “Please don’t do this , because even if you write in Arabic, too many Zionists will find and report on it. Yes, we know the story about the blood for matzahs is true, but we still have to consider the situation. The Zionists have managed to convince everybody that such a story is ‘antisemitic.’ So for now, leave that story alone.”
Third, what do we know about Rashida Tlaib and her family? She’s a vocal supporter of BDS. But is there more to her anti-Israel views than that? Both her mother and her husband (Tlaib is now divorced) come from the village of Beita, a West Bank hotbed for extreme violence, including terrorism, against the Israelis. Her husband and her siblings are a window into her other views. Her sister Layla, for example, has been on the FBI’s No-Fly List for the past seven years. We don’t know what she did to deserve this, but the FBI’s anti-terrorism center does not put people on that list lightly.
Then there are her brothers. Her brother Nader has posted comments online praising “the heroes of Hamas.” Hamas has been widely recognized as a terrorist organization in many countries, including the U.S., and here is Tlaib’s brother calling some of its members “heroes.” Nader has also posted as a comment to a news story that “Canada will soon be a Muslim-majority country.” That’s what he chooses to believe; clearly, it is what he hopes will happen. It’s too bad that no one has quoted his remark to Rashida Tlaib and asked her if “she looks forward to the day when America will be a Muslim-majority country.” However she answers, that answer will damn her, among Infidels if she answers “Yes,” and among her fellow Muslims if she answers “No.” That same brother has been peddling the preposterous myth that the Jews in Israel – the “so-called Jews” — are not really Jews at all but impostors, and thus have no valid claim to Israel.
Another of Rashida’s siblings, Ibrahim Elhabed, praised a post that said “Zionists control the media.” Does Rashdia Tlaib share that view? And if she does, how does she explain her rapid rise to political stardom? Why couldn’t the “Zionist-controlled media” have prevented that, or even prevented her election?
Finally, her former husband Fayez Tlaib has posted online his deep admiration for that arch-terrorist Yassir Arafat, head of the PLO.
By her husband, sister, brothers shall we know her? Is it fair to attribute to her the venomous views that her relatives seem to share? Of course it is.
In January 2019, Rashida Tlaib attended, with her family, friends, and supporters from across the country, a private dinner in Detroit to celebrate her election. Among the invited guests was the pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah activist Abbas Hamideh, the co-founder and executive director of Al Awda, which means “right of return.”
Hamideh once tweeted: “Criminal Zionism will eventually die just like Nazism. No racist and supremacist political ideology should maintain itself. Israel does not have a right to exist. The terrorist entity is illegal and has no basis to exist other than a delusional ISIS-like ideology.” He’s an ardent supporter of Hezbollah. In August 2015 he tweeted: “Happy Birthday to the most honorable Arab-Muslim leader of our lifetime.” He was referring to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the man who routinely utters bloodcurdling threats to destroy Israel.
In March 2019, Rashida Tlaib posed for a picture with Nader Jalalel, a Palestinian activist who in 2o18 mourned the death of Ahmed Jarrar, a terrorist who led an attack in which a rabbi was murdered. Above the image of Jarrar, Jalalel wrote “Allah Yerhamo,” or “May God have mercy on him.” He died “after a long battle resisting the brutal Israeli occupation and defending his people and his land. We will never forget.” That sounds like support for terrorism to me. How likely is it that Tlaib knew nothing of Nader Jalalel’s views?
The itinerary Miftah had planned for Omar and Tlaib was titled “U.S. Congressional Delegation to Palestine.” It was to have taken Omar and Tlaib through the major Palestinian population centers in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and a string of meetings with Palestinian non-profits and activists, and international human rights groups. There were to be no meetings with any Israeli officials, whatever their views, and no meetings with Arab members of the Knesset. Nor were there plans for the two Congresswomen to spend any time within the pre-1967 borders of Israel. On August 16, after the visit had been called off, Omar tweeted that “I planned to hold meetings with members of the Knesset (both Jewish and Arab) along with Israeli security officials.” Of course she did.
They were due to meet with Hanan Ashrawi, a long-time PLO propagandist and member of its executive committee. They were also to meet with members of B’tselem, a “human rights” group of lsraeli far-left activists, and with three other non-Israeli organizations, similarly dedicated to finding fault with Israel.
Tlaib and Omar were to visit Hebron, accompanied by yet another left-wing Israeli group, Breaking the Silence. No doubt that group would have pointed out the tiny Jewish enclave of Kiryat Arba, (population 7,400), describing it as a permanent provocation to the Palestinians (pop. 215,000) in Hebron, and thus ultimately responsible for the Arab terrorism in the area.
In Jerusalem, Omar and Tlaib were to visit certain holy sites: the Temple Mount (or as they refer to it, Haram al-Sharif), which would have been described in their accounts as if it were an exclusively Islamic site; the Buraq Wall, similarly appropriated from the Jews (who know it as the Western Wall), where, from its plaza, Muhammad supposedly made his Night Journey to Heaven and back, on his fabulous winged steed Al-Buraq.
That’s what those intrepid travelers Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were scheduled to do on their visit to “Palestine.” What they were not scheduled to do, on a visit to Israel, is even more telling.
Let’s see what Miftah, the group that planned the trip to Israel/Palestine for Tlaib and Omar, left out of their itinerary, and why. No visit, apparently, was to have been made to Yad Vashem, which would have been an easy propaganda win for Omar and Tlaib. Feigned sympathy, a ready tear, some lines written in the guestbook. “How antisemitic can we be, if we went to Yad Vashem and declared our sorrow?” But so implacable were the Palestinian organizers that they would not permit any reminders of Jewish suffering to intrude, even if such a visit would have redounded to the credit of the two Congresswomen.
No visit to the Knesset, to see how Israeli democracy works. That visit would have included the twelve Arab members of the Knesset, and the less the world knows about them, and their complete freedom of expression, the better. Nor would there have been a visit to Israel’s Supreme Court, where one might learn about the Arabs who have served as judges on the Court. Neither visit would serve the apartheid narrative.
No visit to the venerable Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was planned for Tlaib and Omar. Such a visit to that vast and venerable cemetery would only provide evidence of the long Jewish presence in the land, and there must be no reminders of that. Still worse, a visit to the cemetery might lead others to find out that 38,000 Jewish headstones had been pulled up and used by the Jordanian army to line the floors of their latrines, or crushed into bits to use as gravel at building sites.
Another place in Jerusalem that Tlaib and Omar would not have been visiting is the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. For the newness of the stones in the Jewish Quarter is evidence of the destruction wrought there by the Jordanians from 1949 to 1967. It was during those years that the Arabs destroyed all 58 of the Jewish Quarter’s synagogues, and many other ancient structures besides. If the horde of Western journalists accompanying Omar and Tlaib were to see the “new” Jewish Quarter, they might begin to ask disturbing questions. Why does the Jewish Quarter look so much newer than the rest of the Old City? Tlaib and Omar would have stayed well away from the Jewish Quarter.
Haifa is another place the congresswomen would not have visited. Bustling, high-tech, entrepreneurial Haifa, home to the Technion, shouldn’t be visited, because it is a city that is half-Jewish and half-Arab, where Arabs and Jews play, go to school, receive medical care, obtain higher education, and work together, in peace – a standing reproach to those who describe Israel as an “apartheid state.” It is the very existence of Haifa as a mixed city, and a success in every regard, that must be kept from view.
In Hebron, Miftah had arranged for left-wing Israelis to serve as guides. Much better that the preposterous narrative of Arab victimhood come from Jews. In their telling, the Jewish enclave of Kiryat Arba on the edge of Hebron, by existing at all has only created ill-will among the much more populous Arabs of Hebron. It’s the Jews who should be blamed, in this topsy-turvy moral universe, for any Arab aggression, including terrorism, against the Jews living in Kiryat Arba.
Had the trip to that city been allowed, one hopes that Israeli commentators would have made sure that the horde of journalists received more information about Hebron than Tlaib and Omar’s guides would have wanted them to receive. How many people know that Hebron is the second holiest city in Judaism? And how many people know that there was a continuous Jewish presence in Hebron for thousands of years, until 1929, when the Arabs of Hebron, having heard rumors that the Jews were about to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque, rose up and massacred, or drove out, all the Jews in the city? A few returned in 1931, but left again in 1936 because of the Arab Revolt. Wouldn’t knowing how important Hebron is to Jews, and about the 1929 massacre that brought their continuous presence in the city to an end, put a different slant on the Jewish desire to reestablish that presence, at the urban settlement of Kiryat Arba, right on the city’s outskirts?
There was no provision made for having Tlaib and Omar visit the Israel Museum, where they might have seen the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date from 150 B.C. to 70 A.D. The Scrolls would have reminded the journalists accompanying them of the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel at least 600 years before Muslim Arabs arrived. No need to draw attention to that.
Skip the museum.
And certainly Tlaib and Omar would not under any conditions have been taken to the L. A. Mayer Museum in Jerusalem, built by Israelis to show the splendors of Islamic art. What kind of “oppressors” of Muslim Arabs would build such a museum? Best not even to mention it.
It is clear from the published itinerary for their trip to “Palestine” that Tlaib and Omar were to have avoided visiting any site that might in any way have helped the Israelis. No visit to Yad Vashem; it generates too much sympathy for the Jews. No visit to Haifa, where Jews and Arabs live, study, work together in complete security, for that gives the lie to the “apartheid state” business. For the same reason, no visits to the Knesset, where Arabs serve as members, or to the Israeli Supreme Court, on which Arab judges have sat. No visits to the “new” Jewish Quarter in the Old City, or to the Mount of Olives Cemetery, where the effects of the Arab destruction of Jewish sites can be seen. On a visit to Hebron, no mention of why that city matters to Jews, and what makes Kiryat Arba, as a consequence, so important to them. No visit to the Israel Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls remind us that Jews lived long ago in the Land of Israel 600 years before there were any Muslims. No visits to that Museum of Islamic Art, whose existence shows an Israeli openness, curiosity, and generosity of spirit toward other cultures that Tlaib and Omar, and their backers, would prefer you never learn about.
Five men have been jailed for sexually abusing vulnerable girls in Rotherham - as a judge criticised "ineffectual" authorities for failing to protect the victims.
The girls, who were plied with alcohol and drugs and threatened with violence, were deliberately targeted for the sole purpose of becoming "sexual objects" for the defendants, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
Judge Michael Slater described one of the convicted men, Abid Saddiq, as a "cunning and determined sexual predator", while one victim told the court: "They took my childhood away".
Aftab Hussain, 40, was jailed for 24 years and Abid Saddiq, 38, was jailed for 20 years by a judge who described Saddiq as a "cunning and determined sexual predator".
Masaued Malik, 35, was jailed for five years; Sharaz Hussain, 35, was jailed for four years and another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for 10 years.
During sentencing, Judge Slater said that during the late 90s and early 00s it had become "common practice for significant numbers of Asian males and local teenage girls to meet up, either in the day or at night, in various locations in and around Rotherham town centre.
"The result of these liaisons was that, more often than not, casual perfunctory sex would take place either there and then or in more secluded locations such as private properties," he said. Judge Slater said the girls, who were under 16, were threatened with violence if they weren't willing to comply with the men's demands. "Each one of them has suffered severe physical and emotional trauma and continues to do so," he said.
Mr Slater criticised the authorities who were working in the borough at the time of the offending. He said: “I’m quite satisfied that the relevant authorities were well aware of this lamentable state of affairs." Mr Slater said that the council were either at best “totally ineffective” or at worst “wholly indifferent”.
There were actually seven men convicted - I must watch out in case there is reporting permitted as and when they are sentenced.
His actions are sometimes unorthodox, but his success is undeniable.
by Conrad Black
It is not too early to speculate on what the national political media, and especially the high-brow conservative Never Trumpers, are going to do after this president is comfortably reelected. The Washington–New York–Los Angeles media threw everything they had against candidate Trump, nominee Trump, and the president, and they have lost everything they had. All surveys show that their audience/readership is sinking and their commercial economics are shriveling, and no reasonable person can fail to be disgusted with the endless malicious slanders and distortions by the Lemons, Maddows, Scarboroughs, Blitzers. It is exquisite that Trump has used the hard-left social media to outmaneuver the traditional media kingmakers and now nods approvingly as Senators Warren and Sanders and their allies attack the new media cartel, whose leading figures are almost as hostile to the president as are those seeking the Democratic nomination against him next year.
Whatever anyone might think of the president’s public personality, his progress toward his goal of radically altering the government and shattering or coopting the long-tenured OBushinton political establishment has been a relentless and unstoppable juggernaut. His candidacy was mocked, his chances of election were minimized, his ability to avoid impeachment was artificially maintained in doubt for over two years, and the idea that he will be easy to defeat next year is only starting to expire, strangled by facts. The country is prosperous and the attempt to orchestrate economic pessimism will be no more successful than all the bunk about misogyny, incitements to violence, “racially charged” demagogy, corruption, treason, chaos in the White House, and the rest of it.
I don’t read all the formerly highbrow conservative commentators assiduously enough to know where they are going, but their relevance has vanished, and it is not easy to see how they might come back. Almost all of them supported Reagan and were a loyal and skeptical gallery through both Bushes, and a fairly distinguished part of the opposition to Clinton and Obama. One of the many sadnesses in the premature death of Charles Krauthammer is that he was starting to light a path for intelligent conservatives to recognize the positive aspects of Trump’s program and of his political achievement. National Review and Commentary have more or less made their peace with the administration and have carved out a very sustainable position of regular expressions of their reservations about the president’s style and chapters of his career, but recognition of his successes when he has them and of the generally acceptable and sometimes courageous nature of some of his key policies.
They have at least acknowledged his legitimacy as president and the importance of his political strength and acumen. He is, in short, generally accorded by them and their contributors the customary respect accorded the president of the U.S., without stifling their still serious reservations, many of them perfectly arguable. And they recognize that up to now, he has won every round, and that the Republican party in Washington, which for the first six months of this administration sat on its hands, neutral about whether he would be impeached or not, is now in the final stages of the awkward grace of conversion. Former Arizona senator Jeff Flake’s one contribution to contemporary American political science was his resigned assertion, of the Republicans, as he retired from the Senate: “It’s the president’s party now.” How ludicrous and pretentious now are the sniping from the sidelines of former Ohio governor John Kasich and a few others that they had “called out” Trump’s “insensitivity,” or whatever.
The rap that Trump didn’t get everything he promised done in his first two years, when the Republicans had both houses of the Congress, is nonsense because most of the Republican legislators had no more use for Trump than did the Democrats who were promising “scorched earth” and “total resistance.” This is the generally unrecognized point of these scores of retirements of Republicans from the Congress. They were almost all Never Trumpers, such as Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Bob Corker (Tennessee), and from Trump’s standpoint, they were a viper at his throat: RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) were worse than Democrats, not a band of party loyalists he could easily work with. The transformation in less than three years of Senate leader Mitch McConnell, from proposing to “drop [Trump] like a hot rock” to working closely with him for the Republican program and Trump nominees to government and the federal bench, is remarkable. So is the evolution of Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), from being joined at the hip to John McCain and seeing the Access Hollywood tape as the “exit ramp” from the Trump candidacy to his current preparations as Judiciary Committee chairman to follow up on the report of Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz and help create the proper ambiance for what should be a series of indictments of Trump’s most reckless and perfervid enemies in the Obama intelligence and justice hierarchy.
It is hard to imagine the country, especially amid a cascade of damning indictments of prominent members of the former administration, turfing out a president who has produced a full-employment, minimal-inflation economy, energy self-sufficiency, and much-improved trade balances, and has grappled consequentially with the intractable problem of illegal immigration, while rescuing the country from the impoverishment of the Paris Treaty’s green terror. And it is especially hard to see it when the alternative will be either a very shopworn and muddled if amiable journeyman or an outright red-diaper socialist. In the 2016 election, whatever else may be said of them, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump kept the ball between the 30-yard lines, which would not have been the case if their chief rivals, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, had been the nominees. The 2020 election is shaping up as a 1972 rerun, with no Watergate to enable the crucifixion of the victorious Republican president. The Democratic party will learn the lesson and engineer a course correction, as it did after the great Reagan sweep of the 1980s.
But it is hard to see the comeback of the former lions of intelligent conservative opinion. I will not name them, as most are friends and, as far as I am concerned, will remain so. But very few of them have shown much disposition to realign or even to make an artful revisionist approach to the winning side. Even if their only motive were to regain influence or position themselves to return from the limbo they have placed themselves in — go-to useful idiots for the Dems to denounce Trump, and traitors to the continuing Republicans — most of them are thoughtful and articulate, and the country needs them. I refuse to believe that anti-Trump lunacy is an incurable disease; it is certainly a boring and tenacious ailment, but it should pass when its carrier, the president, retires. Whoever ends up as his successor, that person will be, to take a phrase from Monty Python, “something completely different.”
Saddiq, Malik, Aftab and Sharaz Hussain and one of the men who cannot be named, referred to as Defendant 6, will return to Sheffield Crown Court for sentencing tomorrow. (Friday, later today)
Ahsen, of HMP Wymott and formerly of Leyland, Lancashire, and Defendant 5 — who cannot be named for legal reasons — will be sentenced at a date yet to be fixed.
The men sexually abused and exploited vulnerable girls in Rotherham in the late 1990s and early 2000s
Ahsen is the first man charged by the National Crime Agency to plead guilty to all of his offences — 19 other men have been convicted after trial, including Aftab Hussain twice. Two other men, charged by South Yorkshire Police under Operation Clover, the previous investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, have also pleaded guilty.
Since February 2016, there have been 38 people (36 men and two women) sentenced for historical CSE offences in Rotherham following the 2014 Jay Report. Of the 38, five men have been involved in more than one trial, bringing the total number of convictions to 43.
Time and again I’ve longed for a true leader, someone to make my brain beat the faster. Some well known people possess contradictory elements in their character and outlook. A gifted writer like John Buchan, author of The 39 Steps was an imperialist yet an advocate of racial integration, a conservative yet a social reformer. Other individuals who have risen to the heights have a coherent uniform outlook, a moral and political inner core, unmistakable, understood and appreciated. An esteemed example of such a person, a true leader, was Kenneth Bialkin, the New York lawyer, philanthropist, and Jewish activist who died on August 22, 2019 at the age of 89. Above all the qualities for which he was and is renowned nationally and internationally, he must be remembered for two factors; one, in the words of Winston Churchill he waged “war against a monstrous enemy,” antisemitism, and malevolent attacks on the state of Israel; and second, he was evaluated highly in the hearts of people he touched as well as striding the legal and the Jewish world like a Colossus.
In a world darkened by an individual like the actor Mel Gibson, who in 2006 proclaimed that the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world, and has now been inappropriately cast in a new film to play the role of a super-rich character of a fictitious Rothschild family, Ken Bialkin was a man who spoke the truth in a still, small voice, and was a model of enlightenment. Ken was a man of integrity, a man of high intelligence and also of wisdom, who was passionate and articulate about his beliefs and actions, opinions that were not always in fashion.
Ken was the epitome of humane and sophisticated discourse and behavior at a moment when the forms of civility have been violated not only by the Gibsons of the world, but also by some members of the U.S. Congress. He was effortlessly polite to both like-minded persons, a band of brothers, and to those whose views differed from his. His demeanor was calm, if not cool, his vocal utterances a model of clarity, and there could be no misunderstanding of his remarks or his opinions. He was almost a legendary model: a man of easy charm, he was mild mannered, well dressed, worked hard, never raised his voice above a normal baritone. He spoke wisely and slowly, knowing that those who run fast will stumble.
Born in the Bronx, NYC, of Russians and Polish parents, Ken was educated at the University of Michigan, and for a short time at the LSE, in economics and obtained a law degree at Harvard in 1953 For 18 yeas he taught courses at the NYU School of Law .
But his life was not in academe, but in the legal profession, working together with a variety of business organizations and public bodies, and as an activist on behalf of his love for the State of Israel. He was a member and partner in a number of law firms, the last being Skadden, Arps in NYC., with 22 offices and 1,700 attorneys in four continents, one of the most profitable and well known law firms in the world, the first law firm to report $1 billion in annual revenue. At Ken’s death a Skadden spokesperson talked of Ken ‘s calm, thoughtful, self-assurance, that suited him as legal, business, and personal adviser to the CEOs of some of the world’s highest profile companies.
His main business interest and outstanding expertise was in corporate finance transactions, corporate and securities law, international mergers and acquisitions. He was on the boards of many businesses organizations and adviser to others, including insurance companies, brokers, and investment banks. Among his well known successes were the merger in 1998 of the Travelers group with Citicorp, his representation of the Stock Exchange Nasdaq, the merger of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company with the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company. Among his public services, he chaired some committees of the American Bar Association, and was secretary of the Board of Carnegie Hall, 1991-2017, and helped in management and as chronicler of part of its history.
But his record is even more extraordinary and meaningful for the 60 years of his devotion to shielding the U.S. Jewish community against antisemitism, defense of the State of Israel, and for his leadership and participation in most of the significant American Jewish organizations.
The impact of this extraordinary record was visible in the very large gathering paying tribute at his funeral in the synagogue in New York on August 26, 2019. Among the hundreds of distinguished congregants were two former U.S. Secretaries of State, former Attorney-General of the U.S., well known politicians, prominent business leaders and the media, the president of the Council of Foreign Relations, and the leaders, past and present, of U.S. Jewish organizations. To list the positions Ken held is to tour the organization of the American Jewish World. Ken was national chair of the Anti-Defamation League, 1983-86, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of major American Jewish Organizations in the mid 1980s, active in the fight for freeing Soviet Jews, chair of the American Jewish Historical Society, the Jewish Community Relations Committee in New York, vice chair of the Jerusalem Foundation, and chair of the American-Israel Friendship League. For 15 years he hosted a panel discussion on Israel and the Middle East in the Jewish Center of the Hamptons in Long Island. Together with his wife Ann, who was president for 28 years, Ken was active in ELEM, a body which assisted Israeli youth in distress, neglected and delinquent.
He was a member of the Republican Jewish coalition, donated to Republican candidates, and admired the Revisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Vladimir Jabotinsky, but he was non-aggressive and never a campaigner in holding these views and listening to dissenting voices.
Ken was the symbol of the loyal American and devoted Jew, a refuter of the accusation against Jews of double loyalty, and also a supporter of the State of Israel, though not of its every action or every Israeli politician. He was dedicated to American institutions and to the fight against antisemitism. He helped gain posthumous pardon in the state of Georgia for Leo M. Frank, the Jewish business man falsely accused of murder and lynched in 1915. He rightly condemned the use of antisemitism as an element in the assault on the legitimacy of Israel. He was aware that antisemitism continues today, perhaps most virulently in parts of the Arab world, and is fueled by many governments and powerful religious leaders. Politicians in the U.S. Congress should be aware of the question Bialkin raised: whether the animus against Israel in the United Nations and its agencies may indeed be a reflection of latent or historic antisemitism.
Six men found guilty of 20 CSE offences in Rotherham abuse trial
From the Rotherham Advertiser, The BBC and the Star
While there hasn't been a great deal in the newspapers I have been able to follow its course in broad terms via the Court list.
A GANG of six men who abused and exploited vulnerable girls in Rotherham in the late 1990s and early 2000s has been convicted of multiple child sexual offences. The men were convicted on 20 counts by a jury of six men and six women at Sheffield Crown Court today (Wednesday) after almost two days of deliberation following a six-week trial.
Abid Saddiq, Sharaz Hussain, Aftab Hussain and Masaued Malik (above) were all convicted. Two other defendants who cannot be named for legal reasons were convicted of rape and indecent assault.
Abid Saddiq (38), of HMP Doncaster and formerly of Walter Street, Masbrough, has been found guilty of two counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault and two counts of child abduction (jointly charged with Defendant 6). He was cleared of one count of indecent assault.
Sharaz Hussain (35), of Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood, has been found guilty of four counts of indecent assault against two girls in 2002.
Masaued Malik (35), of HMP Doncaster, has been found guilty of three counts of indecent assault against two girls between 1999 and 2002.
Aftab Hussain (40), of HMP Doncaster and formerly of York Road, Rotherham, has been found guilty of two counts of indecent assault against one girl between 2000 and 2002.
Defendant 5, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been found guilty of two counts of indecent assault between 2001 and 2002 against one girl. He was cleared of one count of rape and one count of indecent assault.
Defendant 6, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been found guilty of two counts of child abduction against two girls in 2002, jointly charged with Saddiq. He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting another girl between 2000 and 2001.
They were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday morning.
Wednesday's convictions are the latest to arise from the huge National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into what happened in the South Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013. The NCA was invited in following the Jay Report which shocked the nation in 2014 when it outlined the scale of the offending against children in the town.
The agency - which now has more than 200 people working on Operation Stovewood and had a budget last year of just under £12 million - has now engaged with 313 alleged victims and survivors and identified 190 suspects. Previously the agency has said it believes 1,510 teenagers were exploited in Rotherham during the period.
Asked how many years Operation Stovewood could take, NCA regional head of investigations Rob Burgess said: "Putting a time on it is not right, it's not fair in those circumstances. This is about pursuing the investigation to a point where, effectively, we've no longer got any victims that we can deal with. And, in reality that will take as long as it does.”
Al Jazeera Bemoans the Celebration, in Italy, of Oriana Fallaci
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Oriana Fallaci, the celebrated Italian journalist who has been dead for 13 years, is the woman of the hour in Italy. Italian state television has broadcast a documentary about her life and work, in recognition of what would have been her 90th birthday. All of her books are being republished in a collected-works uniform format. The leading Italian politician, Matteo Salvini, repeatedly refers to her in glowing terms. For many Italians, she is both prophetess and patron saint; the woman who early on warned of the growing Islamic threat inside Europe, and the warrior who called for a campaign to reject and reverse that Muslim presence, which would require an end to the “buonismo” (goody-goodiness) sentiment exhibited by many Europeans, including Christian clerics, who had opened wide the doors of their countries to Muslim migrants – a sentiment, and a policy, that she deplored.
She wrote that Muslim immigration was turning Europe into “a colony of Islam,” an abject place that she called “Eurabia,” (the term made famous by Bat Ye’or), which would eventually “end up with minarets in place of the bell-towers, with the burka in place of the mini-skirt.” Fallaci argued that Islam had always had designs on Europe, invoking the siege of Constantinople in the seventh century, and the Ottoman Empire’s subsequent assaults on the Balkans and Central Europe, with the highwater mark of Muslim Turkish conquest being the siege of Vienna in 1683. Fallaci argued that contemporary immigration from Muslim countries to Europe amounted to the same thing — invasion — only this time with “children and boats” instead of “troops and cannons.” And, as Fallaci described it, the “art of invading and conquering and subjugating” is “the only art at which the sons of Allah have always excelled.”
Al Jazeera, the propaganda outlet of the Qatari government, has taken note of Fallaci’s renewed popularity:
At his political rally in Milan in March, Italy’s far-right Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini mentioned two women: the Virgin Mary, who, he said “will lead us to victory”, and Oriana Fallaci, whom he described as “the founding mother of this Europe.”
One of Italy’s most famous journalists, Fallaci, who died in her late seventies in 2006, covered the Vietnam War and interviewed Henry Kissinger, Indira Gandhi, and Ruhollah Khomeini.
This summation of her life was far too brief. Fallaci had a long, distinguished, practically mythic career. She was involved in politics and war from her early youth. Her father was a partisan during the war, captured and tortured by the Germans. As a 14-year-old, she was a bicycle-riding courier for the Italian Resistance in Nazi-occupied Florence. In 1956, she covered the Hungarian Revolution and the crushing of that uprising by the Soviet army. She covered the wars between India and Pakistan. For eight years, from 1967 to 1975, she repeatedly went back to Vietnam to cover the war there, frequently ending up in the midst of the most dangerous battles. She began as a strident critic of the American effort but became increasingly alarmed at the ruthlessness of the North Vietnamese and consequently, more sympathetic to the Americans. She developed a great hatred for certain American leftists, threatening to “kick Jane Fonda in the ass and spit in her face for lying about her coverage of the Vietnam War and betraying the confidence of American POWs.” She went to Cambodia, where she managed to interview Prince Sihanouk just as the Khmer Rouge were gathering. She was with the protesting Mexican students in 1968 when 800 of them were killed by the police; she was shot three times. She interviewed Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, Fidel Castro in Cuba, and King Hussein in Jordan. She famously took apart Henry Kissinger, who when asked by her to explain his popularity, said: “The main point arises from the fact that I’ve always acted alone. Americans like that immensely. Americans like the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse, the cowboy who rides all alone into the town, the village, with his horse and nothing else.” Exposed as comically full of himself, Kissinger always regretted allowing himself to be interviewed by her; he called it “my most disastrous decision.”
Fallaci interviewed Golda Meir, who positively enchanted her for her forthright truth-telling; Meir, she said, was the most impressive of all the people she had ever interviewed. She interviewed Ariel Sharon, who despite her attempts to provoke him, did not take the bait, and she grew to like the aging warrior. She interviewed Regis Debray, the Communist would-be guerilla, in Bolivia, She reported on Spain under Franco, on the appointment of Juan Carlos as king. She interviewed Deng Xiaoping in Beijing; Chinese students flocked to her hotel in hopes of catching a glimpse of her; she was regarded by them as an iconic warrior for freedom. She wrote many books, mostly non-fiction, but also A Man (1979), which was a fictional tribute to her great love, the Greek resistance fighter Alexandros Panagoulis, who died in a suspicious automobile accident in Athens three years after they met. Panagoulis had been imprisoned, and endured torture, for his failed attempt on the life of the Greek junta leader George Papadopoulos, in 1968. Only the tiniest part of her very full life is mentioned by Al Jazeera — that she interviewed Kissinger, Indira Gandhi, and Khomeini.
What Al Jazeera also left out was the fact that Fallaci had a special interest in Islam, Arabs, and Muslim leaders that long predated 9/11. She interviewed not just Khomeini, but Arafat, Khaddafi, and PFLP leader George Habash, a Christian Arab and a terrorist. She even embedded herself with a group of PLO fighters and came under Israeli bombardment. The PLO fighters refused to let her share their bomb shelter, directing her instead to a makeshift shed that was filled with warehoused explosives. She discovered that for the Muslims of the PLO, women, and especially Infidel women, were expendable. Her encounters with Arafat left her feeling only nausea and disgust; Khaddafi she found to be a semi-demented clown; George Habash she found strangely “likeable” at first, but in the end, merely a murderer who told her that “we believe that to kill a Jew far from the battleground has more of an effect than killing one hundred of them in battle.”
Khomeini was a humorless fanatic whom she nonetheless made laugh – his son said it was the only time in his life that he had seen his father laugh – by ripping off her chador in his presence, yelling about “these medieval rags!” He couldn’t believe anyone would dare to defy him as she did; he had to laugh at her chutzpah.
After September 11, she adopted an anti-Islam stance and today her legacy is enjoying a moment of renewed popularity.
She did not, as Al Jazeera claims, “adopt an anti-Islam stance” after 9/11. Her reaction to the atrocity on 9/11, her ferocious denunciation of Islam and the “sons of Allah,” had been decades in the making. She was “anti-Islam” beginning in the early 1960s. She “adopted” nothing, least of all a temporary “stance.” Over many years, she had traveled widely in Muslim countries, had observed Muslim peoples, had interviewed their leaders. Her deep “anti-Islam” convictions were the result of that long familiarity with, and study of, Muslims and Islam.
In 2019 Italy, Fallaci’s unapologetic Islamophobia is alarmingly mainstream. The new ruling class is rediscovering Fallaci as a prescient thinker.
Shall we rephrase this tendentious bit to achieve a modicum of fairness? Can we leave out that propagandistic scare word “Islamophobia”? What about this: “In 2019, Fallaci’s fierce criticism of Islam and Muslims has become widely accepted. Many Italians have come to regard her as a prescient thinker.”
There is no “new ruling class” in Italy. The country’s leading politician is Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, whose appeal is that he is a populist, of humble origins, who has never part of any political ruling class. His chief rival, also a kind of stand-alone politician, is Beppe Grillo of the “Five Stars” movement and party. Grillo was a comedian before entering politics; he too was anti-establishment and has never been part of any “political ruling class,” nor is he today. The kaleidoscopic realignments of Italian parties and politicians testifies to the absence of such a “ruling class.” It is among all classes of society that Fallaci is being recognized, and hailed, as “prescient” in her Cassandra-like warnings about Muslim encroachments in Europe.
Streets or squares have been renamed after her in Pisa and Arezzo, in central Italy, and Genoa, further north.
A public garden was also dedicated to her in Sesto San Giovanni, an industrial town close to Milan, where the mayor blocked the construction of a mosque.He recently mentioned Fallaci in his inauguration speech: “Her exhortations to the West to wake up still resonate today.”
In July, the lower chamber of Parliament approved the creation of low-denomination treasury bills that could also be used as a de-facto parallel currency to the euro. According to the plan’s main proponent, the League’s MP Claudio Borghi, the 20 euro bill should bear a picture of Fallaci.
For what would have been her 90th birthday, state-owned television channel RAI 2 aired a celebratory documentary about her.
At home, her ideas were not perceived as radical – her anti-Islam manifesto was first published in the country’s most prestigious newspaper [Corriere della Sera].
But with rising anti-immigrant sentiment and with the far-right League party receiving almost 40 percent in the most recent elections, her message resonates with the current climate.
On September 28, 2001, a week [sic] after the September 11 attacks, Corriere della Sera, the Milan-based newspaper, published a five-page article titled La Rabbia e l’Orgoglio, or TheRage and the Pride, in which Fallaci accused the West of being too soft on Islam and Muslim immigrants.
In Italy, she argued, “there is no place for muezzins, minarets, fake teetotalers, their f****** middle ages, and their f****** chadors.”
From then on until her death, Fallaci stirred anti-Muslim sentiment.
Fallaci did not “stir anti-Muslim sentiment.” She was never a rabble-rouser. She did not harangue crowds, even virtual ones. She was much too literate and humorful, qualities rabble-rousers seldom possess. Originally, as a leftist, she was even sympathetic to the Arabs – including the Palestinians. But the reality mugged her. She reported from Muslim countries, interviewing their leaders, and even, in at least one case, accompanying PLO fighters in battle. She grew to detest the Muslims she met, interviewed, reported on. She heard what they said about the West, about Jews, about women. She took note of the triumphalism in their stories – that Islam would conquer Europe, would conquer the world. She paid the Muslims the tribute of taking their hopes and hates and dangerous dreams of genocide and world conquest seriously, something many in the West still refuse to do.
After the article in 2001, she wrote three books – The Rage and the Pride, The Force of Reason, and Oriana Fallaci Interviews Herself – in which she described the Muslim world as an “enemy we treat as a friend” and warned Europe about what she believed to be the danger of becoming “Eurabia.”
She borrowed the term from a conspiracy theory popularised by the Egyptian-born British writer Bat Ye’or (a pseudonym for Gisele Littman) about an alleged plan to “Islamise” Europe through mass immigration.
Bat Ye’or did not popularize a “conspiracy theory” about a plan to “Islamise” Europe. She provided copious documentation – not merely a “theory” – about the Euro-Arab Dialogue, which began just after the 1973 quadrupling of oil prices by OPEC. The E.A.D. was part of a French-led policy intended to increase European power vis-à-vis the United States by aligning its interests with those of the Arab countries. Bat Ye’or saw this “Euro-Arab Dialogue” as a primary cause of European hostility to Israel. Every charge she makes is backed up by written evidence, much of it little known agreements, including cultural matters, made between Europeans and Arabs, that she included it in her book Eurabia. Al Jazeera’s attempt to belittle Bat Ye’or, and thus to undermine Fallaci, who was influenced by her to the point of borrowing her term “Eurabia,” rests on deliberately using charged phrases – Bat Ye’or’s “conspiracy theory” about an “alleged” plan to “Islamise” Europe – that are designed to undermine trust in her judgment. If she can be painted as a conspiracy-theorizing kook, making up “alleged” plans, then what should we think of Oriana Fallaci, who relies on Bat Ye’or as an authority?
Oriana Fallaci was acutely aware of the changes being brought to Italy by those she called “the sons of Allah.” And while she was in a state of alarm about the tens of millions of Muslims who had been so foolishly allowed, as she saw it, to settle in the very midst of Europe, her anxiety became rage, la rabbia, when she saw what was happening in her own country, Italy.
A few months before her death, Fallaci famously said she was ready to blow up the minaret of a mosque in Chianti [because she did not want to “see a 24-metre minaret in the landscape of Giotto when I can’t even wear a cross … in their country!”
Even more than an Italian patriot, Fallaci was famously a Tuscan patriot. The prospect of a huge mosque and Islamic center being built in Colle Val d’Elsa, a small provincial town in the Italian countryside, very close to where she had her house in Tuscany, and where she would certainly have had to endure the muezzin’s call to prayer five times a day (Fallaci could do a very good imitation of that guttural wail she found so unpleasant), sent her into a frenzy. For the Colle Val d’Elsa is not just any place, but quintessentially Tuscan, the embodiment of Tuscan-ness. What in god’s name, Fallaci wondered, were Muslims doing in such an out-of-the-way place, living there and now wanting to erect a large mosque, costing nearly $2 million. She understood: it was a way for Muslims to plant their flag, to stake their claim, to Tuscany itself.
Magdi Allam is an Egyptian ex-Muslim who embraced Christianity, and in Italy became a journalist, both in print and on television, and the leader of his own anti-Islamic party, Io Amo l’Italia (“I Love Italy”). An ideological ally of Fallaci, Allam investigated the new mosque in Tuscany. He discovered that it was being funded by the municipality and a branch of the bank Monte Paschi di Siena, in a naïve attempt to make Muslims feel welcome. He further discovered connections between Feras Jabareen, the head of the Islamic community in Colle Val d’Elsa, who had carefully presented himself as a “moderate” to obtain funds for the mosque, but who turned out to be connected, through the UCOII (Unione delle Comunità e Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia), with the Muslim Brotherhood.
To understand Fallaci’s rage over the placement of this mosque in rural Tuscany, Americans should imagine how they would feel if a large mosque, with minarets, were to be built fifty yards from the Old North Bridge in Concord, or the Battle Green in Lexington.
More than a decade later, her influence on Italian public life has strengthened.
The fact that Oriana Fallaci took such decisive positions after 9/11 transformed her into a figure of reference for the right,” said Francesco Borgonovo, deputy director of the conservative newspaper La Verita.
He claimed that Fallaci was often criticised for warning Western governments against immigration from Muslim-majority countries, but she understood that “in the face of a certain Islam, it is dangerous to say hurray to multiculturalism.”
Borgonovo is sympathetic to Fallaci’s views, unsurprisingly. What is surprising is that Al Jazeera allowed him to state her views both accurately and in apparent agreement, especially her understanding that “in the face of a certain Islam, it is dangerous to say hurray to multiculturalism.”
Before being revered by the Italian right, Fallaci was a respected war reporter, essayist and political interviewer.
And in all these undertakings, it didn’t hurt that she was also beautiful.
“She was the most famous Italian journalist in the world,” said Ugo Tramballi, war correspondent and columnist for the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.
He said that while Italy had other prominent journalists, “none of them was known outside Italy and has had bylines on great American magazines as did Fallaci.”
Her interrogative interview style, in which she was vocal about her own opinions, contributed to her popularity.
“When Oriana Fallaci was going to follow the news, she became the news,” said Tramballi.
The daughter of an anti-fascist partisan, Fallaci wrote about the moon landing, interviewed Robert Kennedy and was injured during the repression of student movements in Mexico in 1968.
Some view Fallaci’s early career, sometimes aligned with liberal causes, as distinct from her later days as an anti-Islam polemicist.
But Borgonovo, the conservative commentator, said they are two sides of the same coin: “The reasons behind her attacks against a certain kind of Islam were the same than [sic]those behind her previous battles. She was a feminist, a woman of the left and a libertarian.”
Leonardo Bianchi, news editor of Vice Italy, who wrote a book about Italian populism, sees it differently.
According to him, after September 11, Fallaci became “a darling of the right precisely because she was a public figure previously associated with the left.”
She exemplified that “even ideologically unwholesome [!] people understand that the threat [of Islam] is serious and something needs to be done.”
Bianchi is right. Fallaci had such a long and distinguished career as a left-wing journalist that her anti-Islam ferocity made it possible for many on the Italian left to be anti-Islam as well. The anti-Islamic right could point to her as supporting their own views, and the policies on Islam that they promoted, which made it harder to paint those policies as “right-wing.” Had she been just one more “right-wing” voice against Islam, she would not have had the colossal impact she did have when her books denouncing Islam came out, and that ever since, even in death, she continues to have. Famously on the left for nearly her entire life, that left could not easily dismiss her.
After the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, Fallaci’s work resurfaced on social media platforms, with some arguing she was right to bemoan Islam after all.
Recently, social media savvy Salvini was photographed while reading one of her books on holiday.
And Facebook is now full of fans groups with names such as Oriana Fallaci, the power of truth and Aphorisms by Oriana Fallaci.
“Fallaci is no longer a simple journalist but has become, said Bianchi, “a prophetess of misfortune who warned us that Islam wanted to attack us.”
From beyond the grave, Fallaci is having a deep and salutary effect on Italian politics. Thirteen years after her death, the threat of Islam in Europe that she warned about becomes ever more apparent. Since her death, many more Muslims have been allowed into Europe, more than two million into Germany alone. But because of Fallaci’s influence – her books on Islam have sold four million copies — there is a much wider understanding of the Muslim menace in Italy than in, for example, Germany or Sweden. And her influence has made it easier for Salvini to turn back all those boats full of migrants coming from Libya. It is not Pope Francis who is defending Christian Italy; he has turned out to be a a simple-minded apologist and Defender of Islamic Faith who exhibits all the features of that “buonismo” which so enraged Fallaci. The stoutest defender of Christian Italy turns out to be the anticlerical atheist Oriana Fallaci.
Fallaci started to form her opinion of Islam in 1960, while on a world tour to research the status of women. “These veiled women are the unhappiest women in the world,” she wrote of her experience in Pakistan. “The wearer gazes out at the sky and her fellow man like a prisoner peering through the bars of her prison. This prison reaches from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, and includes Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia. It is the immense reign of Islam.” Fallaci later told friends that the Pakistani dictator Ali Bhutto cried when he told her he had been forced to marry his wife, a 23-year-old woman, when he was 15, and that Palestinian fighters in Lebanon refused to let Fallaci into a bomb shelter during a shelling, directing her instead to “a shed that turned out to be an explosives depot.”
In her novel “Inshallah,” published in 1990, after a stint covering fighting in Lebanon, one of the characters predicts that the next war wouldn’t be between capitalists and communists but that future conflicts would be channeled through religion — “between those who eat pig meat and those who don’t, those who drink wine and those who don’t, those who mumble Pater Noster and those who whisper Allah rassullillah.” Nothing has happened since in Europe to suggest that prediction is false.
Fallaci made many lapidary comments on Islam, Muslims, and Muslim leaders; none of them were reprinted in the Al Jazeera article, not because they are false, but because they are true. Here are a few:
The Muslims refuse our culture and try to impose their culture on us. I reject them, and this is not only my duty toward my culture-it is toward my values, my principles, my civilization.
The increased presence of Muslims in Italy and in Europe is directly proportional to our loss of freedom.
Europe is no longer Europe, it is Eurabia, a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense.
Without Khomeini, we would not be where we are. What a pity that, when pregnant with him, his mother did not choose to have an abortion.
War is something Arafat sends others to do for him. That is, the poor souls who believe in him. This pompous incompetent caused the failure of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton’s mediation.
Arafat contradicts himself every five minutes. He always plays the double-cross, lies even if you ask him what time it is.
She was a steadfast supporter of Israel – a convinced Zionist — and deplored the rise in antisemitism, connected to the large Muslim presence that had re-infected Europe with that mental disease:
I am disgusted by the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans.
I find it shameful that in nearly all the universities of Europe, Palestinian students sponsor and nurture anti-Semitism.
I defend Israel’s right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let themselves be exterminated a second time.
The Muslim migrants in Italy, as elsewhere in Europe, when without a mosque nearby, would hold their prayer sessions in the middle of city streets, blocking traffic, in complete disregard of the laws or the well-being of the Infidels. That was maddening enough. But what infuriated Fallaci even more were the Muslim migrants who urinated on Renaissance masterpieces, and defecated just outside, or even inside, venerable churches – a most nauseating way to show their contempt for Christians. She more than once mentioned the Muslim Somalis who in Florence urinated against Lorenzo Ghiberti’s east doors of the Baptistery – a masterpiece, described by an admiring Michelangelo as the “Gates of Heaven” – their yellow streams flowing down those fabulous doors for which the Somalis had no interest or respect; after all, these were created by and for “the most vile of created beings.” Why should Muslims care about damaging “Christian” doors in a Christian building?
Fallaci begins The Rage and the Pride with a note to Ferruccio de Bortoli, the then-editor of the Corriere della Sera, in whose pages her book first appeared. A few paragraphs provide a telling example of her lucid, angry prose:
I don’t go pitching tents at Mecca. I don’t go singing Our Fathers and Hail Marys in front of Mohammed’s tomb. I don’t go peeing on the marble of their mosques; I don’t go shitting at the feet of their minarets. When I find myself in their countries (something from which I never derive pleasure), I never forget that I am a guest and a foreigner. I am careful not to offend them with clothing or gestures or behavior that are normal for us but impermissible to them. I treat them with dutiful respect, dutiful courtesy, and I excuse myself when through mistake or ignorance I infringe some rule or superstition of theirs. And the images I’ve had before my eyes while writing this scream of pain and indignation haven’t always been those of the apocalyptic scenes I started with. Sometimes I see another image instead, a symbolic (and therefore infuriating) one: the huge tent with which the Somalian Muslims disfigured and befouled and profaned the Piazza del Duomo at Florence for three months last summer. My city.
A tent put up in order to beg-condemn-insult the Italian government that hosted them but wouldn’t give them the papers necessary to rove about Europe and wouldn’t let them bring the hordes of their relatives to Italy. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, pregnant sisters-in-law, and if they had their way, their relatives’ relatives as well. A tent situated next to the beautiful palazzo of the Archbishop on whose sidewalk they kept the shoes or sandals that are lined up outside the mosques in their countries. And along with the shoes or sandals, the empty bottles of water they’d used to wash their feet before praying. A tent placed in front of the cathedral with Brunelleschi’s cupola and by the side of the Baptistery with Ghiberti’s golden doors. A tent, finally, furnished like a sleazy little apartment: seats, tables, chaise-lounges, mattresses for sleeping and for fucking, ovens for cooking food and plaguing the piazza with smoke and stench. And, thanks to the customary irresponsibility of ENEL, which cares about our works of art about as much as it cares about our landscape, furnished with electric light. Thanks to a radio tape player, enriched by the uncouth wailing of a muezzin who punctually exhorted the faithful, deafened the infidels, and smothered the sound of the church bells. Add to all this the yellow streaks of urine that profaned the marble of the Baptistry. (My, these sons of Allah sure have a long range! However did they manage to hit the target when they were held back by a protective railing that kept it nearly two whole meters away from their urinary equipment?) And along with the yellow streaks of urine, the stench of the excrement that blocked the door of San Salvatore al Vescovo: that exquisite Romanesque church (year 1000) that stands at the rear of the Piazza del Duomo and that the sons of Allah transformed into a shithouse. You’re well aware of this.
Her vivid rage against the Muslim invaders is one part of the book; the other part describes her pride in Western, Italian, Tuscan civilization.. Hence the title: The Rage and the Pride.
Now she is regarded as “prescient” in her Cassandra-like warnings about Islam in Europe. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman. No one would be more unhappy to learn that she was right all along about Islam than that marvelous phenomenon of intelligence, wit, humor, truth, and deep melancholy, Oriana Fallaci.
Norwegian mosque apologises to Crown Prince Haakon after three women refused handshake
I can't find this in the English language press yet, but this Royal enthusiast website has the story in English following photographs on Twitter. From Royal Central
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon visited the Al-Noor Islamic Centre last week to show support after the 10 August shooting attack on the mosque. Many people noticed that three women did not accept the Crown Prince’s outstretched hand as he attempted to greet them.
The Bærum mosque shooting, or the Al-Noor Islamic Centre shooting, was an attack that occurred on 10 August 2019 at the Al-Noor Islamic Centre mosque in Bærum, Norway, about 20 km west of the capital city of Oslo. One person was injured, and the gunman’s stepsister was later found dead in their family home. The shooter was taken into police custody after being subdued by mosque-goers. The shooting has been described as one attack in a recent “resurgence of white supremacy”.
Waheed Ahmed, information officer at the Al-Noor mosque, told NRK that they were unaware that the women did not want to shake the hand of the Crown Prince. He has now issued an official apology to the Norwegian Crown Prince. He wrote to Norwegian state tv NRK: “We did not want the Crown Prince to end up in that situation, but we did not know that the three women would not handshake. We, therefore, apologise to the Crown Prince that this happened.”
The Royal family are being very gracious about this. Norway has a 'modern' informal monarchy, so they don't stand on ceremony for etiquette, hence the offer of a handshake. In similar circumstances a more formal royal family would expect the bowing of the head and bending of the knee in a curtsey; a mark of respect that would not involve the prince touching a commoner, like any normal person.
The Royal Court commented on the case Monday evening, and they published through NRK the following statement:
“The Crown Prince experienced the visit to the Al-Noor mosque after the terror attack as strong, and that the meeting with all the participants was warm and respectful. Together with the representatives of the Islamic Council of Norway and the Al-Noor mosque, they talked about how we can together build a society where everyone can feel safe and free”.
“She has a poetic sadness about her like a pre-Raphaelite painting,” Geoffrey Clarfield says with no hint of sarcasm or disrespect. He is referring to Nadia Murad, the reluctant poster girl of Yazidi suffering in the aftermath of the brutal ISIS attack on this minority religious group on their home territory of Sinjar, Northern Iraq on Aug. 3, 2014.
Clarfield is a Canadian anthropologist who advocates for justice for Yazidis, an ancient faith community in the Middle East that ISIS extremists seek to exterminate along with Christians and others they consider to be infidels. His comment brings to mind The Roman Widow and other paintings by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, the famous British artist of the 19th century school of art, of women with hauntingly melancholy faces.
An independent consultant for the non-partisan advocacy group, the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, Clarfield spoke recently at a gathering in Ottawa of the Canadian Chapter of the Philos Project, an international organization striving to transform the Middle East into a place of justice and equity for all religious and ethnic groups.
With the added lustre of support from Amal Clooney, the glamorous, brilliantly articulate international human rights lawyer (who has taken on the cause of Yazidi women victims of human trafficking) and her own Nobel prize win, Murad has an undeniable star quality, Clarfield said. Other Yazidi women have suffered just as much, but she has become, in the world’s eyes, the face and symbol of the Yazidis’ continuing ordeal, he added.
Yanked from her simple pastoral life and modest aspirations in rural Iraq, she has been suddenly thrust on the world stage and given the heavy burden of pleading for justice for her people in the assembly halls and corridors of power. The girl from the village of Sinjar in Northern Iraq who had never – until her dramatic escape from ISIS three months after her agonizing capture – spoken to more than a few people, suddenly became a media star. Microphone in hand, she is constantly standing behind podiums in the world’s most important meeting rooms. Hordes of international journalists relay her words and flash her image to billions around the world.
Seeking justice for the Yazidi people is also Clarfield’s mission. His perspective, though, is different from the message the world tends to receive from the image that Murad projects. She is the suffering face of a victim who has survived the most horrific of experiences including sex slavery, brutal beatings and torture. Clarfield reveals a side of the Yazidi story that has not been heard from Murad.
“Canada and the allied forces that defeated ISIS in their so-called caliphate in 2017 are obligated to help the Yazidi people, not because we need to pity them, but because we owe it to them,” he says firmly.
“Yazidis are not just victims (of the ISIS genocide),” he says. “They are our allies and partners in the war against terror.”
If the international community has come to their aid at all, it is perhaps because they are moved by images of Yazidi suffering and victimhood that the world tends to associate with the face of Murad, he added.
“But bringing them justice, giving them humanitarian assistance only because they are victims, is doing them a disservice.”
Yazidis were part of the fighting force when a major military campaign led by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, and assisted by a U.S.-led coalition, culminated in the liberation of Mosul from Isis in 2017. The coalition included members of Canada’s armed forces.
Before that, Yazidis had fought and had provided invaluable auxiliary services in the 1990 Gulf War in which Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s then-leader, invaded Kuwait. This war was fought by a U.S.-led coalition of countries including Canada that went to war in Kuwait’s defence.
Putting a human face on Yazidi contributions to Western alliances in wars fought in the Middle East, Clarfield relates the story of a Yazidi who now lives somewhere in the U.S. and is known as Alex, although that is not his real name. Clarfield learned the story of Alex when he met and worked with him on a project on Iraq.
“His story is typical of that of many Yazidi men and women who risked their own and their families’ lives to act as translators from Kurdish and Arabic to English and vice versa.
In 2003, during the second Gulf War, Alex and his brother got jobs as translators for the coalition forces. While working for them for almost five years, Alex observed that the Yazidi were essential partners of the coalition forces in northern Iraq.
“I do know that over the last 10 years many of our Yazidi translators were targeted and killed by ISIS in Iraq. It’s a tough job and not for the fainthearted,” Alex told Clarfield.
Alex is now an American citizen, and, like Clarfield, lobbies for the rights of Yazidis.
Clarfield said he has spoken, through a translator, to another Yazidi, a woman called Nidal who lives in London, Ont. Nidal’s tone and manner are, again, very different to that of Murad, he says.
Nidal is clearly angry, he added, and her demands from the Canadian government are very specific and focused on the practical needs of her community. They include a program to help reunite scattered members of Yazidi families, and opportunities for resettled Yazidis to go to refugee camps and identify their own people (since many are afraid to disclose their true identity for fear of being attacked by former ISIS fighters who have found a safe haven in the same UNHCR- run camp).
Bearing in mind that most Canadian Yazidis are recent arrivals in this country and do not have the literacy skills to complete the mind-boggling paperwork required to sponsor their families, Nidal would like her people to receive help with the application process. She has stated the urgent need for aid for her people – many of whom live in Iraq in makeshift camps for internally displaced people – from the World Food Program.
“Yazidis want justice and have a natural sense of justice, not necessarily through the Nuremberg style trials at the International Criminal Court that Amal Clooney has been demanding,” says Clarfield.
In his opinion, the world, including Canada, has a moral obligation to make amends to the Yazidis. This is what keeps him walking the corridors of Parliament Hill and knocking on every door until parliamentarians, political pundits and policymakers take action to serve justice and humanitarian assistance to these dispossessed and traumatized people.
Pete Buttigieg on the Golan Heights and “the Occupation [that] Must End”
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Pete Buttigieg doesn’t think President Trump was right to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The disturbing story is here:
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 election, denounced Tuesday US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, as an interference in Israeli politics, JNS reported.
“There are very legitimate Israeli security concerns,” Buttigieg told JNS, “That being said, I would have, in that situation, had this be part of a negotiated discussion.
“The really upsetting thing about what was done with the Golan Heights was that it was an intervention in Israeli domestic politics.”
“In other words,” he added, “The president used US foreign policy to put a thumb on the scale for right-wing allies within Israeli domestic politics. This is totally the wrong basis for our policy.”
“The bottom line is that when I am president,” Buttigieg concluded, “We will do it not based on US politics and not based on Israeli politics but based on what is best for the security of the Israeli-Palestinian [future].”
When asked about possibly undoing the president’s move, Buttigieg told JNS that he will not “make any declarations now about the future of that status other than to say that on my watch it would not have come as part of the intervention of [sic] Israeli [politics].”
The Republican Jewish Coalition replied to Buttigieg, saying that he “apparently wants Syria to have the Golan Heights, supports a foreign policy strategy that denies reality.”
Pete Buttigieg believes that President Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights constitutes “interference in Israeli politics.” That might be true, if Trump had lobbied for Israel to annex the Golan Heights. But the Golan Heights were annexed by Israel in 1981, 38 years before Trump recognized the simple fact of its annexation. That annexation is not an issue in Israeli politics. At the time of the annexation, 80 per cent of Jewish Israelis supported the move, according to opinion polls, “even if” returning the Golan to Syria would mean a permanent peace with Syria. Now 85% of Israeli Jews would not consider giving up the Golan Heights under any scenario. Ever fewer Israelis believe that a lasting peace with Syria or the other Arab states can be obtained through treaties; the only secure peace with Muslims, they realize, is that obtained and maintained through deterrence. To ensure that, Israel’s military power must be overwhelmingly greater, so as to deter any would-be aggressors. Part of that strength requires continued control of certain territories, and the Golan Heights have always been understood in Israel as critical to its security. According to U.N. Resolution 242, Israel has a right to territorial adjustments so as to obtain “secure” — i.e., defensible – borders. That, according to successive Israeli governments, must include the Golan. And others agree: when President Johnson had the Joint Chiefs send a delegation to Israel after the Six-Day War, in the report they wrote they concluded that Israel had to hold onto the Golan.
The Golan Heights loom high above the Israeli farms beneath, and from 1949 to 1967, Syrian gunners rained fire down on those farms below. Wresting the Golan from Syria was a costly undertaking for the Israelis in 1967, and holding onto the Golan in the face of the Syrian surprise attack in October 1973 was even more difficult. After that history of pain and sacrifice, and remembering how that land was used by the Syrians, nothing will induce the Israelis to give up the Golan. Why not recognize the annexation, and thereby help to “take it off the table” of any future negotiations?
Jewish support for the annexation now stands at 85%; Israelis overwhelmingly agree that, as Prime Minister Netanyahu has said, possession of the Golan Heights, won in a war of self-defense, remains essential to Israel’s defense. It is even more so now that the Iranians have been setting up bases in Syria; imagine if the Golan, in such circumstances, were again in Syrian – or possibly Iranian — hands.
Pete Buttigieg has in the past been criticized at pro-Palestinian websites for being too sympathetic to Israel. Would that it were true. But I don’t see him as being particularly understanding of Israel’s plight. Granted, he’s not part of the “Squad.” He visited Israel in 2018, on a trip sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. Afterwards he did blame Hamas for the wretched condition of the Palestinians in Gaza, but said nothing about Hamas’s firing of missiles into towns and cities – civilian targets — in southern Israel. He did not discuss the Hamas campaign to breach Israel’s security fence, nor did he take the opportunity to note that those Gazans who keep being described in much of the media as “unarmed protesters” in fact flung Molotov cocktails, grenades, incendiary kites, and in some cases even fired guns, at Israeli soldiers. He did not describe Israel’s use of tear gas and rubber bullets to halt the rioting mobs, and the Israeli soldiers who reluctantly found it necessary to use live fire, and only in the most threatening situations. He said nothing about the security situation in the West Bank, nothing about the Palestinian Authority’s “Pay for Slay” program, nor the naming of squares and streets after terrorists. He said nothing about the Palestinian textbooks full of antisemitic venom, nothing about the Palestinian children’s programs where little kids declare their admiration for those who “kill Jews.”
Nor did Pete Buttigieg mention the 140,000 missiles from Iran that Hezbollah has stockpiled in southern Lebanon, or the tunnels dug by both Hamas and Hezbollah to smuggle weapons, money, and fighters. He did mention that the threat from Iran was made clear to him by Israeli officers; he described the situation with that country as “complex”; a less ambiguous denunciation of the Islamic Republic as an aggressor throughout the Middle East, especially of concern to Israel because of its supplying of advanced missiles to Hezbollah, and its attempts to create bases in Syria, would have been welcome.
Judging by his post-trip comments, what impressed Buttigieg the most about Israel was the high-tech modernity of Tel Aviv, that is, the Jewish state, as the “start-up nation.” That is impressive, but more impressive still is how Israel manages, despite every conceivable threat, to remain a wide-open democracy. It’s a place where Arabs serve in the Knesset, on the Supreme Court, in the diplomatic corps and, if they wish, in the military as well. It’s a place where human rights and the rule of law are respected. And in Israel, this occurs even while the people in this tiny country are under a permanent siege: they remain the object of Islamic terrorism, of missile attacks from Gaza, of Hezbollah’s building of terror tunnels, and of bloodcurdling threats from Iran to destroy the country. Its people are resilient, intelligent, and brave. Those qualities are even more noteworthy than their astonishing inventiveness. Buttigieg might have taken note.
This July, Pete Buttigieg, who for reasons I fail to grasp, has been described as one of the most pro-Israel candidates in the Democratic field, signaled that on Israel, he had moved farther to the left. He tweeted: “The occupation has to end.” Anti-Israel groups were ecstatic.
What we have here is a failure by Buttigieg to understand the legal status of the West Bank. The word “occupation” suggests that Israel has no legal claim to the West Bank; it is merely to be seen as a military occupier, like the Americans in Occupied Japan or Occupied Germany. But Israel’s legal claim is not that of a military occupier, who remains for a few years, and once having rearranged the politics of a defeated country, leaves. That legal claim to the West Bank is based on the Mandate for Palestine itself. Buttigieg should look at the Mandate maps. He may not realize – he is hardly alone – that the West Bank (to use the term the Jordanians affixed to that area in 1949 so as to avoid the too-Jewish “Judea and Samaria”) was included, by the League of Nations’ Mandates Commission, in the territory that was assigned to Mandatory Palestine, thus part of the land that was to become the Jewish National Home and, subsequently, the State of Israel. This territory included all of historic Palestine west of the river Jordan.
Buttigieg should study the provisions of the Mandate, especially Articles 4 and 6, where he will find that the Mandatory authority solemnly undertakes to facilitate Jewish immigration into Palestine and to encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land.” If Buttigieg thinks that those clauses are without continued relevance, as he likely does, he should consult Article 80 (known as “the Jewish People’s clause”) of the U.N. Charter, which preserves intact all the rights granted to Jews under the Mandate for Palestine, even after the Mandate’s expiry on May 14-15, 1948. Under this provision of international law (the Charter is an international treaty), Jewish rights to Palestine and the Land of Israel were not to be altered in any way unless there had been an intervening trusteeship agreement between the states or parties concerned, which would have converted the Mandate into a trusteeship or trust territory. There was no such intervening trusteeship.
When Jordan won the West Bank in the 1948-49 war, Israel’s legal right to that territory was not extinguished. Nor did Jordan create for itself, by seizing it in a war of aggression, a legal right to that land. Jordan was only the military “occupier” of the West Bank from 1949 to 1967. Then, after the Six-Day War, Israel came into possession of the West Bank. and could then enforce its preexisting legal claim under the Mandate.
At the same time, Israel has a separate and distinct claim to much of the West Bank, based on U.N. Resolution 242, by which Israel could hold onto territories it had won if they were necessary for it to have “secure and recognizable boundaries,” or as another phrase often used put it, “secure and defensible borders.” Israel had the right to determine what territory it needed to be “secure.” So far it has given up 95% of the territory it had won in 1967; it gave back the entire Sinai to Egypt, for the second time (the first time was in 1956) and gave up Gaza in 2005 to the “Palestinians.” After the Battle of Gaza in June, 2007 between Fatah and Hamas, Hamas won decisively and has ruled – and misruled – Gaza ever since.
It bears repeating again and again: the West Bank, by the terms of the Mandate, was included in the territory that was to be the Jewish national home (which became Israel). Jordan was its military occupant from 1949 to 1967, not its legal claimant. Furthermore, according to the text of U.N. Resolution 242, Israel has a right to retain certain territories taken in the Six-Day War, that it needs if it is to have “secure and recognizable boundaries.” Shortly after the Six-Day War, President Johnson had the Joint Chiefs send a delegation to study the security situation in Israel. In the report they issued, they concluded that Israel would necessarily have to retain the Golan Heights and much of the West Bank.
Were Israel forced to give up the entire West Bank – which is what Buttigieg’s “The occupation has to end” must mean – Israel would no longer control the Jordan Valley or the Judean hills. The traditional invasion route from the east would be wide open. Israel would once again be only nine miles wide at its narrowest width, from Qalqilya to the sea, and the country could be cut in two within a matter of hours. That is not a defensible result, in either the legal (see the Mandate for Palestine and U.N. Resolution 242) or the moral sense.
Then there is Buttigieg’s statement about the Golan, criticizing Trump’s recognition of Israel’s annexation, and his insistence that unlike Trump, he did not want to “intervene” in Israeli policies. But by commenting on the annexation, he has intervened on the side of those who oppose the annexation and want the future of the Golan to still be subject to negotiation. He intervenes, that is, to oppose recognizing the annexation that 85% of Israel’s Jews support. When asked about the possibility, were he to become president, of undoing Trump’s move, Buttigieg replied that he will not “make any declarations now about the future of that status other than to say that on my watch it would not have come as part of the intervention of [sic] Israeli [politics].” To me, that sounds as if he might indeed undo Trump’s recognition of the Golan annexation; that he considers it to be “occupied territory,” and he’s now tweeting “the occupation has to end.” Does he really mean to say that he wants Israel to be pushed back to the pre-1967 lines, that is, the armistice lines of 1949, which Abba Eban once described as “the lines of Auschwitz”? Does he not think we non-Israelis, in the case of the Golan, should defer to the Israeli military’s judgment that it is critical to Israel’s defense?
Does Buttigieg have an opinion on Brexit? If he expresses it, is he not “intervening” in British politics? If he declares himself a supporter of Juan Guaido, is he not “intervening” in Venezuelan politics? If he denounces the crackdown on Hong Kong protesters, is he not “intervening” in Chinese politics? Every foreign policy statement he – or anyone else — makes is an “intervention” in some other country’s politics. But the only “intervention” that seems to exercise him is that which recognizes an annexation which was carried out nearly 40 years ago, which is supported by 85% of Israeli Jews, and which reflects Israel’s determination to create “secure” borders, as it is fully entitled to do under U.N. Resolution 242.
So here’s a homework assignment for Pete Buttigieg:
1. Read the Mandate for Palestine, paying special attention to the Preamble, and Articles 4 and 6.
2. Study the Mandate for Palestine maps, showing the territory assigned to the Mandate after all the territory east of the Jordan River had been unilaterally closed to Jewish immigration by the British.
3. Read Article 80 of the U.N. Charter.
4. Read the text of U.N. Resolution 242.
5. Read the discussion of the meaning of U.N. Resolution 242, written by its author, Lord Caradon.
6. Read the report on territorial adjustments that would be required to meet Israel’s security needs, as prepared by staff members of the U.S. Joint Chiefs, who visited Israel after the Six-Day War.
FOR EXTRA CREDIT:
Read Israel and Palestine: An Assault on the Law of Nations, by the celebrated Australian jurist Julius Stone.
Let us know, after that bit of homework – it’s always fun to learn new things – if you still want to stand by that tweet “the occupation has to end,” or if the knowledge you’ve acquired will lead, as I allow myself to believe it will, to quite a different understanding.
Israel Charged with “Deliberately Sparing the Lives of Palestinians”
by Hugh Fitzgerald
The general outrage over the barring of Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel, although they are both working earnestly for the destruction of the Jewish state, is crazy enough, and it calls to mind an incident from last year that was beyond crazy:
A Rutgers University professor who accused Israeli forces of deliberately sparing the lives of Palestinians in order to debilitate them has been awarded [sic] by the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA).
Jasbir Puar, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies, co-won the NWSA’s 2018 Alison Piepmeier Book Prize for her work The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability.
Published by in November 2017 by Duke University Press — which has come under scrutiny for its editorial advisors’ ties to the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — the book posits that the “Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have shown a demonstrable pattern over decades of sparing life, of shooting to maim rather than to kill.”
How diabolical can those Israelis get, deliberately “sparing the lives of Palestinians”? Thank god for Jasbir Puar, “associate professor of women’s and gender studies,” for seeing through the Israeli strategy, which is to “debilitate” the “Palestinians” by sparing their lives. In fact, they don’t even “shoot to maim,” but only to stop rioters attacking soldiers or attempting to breach Israel’s security fence. They shoot only after all other means, such as rubber bullets and tear gas, have failed, and aim at their legs to halt, not to “maim” them. Jasbir Puar might add, to the next edition of her award-wining book, a chapter on Israeli doctors who provide care for both Israeli Arabs and, in emergencies, for “Palestinians” from Gaza and the West Bank, in Israeli hospitals where treatments is available to “Palestinians” in medical need, and — most diabolical of all — frequently that care given by the Israelis is free. What could be more sinister than that? Obviously such care can only weaken the resolve of the “Palestinians” to remain steadfast in demanding their rights from the occupier. Israeli kindness is only a facade for cruelty.
But no one should be fooled. The Israelis have used the same clever strategy of fake “kindness” even with other Arabs. Since 2013, Israel has been providing medical care to many thousands of wounded civilians in southern Syria. They are treating them, of course, not because Israel wishes them well, but only in order to “debilitate” them, that is, in order to control them, though admittedly it’s still unclear just how Israel will control Syrians in Syria.
“Yet it [Puar’s prize-winning book] contends that this “purportedly humanitarian practice of sparing death by shooting to maim” is not rooted in a desire to minimize fatalities, but rather seeks to maintain “Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated, and yet alive, in order to control them.”
The NWSA award’s review committee called The Right to Maim a “major milestone book,” which argues “that debilitation and the state production of disability are biopolitical projects both useful and productive for states under Neoliberal capitalism.”
“Debilitation and the state production of disability are biopolitical projects both useful and productive for states under Neoliberal capitalism”? Could the awards committee, which called The Right to Maim a “major milestone book,” and proves itself to be a dab hand at the same kind of gobbledygook as is in the book, please explain what “biopolitical projects” means?
Puar — a supporter of BDS who wrote that the book’s “ultimate purpose … is to labor in the service of a Free Palestine” — has attracted controversy over the work, with critics accusing it of advancing a blood libel against the Jewish state.
The book, its author unashamedly admits, has a tendentious purpose, which is not to write history, but “to labor in the service of a Free Palestine.”
Seth Mandel, an op-ed editor at The New York Post, accused Puar on Twitter on Saturday of receiving an “award for book-length medieval blood libel because academic anti-Semitism is not just tolerated, but encouraged and rewarded.”
Andrew Getraer, director of Rutgers Hillel, added in response, “the fact that this unreadable piece of dreck received an academic award is unsurprising.”
The book has raised concerns since it was first published, with Richard Cravatts — president emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, a network of academics that seeks to counter “anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism” — asserting that its core notion was “an outrageous and grotesque resurrection of the classic anti-Semitic trope that Jews purposely, and sadistically, harm and kill non-Jews.”
Kenneth Waltzer — executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, which opposes the BDS campaign against Israel on university campuses — said at the time that Puar was “more interested in defining and theorizing than in getting things as they are.”
He also accused the professor of advancing “terrible (and unapologetic) antisemitism” during a 2016 event at Vassar College, when she said that Israel “manifests an implicit claim to the right to maim and debilitate Palestinian bodies and environments,” according to a transcript of the talk provided by the Vassar alumni group Fairness To Israel.
During that appearance, Puar repeated allegations that the bodies of “young Palestinian men … were mined for organs for scientific research.” She also asserted that Israel’s actions could be called a “genocide in slow motion,” and said, “We need BDS as part of organized resistance and armed resistance in Palestine as well. There is no other way the situation is going to change.”
There are no cases, none, of Israel mining “the bodies of young Palestinian men” for organs for scientific research. But that hasn’t stopped Jasbir Puar, for whom the truth is irrelevant, from making the charge. Puar is a fighter; her work is intended to complement the armed resistance inside “Palestine” with whatever nonsense and lies she can produce, outside, that is, of her grotesque pseudo-scholarship in the service of “Palestine.
If Israel is committing a “genocide in slow motion,” as Jasbir Puar charges, it is certainly going about it the wrong way. In The Weekly Standard, Jonah Cohen discussed the “genocide” charge:
At the end of the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel took over the territories from Jordan, the average Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza expected to live just 49 years, according to a U.N. report. In 1975, Palestinian life expectancy rose to 56; by 1984, it climbed to 66. Since 1984, Palestinians have lived an average of 75 years. That’s not only higher than the global average, but longer than the life expectancy in many Arab and South American countries—and even in some European countries. Israeli Arabs, meanwhile, have the highest life expectancy in the Muslim world.
Infant mortality is another marker of genocide and it’s been declining in Palestinian life, having shown dramatic improvement since 1967. The high birth and low death rates of Palestinians in Gaza put the territory near the top of the world in population growth. It is a strange kind of “genocide” that creates the conditions for a population of people to flourish.
With improvements in physical well-being have come advances in culture. Palestinian literacy is impressive indeed: an astonishing 91 percent adult literacy rate. That makes the Palestinians the most educated population in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to a 2006 World Bank report.
And if voting with their feet is any indication, a majority of Israeli Arabs prefer to live in Israel rather than other countries, as suggested in various polls. Many even favor Israeli-ruled East Jerusalem over Palestinian citizenship in the territories.
In 1967, the Israelis conducted a census of both the West Bank and Gaza. The West Bank then had 661,700 inhabitants; it now has 2.16 million Arabs, an increase of almost 300%. Gaza in 1967 had 354,700 inhabitants; today it has 1.84 million, an increase of 400%. Only someone as hate-addled as Jasbir Puar could describe that as “genocide.”
As for Israel, you can be sure it is going to continue with its diabolical scheme of deliberately sparing the lives of “Palestinians” in order to “debilitate” them. And it will no doubt continue to offer free medical treatment to “Palestinians” in need, and to thousands of wounded Syrian civilians, too. But don’t be fooled. In the end it’s all part of a “genocidal” plot by Israel that has been so cleverly hidden behind that steep rise in the “Palestinian” population, that it takes someone as unfoolable as Jasbir Puar, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, to pull back the curtain on the real story, that of Israeli malevolence and cruelty. And sparing “Palestinian” lives is a typical Israeli trick. But don’t be fooled; just read Puar’s breathtaking analysis. For revealing that “biopolitical” plot, Puar has certainly earned her award. Rutgers must be very proud.