Wednesday, 1 July 2015
We Have a Winner!
Keith Simmonds has won our crossword competition for June. Congratulations Keith!
Keep playing everyone.
Posted on 07/01/2015 11:34 AM by NER
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
The Ideological Gutting of American Foreign Policy
It was clear on the morning of September 11, 2001, that the United States was at war with Islamic radicals, and while there may have been differences of opinion regarding strategy, there was no denying the need to defeat doctrinal terrorism. But as the U.S. became mired in foreign wars, critics questioned whether its actions were achieving the goal, and ultimately whether the goal was even justified. Voices on the left falsely claimed that Arab-Muslim extremism was an understandable response to western chauvinism, and instead of condemning terrorists for their actions, they started blaming the victims for allegedly insulting Islam.
We saw it with the Charlie Hebdo massacre, when progressive pundits blamed free expression for inciting violence instead of the ideology that sanctified the killing of “infidels,” “heretics” and “blasphemers.” Such attitudes arise from a perverse political correctness that elevates radical sensitivities over western cultural values. But how can secular apologists defer to a doctrine that repudiates liberal democratic traditions? How can they dignify claims of blasphemy against those who criticize beliefs they don’t consider sacred?
These questions were discussed at a program in Massachusetts entitled, “Freedom Isn't Free: From the Greatest Generation to the Challenges of Today," featuring former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, former CIA Operations Officer Clare Lopez and retired Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons, Jr., who provided insight into how such issues affect government policy.
Progressives who reflexively condemn religion in politics or any perceived trespass of faith into the affairs of state are strangely silent when the religion is Islam. Incongruously, they often discourage free speech to avoid insulting radical beliefs.
The panel agreed that such muddled thinking influences the Obama administration’s views regarding national security and foreign policy...
CONTINUE READING AT http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/17156#.VZPjEPlViko
Posted on 07/01/2015 8:52 AM by Matthew Hausman
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Should Israel Help the Syrian Druze?
“Well, that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into,” said Oliver Hardy to Stan Laurel in many of their comedy films. Less humorously, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be saying that to Sheikh Muafak Tarif, the leader of the Druze community in Israel. Netanyahu’s new dilemma is whether, and to what extent, Israel should intervene to protect the Druze community, directly and indirectly, living in Syria.
Little attention has recently been paid to the Druze community in the Middle East. The Druze religion, a monotheistic one stemming from the eleventh century, is not Muslim, but rather incorporates a mixture of different elements from different faiths. It has a secretive theology concealed from outsiders.
The Druze number about 1.5 million, divided mostly among a number of countries: Lebanon, 215,000 of whom many are in the region of Mount Lebanon; Syria, with an estimated 600,000, three percent of the population, living in about 120 villages; and Israel, with smaller numbers elsewhere.
Israel contains about 130,000 Druze, of whom 20,000 are in the Golan Heights and the rest in Galilee. At the request of their communal leaders, since 1957 they are regarded as a distinct ethnic community. Those Druze speak Arabic and play a significant role in all aspects of Israeli life. They serve in the Israel Defense Forces, in elite units, and at one point in an official Druze battalion. A high proportion of senior commissioned officers are Druze, as are a number of combat pilots in the Israeli Air Force. Druze have served in the Knesset, with one on one occasion in February 2007 serving as acting president. They have been government ministers, ambassadors and diplomats, and senior members of the police force, and one was even a finalist in the Miss Israel beauty pageant.
The Druze in the Golan Heights still see themselves as Syrians, though Israel controls the area. They are loyal to Syria and have been mainly supportive of the regime of President Assad, fighting against the insurgent rebels, and perhaps believing that the regime is their only real protector.
Though the U.N. Human Rights Council, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Alice Walker appear unaware of it, Israel has been providing medical treatment in a field hospital in the Golan Heights, and sending more serious cases to medical centers in Israel itself, for hundreds of Syrians, now more than 2,000, who have been wounded in the brutal war. Israel has not refused medical treatment to any wounded Syrian approaching its lines. In addition, Israel has been sending food and water across the 1967 armistice dividing line with Syria.
But no good deed goes unpunished. By giving humanitarian aid and medical assistance, Israel stands accused by the Israeli Druze of helping the al-Nusra terrorists who are fighting the Assad regime, and who are hostile to Syrian Druze.
The accusation led to two attacks on Israel Defense Force ambulances carrying wounded Syrians, suspected by the Druze of belonging to al-Nusra, to Israeli hospitals. Early in June 2015, the Israeli Druze expressed concern about the advances of jihadist rebels in southern Syria, especially the massacre on June 10, 2015 of 20 Syrian Druze civilians in a village in northwest Syria by the al-Nusra Front group, an al-Qaeda affiliate. The al-Nusra terrorists threaten the southern Syrian village of Hadar, a few hundred yards from the 1967 ceasefire line, the last Druze town held by the Assad regime. Druze in Golan protested that Israel had not protected the village, even though the Druze in Hadar remain loyal to the Assad regime.
On June 22, 2015, a Druze mob, in Horfish in Israel, stopped an Israeli ambulance that was taking wounded Syrians to the medical facility at the field hospital in the Golan Heights and threw rocks at it. Later that day, 150 Druze residents at Majdal Shams in Golan stopped another Israeli ambulance and attacked two Syrians inside who were being taken to hospital, killing one of them. Israeli officials condemned the attacks on the ambulances; the Syrian government praised them. The attacks indeed are counterproductive and may well ignite Syrian extremists to take revenge.
The Druze lobby in Israel has pressured the government to act. Israel’s dilemma is that it has remained neutral in the brutal war in Syria, though it has probably given some aid to anti-Assad fighters. Intervention may mean helping not only the Assad regime, but also Hezb’allah, a group that supports Assad. The dilemma is whether Israel should yield to the pleas of Israel Druze who have been loyal to the State of Israel.
It is not an easy choice, but Israel has a moral obligation to help the Syrian Druze and prevent terrorist attacks on them. As the Assad regime weakens, the danger to the Druze grows from the Islamist insurgent forces. Israel may consider responding in four ways. It should maintain a humanitarian safe zone along the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. It should accept into Israel those members of the Syrian Druze who are in or fear danger for their lives. It should keep providing medical assistance for the Syrian wounded even though there is no official peace treaty between Israel and Syria. But above all, even though Israel must remain vigilant in the face of terrorism, it should not become involved in the Syrian war that has already taken so many lives.
First published in the American Thinker.
Posted on 07/01/2015 7:48 AM by Michael Curtis
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Through a Glass, Dishonestly
The attack on a tourist beach in Tunisia, which left 38 tourists dead, had a certain logic from the Leninist as well as from the Islamist point of view. The worse the better, said Lenin: the worse being the wretchedness of the condition in which people were forced to live, the better being the revolution consequent upon those conditions.
Tunisia is largely dependent economically on its tourist industry, which had already been much affected by political upheavals of the Arab Spring and the attack in March on the Bardo Museum that left 22 tourists dead. Arrivals from France, the most important market for Tunisian holidays, were already down 65 percent from the previous year; tourists like sun, sea and sites, but not at the cost of their lives.
Tourism can survive a dictatorship such as that of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled the country until 2011, but not a democratically elected government that cannot guarantee security. This attack will therefore achieve two goals for the Islamists: it will make the government more repressive, but in all likelihood ineffectually so, thus earning it the hatred and disdain of the populace. And it will cause severe damage to the Tunisian economy, rendering the economically desperate more likely to listen to extremists and believe that Islamism is a solution to their problems. When chaos comes, people prefer anyone or anything that can re-impose order; where there is anarchy, the most ruthless get to rule. And no one can deny the Islamists their ruthlessness.
Whether or not a connection can be proved between the beheading in France and the attacks on a Shia mosque in Kuwait that were done on the same day as the butchery in Tunisia, few people will resist the idea that they were connected, ideologically if not organizationally, and that such terrorists pose a worldwide threat.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack in Tunisia, the British Prime Minister (whose compatriots were the most numerous among the dead), David Cameron, made a statement in which he reiterated, among other things, that Islam was a religion of peace. He was under no pressure, except that of his own pusillanimity, to say any such thing, which is in flat contradiction both to history and to the state of the world today. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt would not have said anything as stupid or as cowardly.
Supposing that, after the attack on the church in South Carolina by Dylann Roof, someone had said, “This had nothing to do with real racism; real racists are peace-loving people who would never dream of such an attack. All they want is a peaceful world in which whites rule and blacks know their place as racial dhimmis.” What would we think of such a person? What would we think of the implication that, even were it not for his racist ideology, Dylann Roof would still have attacked the church and killed nine people? It is indeed the case that most racists do not attack black churches—otherwise, such attacks would be far more numerous than they are. But to say that Dylann Roof was not motivated by his racism would be absurd.
At the very least, leadership should not knowingly propound blatant untruths. Of course it is true that most Muslims are peaceful and want to get on with their lives; the same is true of almost everyone, including Marxists. It is blatantly obvious that not all terrorists are Muslim; but when they are Muslim, their religious ideas are a necessary precondition of their acts.
First published in City Journal.
Posted on 07/01/2015 7:44 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Goodbye Female Equality, Or, You Silly, Silly People
Posted on 07/01/2015 5:47 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Palestinian Authority Head Admits "Palestinian People" Don't Exist
Daniel Greenfield writes at FP:
The Palestinians are one of the more ridiculous historical hoaxes. If you believe the media, they're an ancient distinct people with a historical claim on the land of Israel.
In reality they're a collection of invaders, colonists and migrants. A sizable group among them, the Afro-Palestinians, are African Muslims who arrived there in the 20th century to fight against Israel.
Many other Arab Muslims came to work in industries created by the British Mandate. The entire thing became more convoluted when Jordan was split off under one of the Hashemite kings creating a country full of the same Arab Muslims, but who are deemed not to be Palestinians, even though Jordan is in fact full of "Palestinians". It got sillier when Jordan seized parts of Israel and annexed them, at which point the "Palestinians" there ceased to be "Palestinians" who needed national rights, but became "Palestinians" again once Israel liberated the area.
But this has to be denied because otherwise the mandate for a "Palestinian State" collapses. Sometimes though the truth slips out.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has described Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs as "one people living in two states," during a meeting with the head of the Jordan Football Association on Tuesday. Bethlehem-based Maan News cited the Jordanian al-Ghad newspaper as saying that Abbas arrived in Jordan from Doha along with several other senior PA officials, including its intelligence chief Majid Faraj. The Arabic-language Al-Quds news outlet directly quoted Abbas, who it said "stressed that the relationship between Jordan and Palestine is the relationship of 'one people living in two states,' adding that this relationship will not be affected by anything."
That's somewhat literally true. But still rather limited. The Hamas Foreign Minister was more honest about it.
Personally, half my family is Egyptian. We are all like that. More than 30 families in the Gaza Strip are called Al-Masri [“Egyptian”]. Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis. Who are the Palestinians? We have many families called Al-Masri, whose roots are Egyptian. Egyptian! They may be from Alexandria, from Cairo, from Dumietta, from the North, from Aswan, from Upper Egypt. We are Egyptians. We are Arabs. We are Muslims. We are a part of you.
If only they would go home.
Posted on 07/01/2015 5:21 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield