Thursday, June 30, 2011

My head is spinning

Even for someone like me with little faith in the Obama administration's foreign policy, today is exceptional:

-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces the resumption of "limited contacts" with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to "emphasize the importance of non-violence, democratic freedoms, and the rights of women and minorities in such contacts." Whaddya think, will this be as successful as our outreach to Iran?

Somehow I doubt we can influence the thinking of the man rumored to be the Brotherhood's secret candidate for president, Mohamed Selim al-Awa. He's reportedly close to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the famous 'spiritual' leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who prayed in Tahrir Square for Muslims to reconquer Jerusalem. But, hey, maybe we can persuade him to break off ties with Hamas. Al-Awa has also claimed that the Egyptian Copts are storing weapons in their monasteries to use against the Muslims, so he'd be equally good at restoring inter-religious amity within Egypt. How open do you think he'd be to guaranteeing the rights of minorities?

-- Israel has been added to our list of 36 specially designated countries believed to "have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members." What does this mean? Israelis will now be subjected to a special security screening if they are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the division of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for enforcing the immigration laws. I don't know how many Israelis are usually detained by ICE, but I'm glad to know we're safe now. And I wonder if CAIR, ISNA, or other U.S. groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood had any influence on this decision.

Seriously, I can understand the need to have contact with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, especially if they are among the winners in the September elections. But I'm willing to bet that our "limited contacts" will only serve to enhance their credibility, while bringing us nothing.

Indeed, we'll be boosting the group seen by the 'good guys' - secularists, democrats, all those young people you saw demonstrating - as the biggest threat. According to one of the Youth Coalition's leaders: "The Brotherhood is tyrannical in its opinions and views, and I think they will take the side of the Islamist businessmen who fund it and have strict Islamic ideologies ... Whatever constitution they might form would not fulfill the demands of Egyptians for civil rights and democracy."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dershowitz nails Gates

American lawyer, jurist and political commentator Alan Dershowitz takes issue with the assertion that Defense Secretary Robert Gates did the right thing by making sure that the United States did not go to war with Iran on his watch. Instead, "History will not be kind to Gates. Despite some noteworthy accomplishments, he will be remembered as the single most important facilitator of an Iranian regime with nuclear weapons."

Gates' policy toward Iran, Dershowitz argues, is like that of Neville Chamberlain toward Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Like Chamberlain, he took the "military option" off the table, and in so doing emboldened the enemy. Chamberlain though he could contain the Nazis, and Gates apparently thought he could the same with the Iranians. However, "[t]his alleged policy of containment is no policy at all; it is an admission of failure."

As for me, I was amazed that Gates remained in his post after he publicly opposed destroying Libyan air defenses as an act of war and was then then overruled by President Obama. Or when his lawyers were overruled by White House and State Department lawyers as to whether, yet again, what we're doing in Libya constitutes hostilities. I guess I'm naive.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wilders acquitted

Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been acquitted of all charges of inciting hatred and discrimination after a lengthy trial. Commentator Mark Steyn terms the proceedings a "show trial." He certainly has a point; even the public prosecutor had already called for an acquittal.

If there was no case against him, why was Wilders on trial? In addition to domestic pressures, Wilders was the target of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the international organization comprising over 50 Muslim countries. The OIC leaned hard on the Dutch government to punish Wilders; let's see what it does now.

Who are the Libyan rebels?

John Rosenthal reports here that two French think tanks who sent a 6-person expert mission to Libya this spring have produced a study with some very unsettling conclusions. Among them:

-- Islamists play a predominant role in the eastern Libyan rebellion.

-- the justifications given for Western military intervention are largely based on media exaggerations and outright disinformation.

-- current NATO actions "risk destabilizing all of North Africa, the Sahel, and the Middle East and favoring the emergence of a new regional base for radical Islam and terrorism."

-- "Benghazi has become over the last 15 years the epicenter of African migration to Europe. This traffic in human beings has been transformed into a veritable industry, generating billions of dollars. Parallel mafia structures have developed in the city, where the traffic is firmly implanted and employs thousands of people, while corrupting police and civil servants. It was only a year ago that the Libyan government, with the help of Italy, managed to bring this cancer under control . . . Following the disappearance of its main source of revenue and the arrest of a number of its bosses, the local mafia took the lead in financing and supporting the Libyan rebellion."

This is a very disturbing report; if you read Rosenthal's article, you'll find lots more detail. I don't know these think tanks and so can't vouch for them, but I suspect we'll look back on the Libyan operation and wonder how we got ourselves into such a mess.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yale gets the antisemitism center it wants

Down with YIISA, long live the new Yale Program for Antisemitism. YIISA director Charles Small will be replaced by Maurice Samuels, an expert in 19th century French antisemitism.

Perhaps the new center will do pretty much what the old one did. But I sincerely doubt it.

There's no political difficulty in studying 19th century, or 12th century, or 20th century antisemitism - at least much of the 20th century. But I doubt that the new program will explore Muslim or left-wing antisemitism. That would probably be denounced as 'advocacy' - although just what anyone is advocating is still a mystery to me.

More precisely, those topics are forbidden because any respectable scholar soon uncovers the genocidal ideology behind groups like the PLO and Hamas that requires exterminating the Jews (not just the Israelis). The scholar will also discover that those views are shared, across the famed Sunni-Shiite divide, by the rulers of Iran.

Charles Small thought this problem was critical and worthy of scholarly examination; we shall see if Maurice Samuels agrees with him. Or, to be more precise, if Yale lets him do so. And we'll see if the donors who supported YIISA will contribute to the new center.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


On June 1, Yale University decided not to renew the contract for the Yale Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) which was established in 2006. Since then, several reasons have been advanced for this decision, among them that YIISA produced too few peer-reviewed publications, that it attracted too few faculty members and students, and that it was too often political rather than academic in its approach.

The latter criticism, I think, is telling - as a mirror image of what was really going on. For example, one Yale professor reportedly criticized the August 2010 conference hosted by YIISA, saying that too many of the speakers used antisemitism as an excuse to dismiss public concerns with the Israeli government’s behavior. So .... let's see. That means that the only way to discuss antisemitism is to spend most of your time criticizing the Israeli government. Speaking of rank politicization!

I attended a number of YIISA lectures and participated in the 2010 conference; at all these events there were indeed relatively few Yale students. At the time, I assumed that antisemitism could hardly compete with subjects like global warming or gay rights. Especially when, to be at all honest intellectually, you must admit (as did numerous conference participants) that Muslim antisemitism is an important and dangerous factor today. That observation, alas, brands you as a 'right-wing extremist' on an American campus.

I don't think this story is over yet; YIISA may morph into some other form and migrate to another university or think tank. Let's hope so.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gates on NATO

You've probably heard about the speech last Friday by outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in which he warned the Allies that they were contributing so little that the future of NATO was endangered.

That's all true, but as Joe has pointed out to me, that's not the worst of it. No, the worst of it is that the contortions underlying the decision to intervene in Libya have caused NATO to engage in widespread lying about its intentions and its actions.

The United States, of course, has contributed significantly to this problem. For example, I defy you to tell me just what U.S. goals are in Libya: regime change? protecting civilians? advancing democracy? supporting Islamists? And, by the way, since when is NATO something separate from the United States, as it appears to be in President Obama's mind?

I have felt for years that NATO could not survive the sharp drop in European military capabilities after the end of the Cold War. Now, with the pressure of the Libyan operation added to that of the one in Afghanistan, we may be approaching a point of no return. And we're doing so in the worst possible way: we've let ourselves be sucked into an operation that is not in our national interest, only to discover that our Allies want us to do their heavy lifting.

Women call for sharia

Yet another of my faithful readers (without whom I should have long ago abandoned this blog) asked me last week why women agree to veil themselves and accept the other conditions required under sharia law. And, as if by magic, here are a couple of news items that give a little insight into that question.

First is a call by a Kuwaiti woman 'activist' to allow men to buy and sell non-Muslim girls, captured in jihad, as sex slaves "in order to protect Muslim men against seductive sexual immorality." This was the arrangement under traditional sharia and was only abandoned in more recent times when slavery got a bad name. So why would this woman want it? First, she and the other Muslim wives would gain non-Muslim slaves to do the heavy lifting around the house when they weren't 'servicing' the husband. And, since she obviously assumes her husband is not monogamous, keeping his amours all under one roof provides her oversight and control.

Lest you think that far-fetched and remote, consider this recent letter in a local California paper calling for adulterous women to be put to death. As the female writer puts it: "These slut women do not know how to say no. To my judgment, these women who freely sleep with married men must be severely punished and put to death."

The letter may be a fake one ... or it may not be. To put it in context, look at this report about a Toronto mosque that published a list of things that constitute a 'violation of Islam. One of them: "To say that enforcing the punishments prescribed by Allah, such as cutting off the hand of a thief or stoning an adulterer, is not suitable in this day and age."

Next time someone tells you that sharia is an enlightened code and doesn't involve such things as sex slavery or the death penalty for adulteresses, ask them how they would answer these two proposals. And if you want to learn more about these issues, just check out FrontPage Magazine, Atlas Shrugs, or Pajamas Media.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Watch this guy!

Here's a news story with an absolutely unbelievable video of a Haitian fellow, George Exantus, who was severely injured during the 2010 earthquake. One foot had to be amputated, while the other leg and an arm were badly maimed. He received treatment from a special Israeli medical unit and is now ready to resume his career as a dancer. Watch him dance!

Unfortunately, there's a dumb twist to this story: he was denied a visa to travel to New York to participate in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade.

Friday, June 3, 2011


One of my faithful blog-readers just sent me the link to this video showing how Muslim sharia law is already being implemented by the U.S. government. (For some reason the link jumps to minute 3:15, so you'll need to restart it at the beginning.)

The video documents the ways in which our senior political leaders are violating the Establishment Clause by offering Islam a privileged position above all other religions, and are already attacking free speech if it includes criticism of Islam.

Among other things, it compares the condemnations of Pastor Terry Jones Koran burning by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Graham, and General David Petraeus with the decision by the U.S. Army to burn Bibles confiscated in Afghanistan.

Only a fool would think that our Islamist enemies will be mollified by such pronouncements. They'll be emboldened instead - appeasement is a sign of weakness, not wisdom.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Follow Qaradawi's moves

Several months ago Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered the spiritual leader of Sunni Muslims and of the Muslim Brotherhood, gave a speech in Cairo's Tahrir Square. In that speech he called for Egypt to re-open the border with Gaza (previously closed to block terrorists and terrorist supplies from entering Gaza) and for Muslims to reconquer Jerusalem. That part of the speech, needless to say, was ignored by the Western media.

Since then, Egypt has re-opened its border with Gaza. Now Hamas' prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniya, has invited Qaradawi to come lead a public prayer in Gaza. And gee, what do you think Qaradawi is likely to pray for? A mutually-acceptable peace between Israel and the Palestinians? Don't hold your breath.

According to a recent Pew poll, 31% of Egyptians favor the Islamists, and 30% do not. But since those who disagree with the fundamentalists are disorganized, there's not much chance that they will be able to restrain the foreign adventurism of the Islamists.

And this is all happening as the Egyptian economy deteriorates. Tourism is down 60%, some 300,000 refugees from Libya swell the ranks of the unemployed, domestic and foreign investment is leaving, and foreign reserves are falling and may be depleted in six months. With a mess this big, there's really no choice but to flame the hatred of Israel (and America) to distract people.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CAIR is soooo lucky!

Some organizations have all the luck - take the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), for example.

-- For several years, they were classified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case in which an Islamic charity was eventually convicted of funding Hamas terrorism.

-- Unbeknownst to the public or the Congress, last year the Justice Department dropped the case against CAIR. This despite a 2009 finding by a federal judge that the "Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR ... with the [Holy Land Foundation] ... and with Hamas." For more details, see this letter from Rep. Peter King to Attorney General Eric Holder. Apparently political appointees at Justice overruled the career professionals working the case.

-- Today, CNS News reported that CAIR has written to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to call for an agency-wide investigation of whether the people in charge of training national security personnel are 'Islamophobic.'

So now the organization that Holder and his senior staff saved from an indictment for its terrorist links wants to vet the people training national security personnel on terrorism issues. If your head is spinning, you should take that as a sign of mental health. You still retain some instinct for self-preservation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The long view

I'm not a big fan of decades-long demographic projections, but this analysis is quite thought-provoking. According to UN data, if current fertility rates remain constant, Israel will have more young people by the end of this century than Turkey, Iran, Germany, Italy or Spain.

The author of the analysis suggests that these trends will have a direct impact on the Mideast regional military balance:

"if present trends continue, Israel will be able to field the largest land army in the Middle East. That startling data point, though, should alert analysts to a more relevant problem: among the military powers in the Middle East, Israel will be the only one with a viable population structure by the middle of this century.

That is why it is in America's interest to keep Israel as an ally. Israel is not only the strongest power in the region; in a generation or two it will be the only power in the region, the last man standing among ruined neighbors."

Israel is already an economic powerhouse, whether you're measuring GDP growth, patent applications or venture capital. It also rates on the cheerfulness scale: according to a recent Gallup poll, a higher percentage of Israelis than Americans consider themselves to be thriving.

So what does this all mean? Hey, I don't know - except that Israelis, despite all their problems, are up, not down. No wonder their neighbors (and dwindling Europe) dislike them so much. (Thanks to Richard Landes.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Denying Israel's right to exist

As everybody knows, Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel. It has words to that effect in its charter, and it reconfirmed its position when it reached the unity agreement with Fatah.

Less well-known is that many in the Palestinian Authority, of which Fatah is the key player, share this ideology, despite many reassurances about commitment to the peace process, etc. Here's a report, prepared by Palestinian Media Watch, that quotes senior officials, textbooks and state-controlled media delegitimizing and demonizing Israel. They offer many arguments to prove that justice will be achieved when Israel ceases to exist.

Saying a country must cease to exist and calling for its destruction is a distinction without much of a difference. Particularly if, as the Palestinian Authority does, you're paying the salaries of terrorists in Israeli jails.

I'm not arguing that everyone in the Palestinian Authority is focused solely on destroying Israel. On the contrary, many have been working successfully to rebuild the West Bank and so prove that they are worthy of statehood. But they will have a tough time prevailing now that Hamas and Fatah are 'united.' Indeed, I fear they are just about to lose all they've worked so hard to achieve.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bye bye Sweden

UK video commentator Pat Condell is back, this time with a devastating clip about Sweden.

He reports that Sweden is now the rape capital of Europe, with twice as many rapes per capita as any other country. Most of the rapes committed by men from the Mideast and Africa, although no one will say that. Even the police in Oslo, in neighboring Norway, are willing to admit that, in a recent 3-year period, all of the 41 aggravated rapes were committed by immigrants from the Mideast and Africa, and characterized by 'gross violence.'

Before you denounce me as a racist for publishing these facts, let me first say two things:

(1) Thank heavens I live in America where the First Amendment protects my right to free speech. Things would be different if I lived in the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Sweden...the list goes on.

(2) There's a reason for these rapes: they are intended to establish Muslim dominance of the streets (and therefore society's public spaces) as well as the suppression of women. If you don't get that part, you don't understand anything.

Condell highlights several other disturbing trends: a rise in anti-Semitism (what a big surprise) and the fact that the Swedish government is deporting Iraqi Christians back to Iraq - apparently only Muslims need apply for residence papers in Sweden. Indeed, in today's Sweden, you no longer need Swedish citizenship to hold a sensitive or high government position, including that of national prosecutor.

(Thanks to FrontPage.)

The source of the Syrian revolt

Did you ever wonder why the revolt in Syria, which has been going on for over a month now, continues despite the brutality of the regime in repressing it? So far, almost 1,000 demonstrators have been murdered. Well, what apparently sparked the uprising was a horrible crime by the authorities in Daraa (near the border with Jordan).

"Ten children living in the Syrian city of Daraa were inspired by the Arab Spring and wrote an expression of freedom on walls. They were arrested by the intelligence agency. Families of the children applied to the Office of the Governor, but that didn’t help. They went to the intelligence offices, that didn’t help either. Finally, the Office of the Governor was raided and the children were taken back. There was a problem however: Nails of the children had been removed and some of them had been raped. The families went ballistic and their tribes were outraged by the fact. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets, burned down the intelligence headquarters and the phone company belonging to Rami Makhlouf. This is how the fear threshold was passed against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria." (Thanks to Daily Alert.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The new Nashville

You may have thought of Nashville as a fun place and the home of Grand Ole Opry (when it isn't flooded as it was last year). Unfortunately, that's not all it is:

It has a radical Islamic Center of Nashville; one of the men who set it up came to Nashville from Brooklyn, NY, where he was the imam of the mosque linked to the first World Trade Center bombing. For more details on the mosque and its proselytizing mission, watch this disturbing video made by a group of concerned citizens. (Thanks to Rachel.)

Among the students radicalized at Tennessee State University was Carlos Bledsoe, who subsequently murdered a soldier as an act of jihad. His father testified before the House Homeland Security Committee about the danger posed by Islamists recruiting students: how radical Islam destroys not only its murder victims, but the jihadis themselves and their families.

You can also measure the threat level in Nashville by the fact that Dutch politician Geert Wilders just gave a speech there (thanks to Atlas Shrugs). His message:

"My dear American friends, you cannot imagine how we envy your First Amendment. The day when America follows the example of Europe and Canada and introduces so-called 'hate speech crimes' which is only used to punish people who are critical of Islam, that day America will have lost its freedom ... Multiculturalism made us tolerate the intolerant, and now intolerance is annihilating tolerance."

Read the whole speech - he's thought about this problem a great deal and expresses his ideas very clearly. And he's right: if we lose our right to free speech, both the hearer and the speaker lose. You can't fix a problem that you can't even talk about in public.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Which London do you prefer?

Within the space of one week, London has shown two very different faces.

First was of the royal wedding: spectacular pageantry, beautiful bride and handsome groom, even more beautiful bridesmaid, swooning Anglophiles. I won't bother to link a video, since there cannot be a single person who doesn't know what I'm talking about.

Then a week later came the angry pro-Osama Bin Laden protests, including a mock funeral staged in front of the U.S. embassy.

But maybe I'm being unfair: the situation in Germany is even worse. There a judge in Hamburg filed a criminal complaint against Chancellor Angela Merkel for saying she was glad Bin Laden had been killed. The charge? Endorsing a crime - but of course!

I can't take it any more!

OK, so I'm not really suicidal - just frustrated! On today's Fox Sunday show, commentator Mara Liasson said the threat from Al Qaeda was now past, given all the people protesting in favor of freedom and democracy as part of the Arab Spring.

Huh? Just what does one thing have to do with the other? What bothers me the most is her assumption that the threat to the West comes only from 'violent' Islamism, when nothing could be further from the truth. 'Non-violent' Islamists have made great strides in Turkey, Lebanon and Gaza in recent years, not to mention in many European countries. Why shouldn't they do the same elsewhere?

I certainly agree that there are obviously people in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere who want greater freedom, an end to corruption, economic opportunity and so forth. The important question, though, is whether they will achieve those goals, or whether Islamists or other thugs will win out and run the show.

So why am I so bothered to hear Mara Liasson say such things? Because she's close to the Obama Administration, that's why. What she's saying may be what they're thinking. And if that's the case, we're in deep trouble.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More on innovation

Yesterday's entry described Israeli innovations in armor defense technology; today's is about the lack of EU innovation, as bemoaned by EU council chairman Herman Van Rompuy.

Van Rompuy blamed the lack of innovation on "societal problems" and said people "live in a climate of despair and are depressed." Which is interesting, if you think about it: if Europeans were beset by existential enemies on all sides, would they be more likely to innovate? (Just for the record, the latest Gallup poll reports that Israel is the seventh highest country on the happiness index. Ahead of it are several European countries, rather undercutting Van Rompuy's argument. )

The solution, according to Van Rompuy: political leaders must be upbeat and work hard to get people to invent new things. No suggestion, of course, that the massive weight of governmental taxation and regulation could be a cause of the problem or that the EU, itself a mighty bureaucratic machine, might be least able to fix the problem. Earlier this week, Ernst & Young released a report decrying the wastefulness and complexity of competing EU programs intended to foster innovation.

In fact, Van Rompuy's remarks sound a lot like what used to emanate from Soviet and Warsaw Pact leaders. I'm sure that's just a coincidence...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Porcupine Dart

Porcupine Dart is the name of a new Israeli armor defense system that, in a test at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, successfully hit an incoming tank round and destroyed it. This is apparently the first time that a tank round was intercepted and destroyed in mid-flight.

Another new Israeli tank defense system, the radar-based Windbreaker, fires small metal slugs at an incoming projectile, detonating its warhead a distance from the vehicle. It has already been used successfully against rocket-propelled grenades fired against tanks patrolling the Gaza border. (Thanks to Daily Alert.)

Israel will need all the new defense technology it can develop, probably sooner rather than later. Especially as Fatah has now, under Egypt's leadership, agreed to form a Palestinian national unity government with Hamas. Hamas continues to demand the destruction of Israel and large numbers of Egyptians want to tear up the peace treaty with Israel, so I absolutely cannot understand why anyone thinks the Hamas-Fatah accord will promote peace.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is the threat over?

Mideast analyst Barry Rubin disputes the claim that the threat from radical Islam is gone now that Osama Bin Laden is dead. He offers a long list of countries where Islamist movements either control the state or are advancing politically, noting that the threat is not confined to traditional Muslim countries.

As he puts it: "Serious Islamist movements have gained political hegemony over growing Muslim communities all over the West. While many Muslims are indifferent to the movement and a few courageous dissidents combat it, Western governments and elites often blindly favor the Islamists ... In fact, the degree that Western governments, elites, and societies are blind to the actual threat defies belief."

This is what happens when you don't define your problem correctly: when you worry only about 'violent extremism,' not 'extremism:' the act of terror but not the ideology that underlies and justifies it. We don't have unlimited time to 'wake up and smell the coffee.'

A Freudian slip?

A headline announcing that the European Commission had apologized caught my eye, since apologizing is not something the Commission normally does. Turns out that this year's annual EU calendar lists Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Chinese holidays, plus Europe Day. The Christian holidays were left out, according to the press report. (No mention of Jewish holidays, so perhaps they have simply slipped away.)

So was this a Freudian slip, the acting out of an EU multiculturalist desire to erase Europe's Judeo-Christian baggage? Who knows? Unfortunately for the EU there are still priests in Ireland, one of whom lodged a formal complaint; hence the apology.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bye bye OBL

Since everyone else and his brother (not to mention sister) has expressed a view on the death of Osama Bin Laden, I've decided to sound off well.

First, I'm glad. Very glad.

Second, I'm very proud of our military for pulling off such a mission.

Third, the White House or Defense Department should publish a picture of Bin Laden's corpse as soon as possible. No one who wants to believe he's still alive will be persuaded by a reference to DNA testing.

Fourth, it's unfortunate that some people think that Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden are the only Islamist terrorists around. Killing him was an excellent move, but it doesn't 'solve' the problem.

Fifth, what did Pakistani authorities know? Someone on high must have known about Bin Laden's presence and protected him. Only questions are, how many were there and who are they?

Sixth, we've got NATO bombing the house where Colonel Qaddafi was sleeping at almost the same time the Navy Seals were attacking Bin Laden's house. Anyone care to articulate our Democratic president's policy regarding assassination as a tool of foreign policy?

Comments, anyone?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Arguing with himself

The liberal blog The Daily Beast has an excellent article blasting President Obama's foreign policy. Authors Christopher Dickey and John Barry call it an "unmitigated disaster" and argue that the problem lies at the top: "Maybe the simplest and in many ways the most disturbing explanation for all the flailing is offered by veteran journalist and diplomat Leslie H. Gelb: 'There is one man in this administration who debates himself.' President Obama." They chronicle Obama's dithering and its cost, including North Koreans reportedly telling the Chinese that, if U.S. action in Libya is any indication, they need not fear the Americans. And that's not even talking about the cost in terms of our influence in the Mideast.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Free speech on campus

In this video, David Horowitz shows disturbing scenes from various American college campuses. In response to the annual Israel Apartheid Week organized by the Muslim Student Association (an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood), he has proposed a Palestinian Wall of Lies. Needless to say, his efforts meet with considerable resistance - a less brave soul would easily be discouraged. As for whether Israel society is apartheid, watch this video from a Candid Camera-like Israeli show. In it, one actor poses as an Arab woman asking to be served in a convenience store while another, behind the counter, refuses to serve her. The video records the reactions of the Israelis who witness this exchange. Based on this admittedly unscientific poll, the bystanders pass with flying colors. (Thanks to Mona Charen.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Protecting civilians

While NATO is tearing out its hair trying to protect Libyan civilians (sometimes from the Gaddafi forces, sometimes from the rebels), Israel has premiered a new, automated anti-missile system. Last weekend, after a Qassam missile hit a schoolbus and injured a boy, Iron Dome shot down nine incoming missiles fired from Gaza. No civilians were injured. Now, don't wait for the UN to applaud this rescue of innocent civilians, because in the UN world there are no innocent Israeli civilians - only evil Zionists. But take a moment to feel sorry for the folks pushing for a boycott of Israeli goods: since Iron Dome is a unique technology, other countries may want to buy it to augment their own defense systems. You can also feel sorry for Hamas. They didn't expect Israel to retaliate for their targeting of the schoolbus by attacking Hamas positions in Gaza. Now they're asking for a ceasefire, most likely because, according to YNet, "some 20 terrorists were killed in Gaza, dozens of others were wounded, and assorted targets across the Strip had been destroyed." I say, 'go, Bibi, go!'

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The future of France

This CBN video clip offers a drastic and shocking glimpse of how much ground France has already ceded to Islam. From a beleaguered French shopkeeper holding her ground in a suburb of Paris, heavily veiled women and rows of praying Muslims blocking the street to riots and rumors of coming civil war, it's a disturbing and grim picture. So what, you may ask, is the French government doing about this? Well, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant is facing a possible lawsuit for saying that that the growing number of Muslims posed a problem; his predecessor was convicted and fined for a similar statement. (Thanks to and Jihad Watch.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Goldstone and goose feathers

Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the infamous United Nations report blaming Israel for intentionally targeting civilians during the recent Gaza conflict, conceded in an op-ed published in the Washington Post on April 1 that Israel did not do so. He also conceded that Hamas was guilty of such conduct. I'm reminded of the story that opens Joseph Telushkin's Words That Hurt, Words That Heal (one of my favorite books). In it, spreading slander is compared to scattering the feathers from a pillow to the winds. Collecting the feathers is impossible, as is repairing the damage done by the slanderous words. Goldstone lent his name and prestige to a genocidal hatchet job; one op-ed now cannot remedy the consequences.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

So everyone loves the Palestinians?

If you've fallen for the picture of Palestinians, beloved people of the Muslim world and tormented only by evil Israelis, well maybe you haven't seen the whole picture. Here's an insight into today's dynamic: Syria, Libya and Jordan have all accused Palestinians of fomenting revolt in their countries, and the Palestinians living in those countries fear they may be deported. So what's really going on? According to Palestinian political analyst Adel Abdel Rahman, Palestinians have become the "rack on which Arab leaders hang their cowardice and collusion against each other." On the other hand, it may turn out that Palestinians have been joining various opposition groups. Add that to the list of mysteries about these opposition groups!

Pat Condell strikes again

Vonnie just sent me this recent video by British commentator Pat Condell. In it, he takes on the United Nations; Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan; and Islamic violations of women's rights - all in just under 7 minutes. He's smart, funny and devastating; enjoy! If you want more of his blistering commentaries, here's a link to one I posted earlier on the Geert Wilders trial in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More on Libya

From the liberal blog The Daily Beast, here is a report by two Newsweek correspondents who say that some 200 Libyan Al Qaeda operatives lurking in the mountains of Pakistan may be heading home to fight Libyan leader Gaddafi. As a Taliban observer puts it: "This rebellion is the fresh breeze they've been waiting years for." Not to worry, though, according to the authors: it's a long, long way back and very few Islamist terrorists remain in Libya, since Gaddafi killed or imprisoned so many. Plus, the other Libyan rebels are so moderate that any Islamists will have to take a low profile. Like in Egypt, perhaps?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Buycott Israeli products

Opponents of the state of Israel have called for a boycott of Israeli goods tomorrow, March 30. If you want, you can instead make it a buycott day. Here's a link giving the availability of Israeli goods in various U.S. markets. I intend to buy something - I see that Israeli cosmetics are available in Walgreen's as well as major department stores...

A plea from Pakistan

Libby sent me the link to this video, prepared by MEMRI, of an interview in which Pakistani actress Veena Malik responds to charges that she has shamed her family and her country by appearing in an Indian reality show. She challenges her accuser, Mufti Abdul Qavi, to focus on corruption, bribery, and other problems in Pakistan, including sexual abuses committed by the clergy, which are much more serious than the charges he has brought against her. Malik is a very brave and outspoken woman. Let's hope she survives - today's Pakistan is an increasingly dangerous place for someone like her.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Same old, same old

Classic novels are classic for a reason. If you're feeling despondent about wars being declared overnight, about government incomptence and corruption; about the parlous state of education; about how intellectuals make everything worse; or even about the terrible and destructive proliferation of lawyers - cheer up, there's nothing new under the sun!

Or so I learned when Rachel persuaded me to listen to an audio recording of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Check it out if, like me, you somehow missed it. The discovery that we've been going to the dogs a long time made me positively cheerful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our new relationship with Egypt

Yet again, Mideast scholar Barry Rubin provides a perspective largely lacking from mainstream media coverage. This time he recounts warning signs suggesting that the new Egyptian regime will be no friend of the United States:

-- Young Google executive and revolutionary hero Wael Ghonim refused to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her trip to Egypt, citing her previous statements in support of the Mubarak government. Last I heard, the State Department was reportedly working with the internet crowd to foment reform.

-- In fact, the youth movement issued the following statement: "The US Administration took the Egypt's revolution lightly and supported the old regime while Egyptian blood was being spilled." Doesn't sound very welcoming, does it?

Barry draws several lessons from this:

-- "Lesson One: Just because you like them doesn't mean they like you.

-- Lesson Two: Just because you help them doesn't mean they will help you.

-- Lesson Three: Just because you pretend they are really moderates doesn't mean it's true."

Rubin predicts that radicals who hate America, not necessarily Islamists, will take over Egypt. He reports, for example, that the 'secular' youth movement has been working with the Muslim Brotherhood for two years.

It's reassuring to know that President Obama's outreach to the Muslim world has been so successful, isn't it? It's looking more and more like what happened to former President Jimmy Carter's policy toward Iran in the late 1970s.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just imagine

Let's say you're a shaker and a mover in the U.S. administration and you want to really make a difference in our foreign policy toward the Arab world. Would you (A) try to figure out where the tumult in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere is leading, and how we can protect our national interests? Or would you (B) beat up on Israel?

Apparently (B) is the right answer, because that's what we're doing. It turns out that we're threatening to gang up with the EU, the UN and Russia to try to force Israel to accept an independent Palestinian state that includes the West Bank, Gaza and parts of Jerusalem.

Now, don't for a minute think this is part of any 'peace process.' As commentator Caroline Glick notes: "Since [the Palestinian state] would not be established in the framework of a peace treaty with Israel, and since its leaders reject Israel’s right to exist, 'Palestine' would be born in a de facto state of war with Israel."

Nor is there any indication that an independent Palestinian state would help overcome the murderous hostility between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah. Or that it would stop the Palestinian Authority (remember, we think they're the good guys) from inciting terrorist acts like the Fogel family murders in Itamar and then hypocritically condemning (probably only in English) the subsequent celebrations in Rafah. (Imagine handing out candy to Palestinian children because Israeli children had their throats slit in their sleep.)

We would, however, make our European pals happy. Not only would they get to be in the front row when the 'international community' gangs up on Israel, but they could demonstrate their clout at having gotten the United States to agree to an approach they've pushed a long time.

At least all this is easier than figuring out how to combat Islamist pressures in the Muslim world (let alone at home), oppose Iranian aggression, or decide what to do about Libya. Gee, maybe that's why it's so attractive!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ellison at the King hearings

The hearing on radicalization of American Muslims held by Peter King (R-NY) included a sobbing presentation by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) about Mohammed Salman Hamdani, an American Muslim killed on 9/11 while trying to rescue others.

Ellison said Hamdani had been smeared by people who accused him of conspiring with the terrorists. Problem is, the story was completely false. Here's how Matthew Schaffer describes the true situation:

"... six weeks after the September 11 attacks — before Hamdani’s remains were identified, which Ellison implies to be the turning point of public perception — Congress signed the PATRIOT Act into law with this line included: 'Many Arab Americans and Muslim Americans have acted heroically during the attacks on the United States, including Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old New Yorker of Pakistani descent, who is believed to have gone to the World Trade Center to offer rescue assistance and is now missing.' That is, Hamdani was actually singled out for particular high honors among the thousands of victims of the September 11 attacks."

So why would Ellison invert the truth like that? Presumably because that was his strongest argument. Truly pathetic.

Today's news

I have lots of things to post to this blog, but have been transfixed by the news from Japan. My heart goes out to all those suffering from the earthquakes and tsunami - what horrifying events!

I did want to note, though, that City Journal just published my review of a book by Russian novelist Elena Chudinova about the Islamization of Europe. I realize there are several orders of magnitude difference in importance between the first and second paragraphs of this entry...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The power of a blog

Dear Readers, you should know that this is one powerful blog - within 24 hours of my last posting, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller stepped down and NPR executive Rob Schiller pre-emptively resigned from the job he was about to take at the Aspen Institute.

So beware of my probing analysis!

Seriously, I suspect that what really caused the turmoil was Ron Schiller's statement that NPR would be better off with no government funding. I can't imagine any House bill including NPR funding at this point; NPR's only hope is to get the Senate to sneak it in as part of some larger deal. But we shall see!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

NPR and the Muslim Brotherhood

Here, thanks to the vigilance of Joe, is a video in which two journalists pose as members of the Muslim Brotherhood and offer funding to two NPR executives.

At just over 11 minutes, the video is a bit long, but watch it until the end.

Then you can reflect over whether taxpayers' money should go to NPR. If you agree that tea partiers are gun-toting racists, that Zionists control the media, and that calling NPR National Palestinian Radio accurately reflects its reporting (all ideas apparently shared by the NPR execs), then this is the organization for you.

As Libby said, the congressional hearings should be fun.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Interesting times

It looks like public awareness of Islamism in America is finally growing - and not a moment too soon.

Remember radical UK Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary, who announced a pro-sharia demonstration in front of the White House on March 3? Well, it fizzled, perhaps because of the counter-demonstrators ready and waiting for him. In fact, Choudary may never have left the UK.

And now New York Rep. Peter King will hold the first hearing on Muslim radicalization in the United States this Thursday. Predictably, he's getting a lot of flak, but recent attacks by home-grown Islamist terrorists make his argument for him. If he calls good witnesses and puts reliable data into the public domain, he will have performed a true public service.

Brotherly love

Amir Taheri reports that Kamal al-Halbawi , one of the front-runners for future shaker and mover in Egypt, had this to say during a visit to Iran, which he termed "a true Islamic state:"

"Egypt and the world of Islam as a whole need leaders like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." Egypt should join"a new world order with Iran and Venezuela plus Hezbollah and Hamas to chase away the Americans. . . . Every night when I go to bed, I pray to wake up the next day to see Israel is wiped off the map."

Did I mention that al-Halbawi is a leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood? (Thanks to Daily Alert.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Islamists on the march

Mideast scholar John Lamb pointed out to me that Sheikh Qaradawi, when he addressed Egyptians in Tahrir Square, avoided overt anti-Semitic statements, perhaps in order to appeal to the youthful crowd there (or perhaps with regard to his English-speaking audience). It is true that Qaradawi was more measured than in many of his other speeches - but he did call for a march to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which is code for eliminating the State of Israel. Presumably he didn't think that would alienate the crowd.

Journalist Ftouh Souhail reports (in French) that the new Tunisian government has just legalized an Islamist party close to the Muslim Brotherhood. Called 'Renaissance,' it was founded in 1981 by Rachid Ghannouchi, known for his violent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic diatribes. Ghannouchi has been living in exile in London for the past 20 years, but recently returned to Tunisia. As Souhail describes it (in my informal translation):

"The majority of Tunisians don't want an Iranian-style revolution which will take them towards an anti-democratic Islamic regime. Having learned that the bearded Rachid Ghannouchi, described as a Khomeini, now has an Islamic party at his disposal, Tunisian fundamentalists reacted with immense joy."

Add to that the fact that the Tunisians are about to draft a new constitution, and you can see that the prize isn't just control over the present or future government; it's reshaping the basis of Tunisian law.

And Mideast expert Barry Rubin notes MEMRI reports describing the efforts of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to take over the Islamic institutions in that country. The danger, according to him: "If that can imagine. Once Islamists are in place making the 'official' decisions on what constitutes proper Islam, an Islamist state cannot be far away."

It's difficult to be optimistic with things like this happening. Don't forget: there were many idealistic, freedom-loving young Iranians who supported Khomeini in 1978-79 because they simply didn't understand what was going on. They figured it out too late.

More thoughts on the no-fly zone

Last night on the news I watched Senator John Kerry make an impassioned plea for a U.S. no-fly zone in Libya. It seemed odd to me, somehow: after all, he was the guy who wanted us out of Iraq, if I remember correctly. What is it that makes Libyans so much more attractive?

Why should the United States should go to war - and risk the lives of its military - for people whowould probably sprew anti-American hatred without even noticing it?

Nor can Kerry be influenced by the views expressed by at least one Libyan soldier-rebel. Apparently no fan of dithering, indecisive President Obama, the fellow said: "Bring Bush! Make a no fly zone, bomb the planes." He was apparently refering to the no-fly zone imposed on Iraq in 1991 by then U.S. President George Bush." (Thanks to Pamela Geller.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Seeing the silver lining

Joe convinced me that there is a silver lining to yesterday's Supreme Court's decision in favor of the Westboro military funeral protesters. The fact that the Court upheld the First Amendment in this case, he pointed out, makes it very unlikely that it would side with Islamists who argue that Americans shouldn't say anything that offends Muslims.

It's also true that the Supreme Court decision leaves intact the laws of 43 states requiring the protesters to remain at a certain distance from mourners. So I guess I'll just have to go on gnashing my teeth when I see those protesters on TV.

The decomposition of the Mideast

Here's my (informal) translation of an article in French by Guy Millette that caught my eye:

"The decomposition of the Mid-East

Nothing can tell yet when the fall will end. But what you can already say is that, when you look at the Arab world in several months, you will see not an advance toward democratization, but an advance toward Islamization.

These regimes will not match the dreams of Al Qaeda, of course. Politically correct people, for that reason, will call them 'post-Islamic', but that will not be accurate: these regimes will take as their model the AKP as it now behaves in Turkey.

The big winner will be the Iranian regime, which has added to Syria, its ally for 30 years, two new recruits, Turkey and Lebanon, now controlled by Hezbollah. The passage of Iranian war ships through the Red Sea, by the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and through the Suez Canal shows that the new rulers of Egypt, but also those in Saudi Arabia, know which way the wind is blowing.

The destabilization of Bahrain is orchestrated by Iran, as is that of Yemen. In the first case, it's a matter of controlling the Straits of Hormuz. In the second, what is in play is the strategic control of Bab el-Mandeb. Somalia, on the other coast of Bab el-Mandeb, is in the hands of pirates and members of Al Qaeda. Djibouti is under attack. The decomposition of Libya is itself the work of Islamists, and the abominable Qaddafi risks creating a state of chaos in which Islamic armed groups will enforce their own law, while tribalism takes the upper hand. Jordan is far from being stable.

The big loser will be Israel, which will find itself more isolated than ever, constrained to watch the Sinai border, and to discover a bit late that trading land for a piece of paper is worth nothing more than the value of that piece of paper.

The other big loser will be the United States which, 30 years after having lost Iran, is about to lose all its influence in the Mid-East.

Those who because of anti-Israelism or anti-Americanism, both strong sentiments in Europe, rejoice too much, must see that Europe itself will take some blows.

If the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb fall into the hands of hostile regimes, all trade with Asia will be affected, but also the price of energy. Any hopes of returning to growth, even weak growth, will evaporate. There will also be more immigrant surges from the Muslim world which will swell the existing immigrant masses in Europe.

Europe will be more Islamic, poorer, more shipwrecked. The Muslim world, which has no elements of cultural capital that contribute to economic development or individual liberty, will sink gently, with bouts of destructive violence.

This situation is already being followed attentively by Russia, where Putin sees all the short-term advantages for him: Russia being an energy exporter, it has an interest, as does Iran, in rising energy prices. China too is following the situation with attention, as its leaders also see short-term advantages.

Those who see in Obama an artisan of universal peace will perhaps wake up, but I doubt it: Those people tend invariably to believe the moon is made of green cheese. As for those who know that, when a U.S. president shows weakness and indecision, the world is more likely to see wars, explosions and the advance of tyrannies, their fears will be realized. Those who knew that Obama was a man of the far left and very open to Islam expected the worst from him. The worst is happening.

As things are going, in one term Obama may make the world less safe for liberty, while causing permanent damage to the United States.

I think Obama will have a place in history.

And don't tell me that I'm inciting anti-Americanism. I love the United States and liberty. That's why I deplore Obama as the first anti-American president of the United States and the first avowed enemy of liberty to have entered the White House."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Klavan on multiculturalism

If you want to learn all about multiculturalism in under three minutes, here's a short video by commentator Andrew Klavan that just 'bout sums it up - and you get to enjoy his dry wit at the same time.

Struggling to understand

OK, I know things look different from the inside, but here are some aspects of the U.S. response to the current crisis in Libya that are really bothering me.

-- First, our people wait three days on a ferry while the British send in a warship to evacuate theirs. Huh?

-- Second, the Administration now appears to be encouraging talk of using military muscle against Libyan leader Muamar Qaddafi. So...does that mean we'd be enforcing a no-fly zone to support Islamists revolting in the eastern part of the country? Do we really think that will win us their hearts and minds, perhaps the way we won the hearts and minds of jihadists in Afghanistan in the 1980s? Or confer some type of strategic benefit?

-- Third, does anyone in the Administration have any idea how to project military force, let alone the difference between projecting force and using it?

I console myself by saying that the world knows Obama is weak, so there is little he can do now to damage his image. But it's cold comfort.

Putting it all together

So what about the assumption that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the key - and an absolute requirement - for peace in the Mideast? And how can anyone make this argument with a straight face, given what's going on in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and elsewhere today? Well, Israeli-American commentator Caroline Glick has some ideas.

She compares the left's silence about the slaughter carried out by Vietnamese and Cambodian communists in the 1970s to the way in which the New York Times omitted the main point of the speech just made by Sheikh Qaradawi, the main 'spiritual leader' of the Muslim Brotherhood, in Cairo. After pointedly refusing to share the stage with the secular internet revolutionary leader Wael Gonim, Qaradawi called for the destruction of Israel.

Qaradawi is the most powerful Muslim 'spiritual' authority (yes, I put it in quotes because it sticks in my craw to call a purveyor of hatred 'spiritual') in the world today, so what he says matters a great deal. If you'd like to see him in action for yourself, here is a some short video from MEMRI (courtesy of Charles).

And, in case you're wondering whether virulent anti-Semitism is really that much of a problem, John Rosenthal has collected a series of pictures showing how Libyan demonstrators label their enemies, including Qaddafi, with the Star of David.

For decades, Arab rulers have deflected the anger of their citizens onto the United States and Israel. Those turkeys are now coming home to roost.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shame on the ABA

The Executive Council of the American Bar Association (ABA) has released a statement saying that it will set up a task force to back-stop those opposing anti-sharia laws in the United States. According to the statement: “The goal of the task force is to have a Report and Recommendation against such legislation as well as an informal set of 'talking points' that local opponents of these initiatives could use to make their case in each of these states.”

The ABA has since attempted to distance itself from this statement.

No, I am not making this up! If the ABA supports applying sharia law in America, I think it's time for a rival association to speak for American lawyers. If a majority of American lawyers don't agree with me, we're in even deeper trouble than I thought. (Thanks to CNS News.)

The Libyan opposition

Free-lance journalist John Rosenthal provides here some alarming Italian insights into the Libyan opposition. (The Italians have historically had close ties with Libya.)

-- Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini emphasizes Western ignorance concerning the nature of the opposition to Gaddafi, which includes the self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate of East Libya. “We do not know more [about it],” Frattini says, “But we know that they are dangerous. There are elements of al-Qaeda there. As consequence, in 2006 we decided to close the Italian consulate in Cyrenaica [eastern Libya].”

-- Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi reports that the opposition to Gaddafi in the eastern part of the country is itself armed. He saw former soldiers and police (now with the rebels) opening up “massive wooden crates containing bazookas and ammunition of all sorts of calibers.”

Rosenthal also notes that "the first images of protesters holding pictures of Gaddafi with Stars of David scrawled on them have also begun to appear." In other words, just because Gaddafi is bad doesn't make his enemies good guys.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Go, Allen, go!

Allen West, newly elected Congressman from Florida and retired Army lieutenant colonel, is my hero. In this video, watch him eviserate a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

West knows enough about the Koran and history to defend his point; he knows who attacked whom on September 11 and afterwards, and what they said as they did so; and he's fought overseas to defend Muslims from other Muslims. Also note that the crowd at this meeting is highly sympathetic to him.

Lara Logan

Remind me never to work for CBS. Here Phyllis Chesler tells about the gang assault on their correspondent Lara Logan in Tahrir Square and the multiculturalist cover-up undertaken by her employer and colleagues.

Warning: it's a really ugly story: you can read various commentators saying that the same thing goes on in America; that the attack shouldn't be discussed because right-wingers will exploit it, etc., etc. The facts remain: she was attacked for being an infidel woman, accused of being a Jew, gang-raped and beaten.

Chesler concludes: "While my heart is with the powerless, unorganized secular human rights activists in Tahrir Square and with their counterparts, especially in Iran, my fear is that the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. will simply capitalize on the chaos and gladly use the vote to get elected."

Yup, that 'bout sums it up.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sad but true

Here, thanks to Rachel, is an article by Ian Johnson recounting decades of vain U.S. efforts to woo the Muslim Brotherhood. The pattern began in the 1950s, when President Eisenhower hoped he could recruit the Brotherhood to fight the communists in the Middle East and keep European Muslims happy. Subsequently, as is better known, U.S. officials worked with Islamists to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan.

More recently, our flirtation with the Muslim Brotherhood resumed during the second Bush administration - despite concerns voiced by our allies - and continues under President Obama. Yet again, we apparently hope that they want what we want: a free and democratic society, with freedom of speech, press and religion.

As Johnson concludes: "Half a century ago, the West chose to make use of the Brotherhood for short-term tactical gain, later backing many of the authoritarian governments that were trying to wipe it out. Now, with those governments tottering, the West has no choice; after decades of oppression one of the few actors left standing is the Brotherhood, with its potent mixture of fundamentalism and modern political methods."

Initially President Bush concluded that, for decades, the United States had sacrificed support for Mideast democracy in order to get stability, but ended up with neither. I wish he had stuck to that thought, since it's the correct one. And I fear that Obama actually thinks the Brotherhood is our friend.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Abbas panics

So who's the guy with the most to lose, now Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has departed the scene? According to the Jerusalem Post, the most endangered politician may be Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Why? Well, for starters, "In the eyes of many Palestinians, Abbas is not much different than Hosni Mubarak and Zine al-Abidin Bin Ali. Like the two ousted dictators, Abbas has also been accused of being a 'puppet' in the hands of the Americans." Plus, "Mubarak supported Abbas against Hamas, Israel, the US and hostile Arab and Islamic regimes such as Syria and Iran."

Abbas is frantically shuffling his cabinet and calling elections. Neither action is likely to provide him succor. Unfortunately, it looks like Hamas is the big winner so far in Palestine's post-Mubarak sweepstakes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Islamists in their own words

One byproduct of the turmoil in Egypt is the focus on the Muslim Brotherhood. Some, including President Obama, appear to think that the Brotherhood is a legitimate political party; others disagree. Here are a couple of sources to help you decide for yourself.

-- First, thanks to Aylana via Facebook, here's a video of Tariq Ramadan, considered to be the most influential 'moderate' Muslim in France (and certainly a media star in his own right) offering up a prayer in Arabic. Ramadan's grandfather founded the Muslim Brotherhood, and his brother Hani publicly advocates stoning adulteresses. Tariq in his prayer calls for divine vengeance against all the enemies of Islam (hint: we're on the list).

-- Second, the Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch has translated excerpts from a book, Jihad is the Way, written by Mustafa Mashkur, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996 to 2002. His book explains the basic concepts of the Brotherhood's ideology. Among other things, it states that jihad is a religious public duty.

For years, there's been very little reporting on the Muslim Brotherhood in the Western press, and much of what was out there reflected the public face they project in Western languages. I think it's salutary that more and more people are finding out what the Brotherhood really stands for. After all, you can't advocate jihad and be dedicated to non-violence, can you?

Then, although perhaps I'm being overly optimistic, pressure will grow for the White House to seek advice only from non-Brotherhood affiliated Muslim groups. That, my friends, would be a tremendous advance, since right now the Brotherhood appears to have cornered the market.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Remember the movie about Iran and its nuclear weapons program that the Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore required be shown by the Canadian National Archives after the Iranian government tried to block it?

Well, for a limited time you can watch it here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bye-bye Abdallah

Last month I wrote that the Mega Mosque project near Ground Zero had a new spiritual advisor in the person of unsavory Imam Abdallah Adhami. Pamela Geller, the person who has been leading the opposition to the mosque, reports that Adhami has since quit this job. He says he did so to spend time writing a book; I suspect he became a liability once his links to various Islamists were exposed.

Why he did it

You may remember a horrifying crime in 2009 when Muazzamil Hassan, the owner of a Muslim TV station in Buffalo, decapitated his wife. His case recently went to trial; here psychologist Phyllis Chesler analyzes his motivation, based on his own words and on what she knows about how men treat women in Pakistan, where Hassan lived until he was 17.

Hassan's story, as Chesler recounts it, certainly seems crazy: "On February 12, 2009, immediately after stabbing his unarmed wife 40 times with two large hunting knives and then brutally beheading her, he became calm, relieved. For the first time in years, he felt 'peaceful.' Only then did he feel 'safe from the Evil Dragon Terrorist' which is how he referred to Aasiya Zubair Hassan, the wife he had viciously battered for seven years."

This perspective, however, turns out to be normal for Pakistani men. Chesler recounts in detail how women are treated in Pakistan; the story is not for those with weak stomachs. She closes by comparing Hassan's version of how his wife deserved what she got with how jihadi terrorists justify their actions.

Chesler's article is lengthy, but if you have time to read it, please do so - you won't feel you've wasted your time.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A message for the demonstrators in Egypt

Here's a message, forwarded to me by Rachel, that puts the relationship between Israel and any future Egyptian regime in a new perspective:

"Dear Egyptian demonstrators,

Please do not damage the pyramids. We will not rebuild.

The Jews"

Friday, February 4, 2011

Supporting dictators

So is U.S. Mideast policy based on supporting dictators, as Mideast expert Robert Kagan says? Another Mideast expert, Barry Rubin, strongly disagrees. He argues that in the past we have done the opposite: we encouraged the overthrow of tyrants like the King of Egypt in the 1950s or the Shah of Iran in the 1970s.

While Egypt does qualify as a dictatorship (regardless of whether Biden changes his mind), the United States does not support any of the other aspirants to that title: Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, or Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Although, as Rubin points out, President Obama is bent on reaching out to several of them.) In fact, he writes: "the U.S. government overthrew two dictatorships--in Iraq and Afghanistan--and helped make them into (imperfect) democracies."

I really worry about the current breathtaking naivete on display in U.S. policy toward Egypt. We apparently think that we can curry favor with the Egyptians by throwing Mubarak under the bus. Or that somehow, holding elections equals freedom and democracy. Doesn't anyone remember that Hitler was elected? Or Hamas? And what about all our other allies who now realize they too could be discarded?

The Egyptian 'street' has been fed for over a generation on a diet of anti-Zionism, anti-Americanism and all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories that aim to divert people from assigning blame where it belongs - with their own government. I'm not saying we should support Mubarak; I'd just like to ask: how many American Mideast experts supported former Secretary of State Condi Rice when she called publicly for more democracy in Egypt? Yup, the silence was deafening.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A double-header

All the snow is getting to me: here's a second humorous video, brought to my attention by Libby. I only ask that younger readers not snicker too loudly.

And, no, the next entries will be my usual dreary fare!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Joke time again

And you've earned it, if you've slogged through my recent entries.

Even if you haven't, try this short video, courtesy of a Facebook posting by Bridgett Wagner. It'll transform your opinion of the animal world...or maybe just confirm it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The phantom Eurabia?

Bill sent me this link to a Reuters article (it looks like an op-ed or blog entry, but is unsigned) that seeks to debunk any fears that Europe will become Eurabia, a Muslim-dominated continent, later in this century. The news hook is a new Pew survey that shows falling birth rates in Muslim countries - the Reuters piece argues that this finding undercuts all the fearmongers' claims.

My take on the piece?

-- These falling birth rates are no/no surprise; they've been reported for years. Indeed, had the Reuters author looked any further, he would have discovered the argument that, if Muslim is 'to conquer Europe through the wombs of its women,' now is a relatively narrow window of one generation in which to accomplish that.

-- Second, relative absolute growth rates do matter. Here's what the Pew summary actually states: "Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades – an average annual growth rate of 1.5% for Muslims, compared with 0.7% for non-Muslims." Such differentials can have a significant impact on politics and society - just look at the growth rate of the Hispanic population in the United States. And no one is predicting that the United States is about to become an Hispanic country.

-- I also object to the straw men used in the article, including an anonymous video which has been circulating on the internet. Several months ago, someone asked me about that video; I recommended against passing it on because the data was unreliable. There are, however, reputable sources reporting on the increase in Muslim populations in Europe; why didn't the Reuters piece include them?

-- Instead, a number of the links included in the article refer to pieces reporting on the loss of freedom of speech of critics of Islam. What does that have to do with Muslim birthrates? Several of these critics are now on trial in Europe; public information is available on those trials. The author apparently believes these critics deserve what they're getting, but he doesn't come out and say it. Nor does he defend such a position.

-- My final point? The Islamization of Europe does not depend on Muslims becoming the dominant demographic group. It happens much sooner, when non-Muslims start bowing to sharia, ceding their hard-won rights and liberties. That process is already well-underway, even if Reuters wants to pretend otherwise.

Social networking

I'd also like to enter a protest against all the media reports about the importance of social networking in Egypt. Of course Twitter is important; don't get me wrong. But somehow, people are acting as if no one ever knew how to communicate before this. Again, I go back to my experiences in Poland.

The Poles in 1980 remembered very clearly what happened during an uprising in the port city of Gdansk ten years before. The authorities blacked out communications and lied about the number of demonstrators killed. But people knew, and one of the first things that Solidarity did was to erect a monument to the Gdansk victims. There was also an active grapevine reporting on what the government was doing in 1980 and 1981.

Electrifying pictures of people in the streets are great but do little to explain all the other factors that Americans need to know but don't, since they pay little attention to the outside world.

Nor are such pictures likely to affect the official U.S. response. U.S. policy is based on a variety of factors which I don't pretend to understand in full. We told the Shah he needed to make reforms. A year later, we went out of our way not to offend Poland's communist government. When Ahmedinejad stole elections, we said nothing for almost a year. Now we're scolding Mubarak. You go figure.

So yes, I'm a Neanderthal. So do you have an issue with Neanderthals?

Poland and Egypt

Joe suggested that I compare what's going on in Egypt to what happened in Poland in 1980-81, when I was at the embassy there. That was when Solidarity was set up and, after several months of uncertainty and rising revolt against the Communist regime, martial law was declared. (Devotees of this blog - both of them - will remember that I made a similar comparison during the Iranian protests in 2009).

First, an obvious similarity: the regime is old, worn out, and people are disgusted with it and with their parlous economic situation. But remember: Solidarity was born in the summer of 1980; martial law was declared in March 1981, but the communist government lasted until the end of that decade. So Poles endured a long, painful time of repression after a peaceful, mass movement against the communist regime.

Second, a potential similarity to ponder: the Polish army was not about to attack Polish civilian demonstrators. When martial law was declared, the authorities relied instead on a special paramilitary force drawn from the scum of society and trained in secret for several months. So now the Egyptian police have evaporated and the army looks like it doesn't want to attack is there someone else out there? Maybe not, since this has all happened so quickly.

Third, a big difference: there was no force like the Muslim Brotherhood - a well-established group with lots of overseas links and, presumably, access to money and other resources. Solidarity was only created in 1980 and, despite any accusations you may have heard to the contrary, was not/not supported by the U.S. government or any other outsiders. While it was weak, it didn't have compete with another popular but very undemocratic and illiberal group.

Fourth, another big difference: Poland was one of several Warsaw Pact members who had sought to escape Soviet domination. Perhaps there was a shared anti-communist ideology, but nothing that compares to the aggressive Islamism that has spread in the Mideast and North Africa ever since the Iranian revolution in 1979. Poland was actually a leader: the Solidarity movement was the first ever mass movement of workers against a communist workers' paradise.

In sum, I don't see too many points of similarity between Poland then and Egypt now. Unfortunately.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

So what about Israel?

Assuming that the unrest in Egypt leads, sooner or later, to the departure of Hosni Mubarak from the scene, what does that mean for Israel? As American-Israeli commentator Caroline Glick argues, no matter what scenario you choose, the news is bad.

Essentially, for decades the Egyptian government has defended its highly unpopular peace treaty with Israel by tolerating if not promoting anti-semitism in Egypt which today has reached phenomenal levels.

At the same time, as part of the Camp David accords, for the last thirty years the United States has been arming and training the Egyptian military. As a result, she writes, "the Egyptian military today makes the military Israel barely defeated in 1973 look like a gang of cavemen. Egypt has nearly 300 F-16s. Its main battle tank is the M1A1 which it produces in Egypt. Its navy is largest in the region. Its army is twice the size of the IDF. Its air defense force constitutes a massive threat to the IAF. And of course, the ballistic missiles and chemical weapons it has purchased from the likes of North Korea and China give it a significant stand-off mass destruction capability."

So what about El Baradei, who is emerging as a likely rival to Mubarak? Well, he just spent years at the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency protecting Iran's nascent nuclear weapons program. And he is close to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which now appears to back him. In another report, Michel Garrote reports that Bedouins have attacked Egyptian police stations. They are suspected of acting as mercenaries and smuggling arms to Hamas, which has ties to Iran. In other words, many signs point to substantial Iranian meddling in Egyptian affairs.

If you add to this assessment the ascendancy of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel's mid-term prospects for avoiding war are bleak; those for achieving peace are less than zero.

Whither Egypt?

I just watched CNN coverage of the situation in Egypt, and could only marvel at their ability to assume a good outcome, and the casual way in which they treat the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization most likely to control the government if Hosni Mubarak disappears from the scene.

It's amazing: 'moderate' Islamists came to power in Turkey in 2002 and ever since then Turkey has headed slowly into the Islamic camp, distancing itself from the United States in favor of strategic alliances with Syria and Iran, closing down the media and opposition, fanning a hate campaign against Israel and the Jews. CNN (along with other media outlets) seems to have missed that chapter.

Now it's the turn of Egypt. Here's a sober analysis by Mideast scholar Barry Rubin. He notes that, unlike Tunisia, Egypt has a strong Islamist movement and a weak middle class. And Egyptian opinion polls show strong support for severe sharia punishments, and sympathy for terrorism.

Rubin concludes that, if a Muslim Brotherhood network comes to power in Egypt, the consequences for Israel and the Western democracies will be severe:

"renewed warfare, overwhelming anti-Americanism, efforts to spread revolution to other moderate states, a potential alignment with Iran and Syria (though that might not happen), incredible damage to Western interests. In short, a real disaster. What shocks me is that Western media and experts seem so carried away by this movement they are only considering a best-case outcome."

Monday, January 24, 2011

A grim view of France

Nidra Poller, a longtime American resident of France, offers a sobering view of French reality. She details a horrifying kaleidoscope of violent crime that French media hide from view and the French elite pretend desperately is not happening.

Excusing this behavior while failing to enforce French law at home, Poller says, is similar to the French attitude towards Israel and the Palestinians: "A compassionate discourse that excuses Palestinian atrocities against Israeli civilians as a reaction to 'injustice' also excuses French domestic criminality as payback for colonization, discrimination, exclusion, unemployment, and police harassment."

Nor does it help to deny the connection between Islamist demonstrators and the violence in the streets. The street thugs they thrive in the atmosphere of hatred of French state and society, and their mayhem advances Islamist objectives.

My advice: book your French vacation sooner rather than later!


Thanks to Leslie Merwin, who posted this link on Facebook, you can now learn about a new gadget that tells men what women really mean. Instead of slogging through my usual grim fare, take a moment to chuckle along with the video at the link.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A new face at the Mega Mosque

The group that wants to erect the Mega Mosque near Ground Zero in New York has a new senior adviser, Imam Abdallah Adhami. So what does he stand for? Pamela Geller, at the blog Atlas Shrugs, has researched that question and the answers are unsavory:

Among other things, he's an admirer of Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. As Wahhaj put it: "In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing, and the only thing that will remain will be Islam."

Meanwhile, Imam Rauf, the man most associated with the Mega Mosque, is going on a speaking tour to raise money. First stop: Keynote speaker in Detroit at the "Diversity Forum Banquet" of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

As WorldNetDaily points out: "ISNA is known for its enforcement of Saudi-style Islam in mosques throughout the U.S. It was named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in its case against the Holy Land Foundation in Texas, which was found guilty in 2008 of raising money for the Hamas terrorist organization."

These are not 'moderate' Muslims. Let me repeat that: these are not 'moderate' Muslims. Mayor Bloomberg needs to wake up to this fact.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Free speech abroad

Today I have two reports from the front in the global battle for free speech about Islam. Note that in both cases the battle is not between Muslims and Westerners, but between Western authorities and their citizens.

The first, by Dutch lawyer and historian Thierry Baudet, chronicles the torturous path of the trial against Dutch politician Geert Wilders (which I've reported on before). In the first round, public prosecutor Paul Velleman refused to prosecute because he did not consider that various statements made by Wilders (comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf or calling Islam a violent religion) had broken the law. Then judges on the Court of Appeal essentially ruled that Wilders was guilty of hate speech and incitement to discrimination - in other words, pronounced him guilty, not even bothering to preserve any illusion of the presumption of innocence. The District Court in Amsterdam gave in to this pressure and brought Wilders to trial.

At the trial, Vellemans stuck to his original position. The judges disagreed. The trial continued until their bias became so evident that they were dismissed from the case. Wilders isn't out of the woods yet, though, as the case will be retried at some future point.

Nor is Wilders physically safe. As Baudet notes: "while Wilders’s remarks have aroused no social disorder of the sort that the Dutch laws were intended to prevent, he himself receives continual death threats and lives under permanent police protection."

The second case involves the National Archives of Canada. It cancelled the showing of Iranium, a new movie about Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, after receiving threats and two suspicious letters. (Watch the Iranium trailer here.) Fortunately, Canada's Heritage Minister James Moore then stepped in, arguing that cancelation was the equivalent of censorship and ordering the Archives to show the film. So far no date has been set.

How, one wonders would U.S. courts or public prosecutors handle a case similar to either of the ones above? Somehow I can't see Attorney General Holder, President Obama, or New York Mayor Bloomberg rising to the defense of free speech if that speech risked offending Muslims. Can you?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's going on in Turkey?

Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan, who has been doing his best to turn Turkey into an Islamist state, was booed out of a soccer stadium he had helped to build. As Mideast scholar Barry Rubin describes it, "The [TV] announcer, well-known journalist Mehmet Ali Birand, is in shock at an unprecedented display of antagonism toward the regime that has been trying to fundamentally transform Turkey from its traditional status as a secular republic and reverse its long-time alliances with the West in favor of aligning with Iran, Syria, and revolutionary Islamist terrorist groups."

There has been a long series of anti-Western, pro-Islamist statements and actions from the Turkish government for some time now. It's too soon to know if this incident will be followed by others - but I certainly hope so.

Revolt in Tunisia

Now that crowds of angry people have chased out Tunisian dictator Ben Ali, what happens next? French blogger Guy Milliere worries that the situation is very fragile. He gives the Tunisians a 10% chance of achieving a peaceful democracy and a 90% chance either of a military takeover or chaos from which the Islamists will profit.

His reasons? First, the Islamists made a push in Tunisia ten years ago (and were beaten back by Ben Ali), and are ever more strident in Algeria, Egypt and Lebanon. Second, the uprisings were due to economic problems that, in the current global economic situation, are unlikely to improve. Indeed, unrest will only drive away tourists, further depressing the Tunisian economy. And all those educated, unemployed young people will still be completely frustrated.

Milliere hopes he's wrong and I hope so too but, as the military say, 'hope is not a plan.'

Monday, January 10, 2011

Warming to my topic

Jean-Patrick Grumberg, a dissident French blogger, describes here a demonstration in central Paris on December 26 by what he calls Islamo-Palestinian groups celebrating the second anniversary of the Gaza conflict. A small group from the LDF (Jewish Defense League) mounted a counter-protest.

The blog entry includes a video in which a young veiled woman holds up an Arabic flag, saying "you see this flag, and soon it will fly over the Elysee [Palace of the President of France]." Another voice tells an LDF member to "go away, dirty Frenchman of sh---y origin."

At the risk of being too long, here's my (very) informal translation of Grumberg's analysis of these remarks and of the situation in general:

"Two short sentences which show that on French soil, the enemies of Israel and the enemies of the French are the same over-excited people. Two short phrases which show a confident Islam, sure of its imminent victory, sure that France already belongs to it, already strong enough to announce proudly, in the heart of Paris and without any complex, its political goal: the taking of power in France.

The pretentious assurance of these Muslims is of course nourished by the complicity of the French and European governments, by the complicity of the Left parties (who are, as if by accident, equally hysterically anti-Zionist) and, alas, by the passive resignation of the French who have been deprived of any democratic means of expressing their opinion. This portends nothing good. Beyond that, it poses three questions:

1) Given the Muslims who proudly announce that their flag will soon fly over the Elysee, how does one describe the French people who support them? Traitors of the nation? Autistic? 'Care bears' who think that everything is greatly exaggerated in order to frighten people? The anti-racists who think these demonstrations are delusions used by the extreme right to fuel its populist demagogy?

2) Will there be a moment when the French will look reality in the face, or has reality become 'Islamically incorrect'?

3) You have seen the video, you have seen the arrogance of the young woman. Now imagine that same young woman, had Israel been defeated. And ask this question: on which side would it be better for the people of the (still) free world to be, in terms of their own interest? On the side of Israel, or of the Palestinians?"

Anyone who claims that the French have the 'Muslim problem' under control should watch this video, or another one linked to my earlier entry.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jews leaving Europe?

David Rusin of Islamist Watch reports that a number of Jews are leaving Europe to escape the rising tide of antisemitism, reflected in a general atmosphere of fear as well as physical attacks on Jews. The danger stems primarily from Muslim youths, although traditional far-right groups are also involved.

He cites examples from the Netherlands, where EU Commissioner Fritz Bolkestein said Jews had no future because of "the anti-Semitism among Dutchmen of Moroccan descent, whose numbers keep growing," and Sweden, where the 700 Jews remaining in the city of Malmo experience frequent hate crimes. The population of Malmo is now 20% Muslim.

As Rusin writes: "It has become fashionable to equate the plight of today's Muslim population in Europe with that of the continent's oppressed Jews during the 1930s. However, one can tell which group faces the real threat in modern Europe by watching migratory trends. While European governments are planning fences to keep Muslims from entering illegally, Jews are exiting in droves. People vote with their feet."

This is the second time in the last five to ten years that there has been a reported uptick in Jewish emigration from Europe. I don't know the exact numbers, but things do appear to be deteriorating.