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?