Sydney, Australia: Solidarity Rally Planned For 2 August 2014, On Behalf of The Christians of Iraq
If Islamoaware persons reading this notice as of today Thursday 31 July 2014, Australian time, live in or near Sydney, NSW, Australia or will be in Sydney on Saturday 2 August 2014, that is, this coming Saturday, you are strongly encouraged to attend the rally that is being held on behalf of the Christians in Iraq, whose plight grows ever more desperate.
The ABC news report on the driving-out of the Christians of Mosul by the thoroughly-orthodox Muslims of ISIS, which you may read here:
They write "We call on Australian Christians of all denominations, human rights activists, the media, elected officals and all individuals concerned about the welfare of Iraq's imperilled minorities, to attend this protest and rally in support of these beleaguered communities.
"We also urge people to raise awareness of the plight of Iraqi Christians and to communicate this protest to their friends, colleagues, sympathetic individuals, churches and other relevant organisations, whether through mass meetings, or online social media".
Those intending to attend are to meet at Sydney Central Train Station at 9 am on August 2nd; the march will depart on foot from Central Station at 10 am, to undertake a 35 minute walk from Central to Martin Place, where a rally with speeches, etc, will take place from 11 am to 1 pm .
Please, please, please, any Aussie non-Muslims reading this who reside in Sydney or within reasonable travelling distance; be there.
It is my hope and prayer that the Catholic and Anglican Archbishops of Sydney with their bishops and other clergy will see fit to take part, to show solidarity with the Persecuted Church.
Read between the lines of "the two versions." If nearly as many policemen were killed as were Uighur protesters, then if you are familiar with how protected the police are, you can imagine the violence of those Uighurs.
And it is a Han lady who is afraid to go out -- afraid, that is, of the rampaging Uighurs.
You know whose side you are on. Don't even pretend for one minute to deplore how the Chinese government behaves. These are Muslim Uighurs, not Tibetans
Bank accounts belonging to Finsbury Park Mosque and other Muslim groups are being closed down by a major bank amid concerns about money laundering for crime and terrorism, it has emerged.
HSBC notified a number of Islamic groups within the last few days that their accounts would be terminated, leading to accusations of “Islamophobia”.
Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, which was known as a centre of radical Islamist preaching by the cleric Abu Hamza in the 1990s and early 2000s, received a letter from HSBC which said its account was being closed. The letter said the mosque’s business no longer fitted the HSBC’s “risk appetite” but offered no other explanation.
Khalid Oumar, one of the trustees of the mosque, told the BBC they had not been told why the account was being closed and added: “That has led us to believe that the only reason this has happened is because of an Islamophobic campaign targeting Muslim charities in the UK."
Activist Anas Altikriti, chief executive of the Cordoba Foundation, said he met a 'wall of silence' after he was told the account he held with his wife and two sons for 30 years would be shut down.
'When you are left with no explanation, you are left to speculate, from the whole context of the other organisations that have been targeted, I would speculate that it is because of my activism either for Gaza or for the Palestinians.’
Meanwhile, the Ummah Welfare Trust (UWT) was told its account will be closed after two months in a letter from the bank dated July 22, in which HSBC said: 'Provision of banking services to Ummah Welfare Trust now falls outside of our risk appetite.' It is not the first time it has had its bank accounts shut down - Barclays did the same during the conflict in Gaza in 2008.
Trustee Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad, in a video statement on the site, also called on its supporters to join in a 'campaign to boycott HSBC'.
The bank was also criticised on Twitter. Nav Abbasi said: 'HSBC is a racist organisation discriminating against people. Another user, writing under the name Misteclatmer, added: 'HSBC are a bunch of racists'.
Some HSBC customers have even decided to voluntarily close their accounts in protest at the controversial new policy. Sarah Chowdhury said: 'No need for a letter, HSBC. I’ll close my account myself.'
In a statement HSBC said: "We do not discuss relationships we may or may not have with a customer, nor confirm whether an individual or business is, or has been a customer. Discrimination against customers on grounds of race or religion is immoral, unacceptable and illegal, and HSBC has comprehensive rules and policies in place to ensure race or religion are never factors in banking decisions."
The bank has not responded to Civil Society News’ inquiry as to how many organisations have been told their accounts will be closed.
Tower Hamlets's Muslim mayor Lutfur Rahman has prompted angry protests after raising the Palestinian flag over the town hall "in solidarity with Gaza". Just 24 hours after it emerged Mr Rahman is to face trial over claims he committed widespread voting fraud, he ordered the flag to fly "in support of a ceasefire and peace".
Jewish leaders condemned the move as "destructive" for community relations as local residents said the council should concentrate on 'potholes and bins' and not international conflicts.
The move risks angering the Jewish community in the east London borough and fuelling divisions in a borough increasingly used to making headlines for the wrong reasons. A recent review found the council's handling of the local and European election count was 'inadequate'.
Previous motions by councillors to have the flag raised in Tower Hamlets have failed repeatedly but today's move came under the directly elected mayor's executive powers.
Tower Hamlets was once home to tens of thousands of Jews who had fled pogroms in Europe in the 19th century however today very few Jews live in the area. One who does is Cllr Peter Golds, the leader of the Tory opposition group and who has previously complained of being called "Zionist scum". This in the council chamber, by other councillors who, while usually conducting business in Bengali are prepared to use English for the purpose of insults.
He said in reaction to today's move: "I'd have thought a council which has a problem counting votes had better things to concentrate on than conducting foreign policy."
Tory party chairman Grant Shapps told MailOnline: "This is an administration that cannot even organise their own election count, let alone intervene on foreign affairs in the Middle East.
Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "Mayor Rahman should remember that he is flying a flag from a British town hall in support of an organisation that is regarded across Europe and the world as terrorist. It is totally inappropriate. It is also destructive of relations between the communities that make up our capital city."
Already this month there have been angry rows about Preston Town Council and Bradford Council flying the Palestinian flag. David Israel of the Leeds Jewish community said the Preston council was wrong to take sides in the conflict. "Innocent Israeli civilians have suffered through war and conflict," he told the BBC. "If you're going to put up one flag you need to put up the other flag to show support for innocent civilians on both sides on the conflict."
"Death To The Jews" And The Hitler Salute, And The Black Flag Of Islam
It happened during a demonstration in The Hague, and the Mayor of The Hague, van Aartsen, ordered no arrests, felt that "no lines were crossed." Outrage followed, and thousands have signed a petition demanding his removal.
The hatred is of two kinds -- the classical Western antisemitism, and Muslim antisemitism. The latter is now far more important, all over the West, but it offers a kind of local support group for the Muslims who have moved themselves in, all over the Western world. There is not one antisemitism; there are antisemitisms. These two forms differ in their origins (Muslim antisemitism is a subset of anti-Infidel hatred, directed at all non-Musliims), but the result is the same murderous one.
" In the Fall Semester of that particular year (1950), the enrolment in the Russian Language courses consisted of one student, plump and earnest Betty Bliss, in the Transitional Group, one, a mere name (Ivan Dub, who never materialized) in the Advanced, and three in the flourishing Elementary: Josephine Malkin, whose grandparents had been born in Minsk; Charles McBeth, whose prodigious memory had already disposed of ten languages and was prepared to entomb ten more; and languid Eileen Lane, whom somebody had told that by the time one had mastered the Russian alphabet onecould practically read 'Anna Karamazov' in the original." --- from Pnin, by Vladimir Nabokov
America’s four-decade war on drugs is responsible for many casualties, but the criminalization of marijuana has been perhaps the most destructive part of that war. The toll can be measured in dollars — billions of which are thrown away each year in the aggressive enforcement of pointless laws. It can be measured in years — whether wasted behind bars or stolen from a child who grows up fatherless. And it can be measured in lives — those damaged if not destroyed by the shockingly harsh consequences that can follow even the most minor offenses.
In October 2010, Bernard Noble, a 45-year-old trucker and father of seven with two previous nonviolent offenses, was stopped on a New Orleans street with a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. His sentence: more than 13 years.
At least he will be released. Jeff Mizanskey, a Missouri man, was arrested in December 1993, for participating (unknowingly, he said) in the purchase of a five-pound brick of marijuana. Because he had two prior nonviolent marijuana convictions, he was sentenced to life without parole.
Outrageously long sentences are only part of the story. The hundreds of thousands of people who are arrested each year but do not go to jail also suffer; their arrests stay on their records for years, crippling their prospects for jobs, loans, housing and benefits. These are disproportionately people of color, with marijuana criminalization hitting black communities the hardest.
Meanwhile, police departments that presumably have far more important things to do waste an enormous amount of time and taxpayer money chasing a drug that two states have already legalized and that a majority of Americans believe should be legal everywhere.
A Costly, Futile StrategyThe absurdity starts on the street, with a cop and a pair of handcuffs. As the war on drugs escalated through the 1980s and 1990s, so did the focus on common, low-level offenses — what became known as “broken windows” policing. In New York City, where the strategy was introduced and remains popular today, the police made fewer than 800 marijuana arrests in 1991. In 2010, they made more than 59,000.
Nationwide, the numbers are hardly better. From 2001 to 2010, the police made more than 8.2 million marijuana arrests; almost nine in 10 were for possession alone. In 2011, there were more arrests for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes put together.
The costs of this national obsession, in both money and time, are astonishing. Each year, enforcing laws on possession costs more than $3.6 billion, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. It can take a police officer many hours to arrest and book a suspect. That person will often spend a night or more in the local jail, and be in court multiple times to resolve the case. The public-safety payoff for all this effort is meager at best: According to a 2012 Human Rights Watch report that tracked 30,000 New Yorkers with no prior convictions when they were arrested for marijuana possession, 90 percent had no subsequent felony convictions. Only 3.1 percent committed a violent offense.
The strategy is also largely futile. After three decades, criminalization has not affected general usage; about 30 million Americans use marijuana every year. Meanwhile, police forces across the country are strapped for cash, and the more resources they devote to enforcing marijuana laws, the less they have to go after serious, violent crime. According to F.B.I. data, more than half of all violent crimes nationwide, and four in five property crimes, went unsolved in 2012.
The Racial Disparity
The sheer volume of law enforcement resources devoted to marijuana is bad enough. What makes the situation far worse is racial disparity. Whites and blacks use marijuana at roughly the same rates; on average, however, blacks are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession, according to a comprehensive 2013 report by the A.C.L.U.
In Iowa, blacks are 8.3 times more likely to be arrested, and in the worst-offending counties in the country, they are up to 30 times more likely to be arrested. The war on drugs aims its firepower overwhelmingly at African-Americans on the street, while white users smoke safely behind closed doors.
Only about 6 percent of marijuana cases lead to a felony conviction; the rest are often treated as misdemeanors resulting in fines or probation, if the charges aren’t dismissed completely. Even so, every arrest ends up on a person’s record, whether or not it leads to prosecution and conviction. Particularly in poorer minority neighborhoods, where young men are more likely to be outside and repeatedly targeted by law enforcement, these arrests accumulate. Before long a person can have an extensive “criminal history” that consists only of marijuana misdemeanors and dismissed cases. That criminal history can then influence the severity of punishment for a future offense, however insignificant.
While the number of people behind bars solely for possessing or selling marijuana seems relatively small — 20,000 to 30,000 by the most recentestimates, or roughly 1 percent of America’s 2.4 million inmates — that means nothing to people, like Jeff Mizanskey, who are serving breathtakingly long terms because their records contained minor previous offenses. Nor does it mean anything to the vast majority of these inmates who have no history of violence (about nine in 10, according to a 2006 study). And as with arrests, the racial disparity is vast: Blacks are more than 10 times as likely as whites to go to prison for drug offenses. For those on probation or parole for any offense, a failed drug test on its own can lead to prison time — which means, again, that people can be put behind bars for smoking marijuana.
Even if a person never goes to prison, the conviction itself is the tip of the iceberg. In a majority of states, marijuana convictions — including those resulting from guilty pleas — can have lifelong consequences for employment, education, immigration status and family life.
In some states, a felony conviction can result in a lifetime ban on voting, jury service, or eligibility for public benefits like food stamps. People can be fired from their jobs because of a marijuana arrest. Even if a judge eventually throws the case out, the arrest record is often available online for a year, free for any employer to look up.
Correcting an Old Inequity
As recently as the mid-1970s, politicians and the public generally agreed that marijuana abuse was handled better by treatment than by prosecution and incarceration. Jimmy Carter ran for president and won while supporting decriminalization. But that view lost out as the war on drugs broadened and intensified, sweeping marijuana along with it.
In recent years, public acceptance of marijuana has grown significantly. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia now permit some form of medical marijuana, and Colorado and Washington fully legalized it for recreational use in 2012. And yet even as “ganjapreneurs” scramble to take economic advantage, thousands of people remain behind bars, or burdened by countless collateral punishments that prevent them from full and active membership in society.
In a March interview, Michelle Alexander, a law professor whose book, “The New Jim Crow,” articulated the drug war’s deeper costs to black men in particular, noted the cruel paradox at play in Colorado and Washington. She pointed to “40 years of impoverished black kids getting prison time for selling weed, and their families and futures destroyed,” and said, “Now, white men are planning to get rich doing precisely the same thing?”
As pioneers in legalization, those two states should set a further example by providing relief to people convicted of crimes that are no longer crimes, including overturning convictions. A recent ruling by a Colorado appeals court overturned two 2011 convictions because of the changed law, and the state’s Legislature has enacted laws in the last two years to give courts more power to seal records of drug convictions and to make it easier for defendants to get jobs and housing after a conviction. These are both important steps into an uncharted future.
Jewish Youth of Vienna Send a Message of Solidarity with Israel
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The Jewish Youth of Vienna gathered in the Stephanplatz before the Cathedral, the city center. The result was this stunning graphic message of soldiarity with fellow Jews in Israel.
Watch this You Tube video and make sure that you send it far and wide, especially to the media:
The idea that one of Hamas’s main command bunkers is located beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is one of the worst-kept secrets of the Gaza war. So why aren’t reporters in Gaza ferreting it out? The precise location of a large underground bunker equipped with sophisticated communications equipment and housing some part of the leadership of a major terrorist organization beneath a major hospital would seem to qualify as a world-class scoop—the kind that might merit a Pulitzer, or at least a Polk.
So why isn’t the fact that Hamas uses Shifa Hospital as a command post making headlines? In part, it’s because the location is so un-secret that Hamas regularly meets with reporters there. On July 15, for example, William Booth of the Washington Post wrote that the hospital “has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices.” Back in 2006, PBS even aired a documentary showing how gunmen roam the halls of the hospital, intimidate the staff, and deny them access to protected locations within the building—where the camera crew was obviously prohibited from filming. Yet the confirmation that Hamas is using Gaza City’s biggest hospital as its de facto headquarters was made in the last sentence of the eighth paragraph of Booth’s story—which would appear to be the kind of rookie mistake that is known in journalistic parlance as “burying the lede.”
But Booth is no rookie—he’s an experienced foreign reporter, which means that he buried the lede on purpose. Why? Well, one reason might be that the “security sources” quoted whenever the location of the Hamas command bunker is mentioned—which, as evidenced by this 2009 article by the excellent and highly experienced foreign correspondent Steven Erlanger of the New York Times, happens every time there’s a war in Gaza—are obviously Israelis, not members of Hamas. It might be hard to believe the Israelis, the simple logic might run, since they obviously have an investment in arguing that Hamas is using hospitals and schools as human shields.
The Israelis are so sure about the location of the Hamas bunker, however, not because they are trying to score propaganda points, or because it has been repeatedly mentioned in passing by Western reporters—but because they built it. Back in 1983, when Israel still ruled Gaza, they built a secure underground operating room and tunnel network beneath Shifa hospital—which is one among several reasons why Israeli security sources are so sure that there is a main Hamas command bunker in or around the large cement basement beneath the area of Building 2 of the Hospital, which reporters are obviously prohibited from entering.
Hamas obviously has no interest in having a photo-layout of one of its command bunkers beneath Shifa Hospital splashed on the front pages of newspapers. After all, such pictures would show that the organization uses the sick and wounded of Gaza as human shields while launching missiles against Israeli civilians. What Hamas wants is for reporters to use very different pictures from Shifa—namely, photos of Palestinians killed and wounded by Israelis, which make Palestinians look like innocent victims of wanton Israeli brutality.
To that end, the rules of reporting from Shifa Hospital are easy for any newbie reporter to understand: No pictures of members of Hamas with their weapons inside the hospital, and don’t go anywhere near the bunkers, or the operating rooms where members of Hamas are treated. While reporters can meet with members of Hamas inside the hospital—because it’s obviously convenient for everyone—they are not allowed to take pictures. Reporters inside Gaza who are risking their lives to bring the world whatever news they can should hardly be blamed for obeying Hamas’s media rules, which the organization has helpfully written down in case anyone has doubts about what they are permitted to show.
Reporters who bravely or foolishly violate Hamas’ rules even on their social media accounts can be seen to repent with such alacrity that it’s not difficult to imagine how scared and dependent they are. Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal, for example, tweeted that “You have to wonder w the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.” Casey then quickly deleted his tweet, which didn’t save him from being put on a list of journalists who “lie/fabricate info for Israel” and “must be sued” – a threat which is surely the least of Casey’s fears. Last week, French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagg was summoned to Shifa by Hamas and interrogated. He wrote about the experience of “attempted intimidation” for Liberation—and then quickly had the paper take down the article.
It can hardly be lost on any sane journalist that tempers in combat zones can be short, and that Hamas has used the kidnapping of foreign journalists like Alan Johnson of the BBC to advance its own agenda. The fact that Hamas has closed the border and will not let journalists in or out of Gaza can’t make journalists who being used as de facto human shields by a terrorist organization feel any more eager to offend their hosts.
What Hamas has done, therefore, is to turn Shifa Hospital into a Hollywood sound-stage filled with real, live war victims who are used to score propaganda points, while the terrorists inside the hospital itself are erased from photographs and news accounts through a combination of pressure and threats, in order to produce the stories that Hamas wants. So if reporters aren’t entirely to blame for participating in this sick charade, then who is?
The answer is that reporters write what they can, and some do their job better than others, and some are braver or more foolhardy than their peers. But it’s the job of editors, sitting thousands of miles away, at a very safe remove from the battlefield, to note that dispatches were produced under pressure, or that key information was removed by a government—as nearly all mainstream media outlets do when battlefield dispatches pass through the hands of the IDF censor. A good editor might attach similar notes to dispatches from combat zones controlled by terrorist organizations. He or she might also decide that reporting only the news that Hamas deems fit to print from Shifa Hospital isn’t actually reporting at all: It’s propaganda.
Diplomatic Contretemps in the Israel US Cease Fire Negotiations
Secretary of State Kerry and Israeli PM Netanyahu
Jerruslaem, July 24, 2014
This afternoon we held the third weekly conversation about Israel’s War with Hamas in Gaza on Pensacola Radio station 1330amWEBY with host Mike Bates, Rabbi Eric Tokajer and myself. We discussed the status of the conflict, its nuances and what was the fifth Hamas rejection of a cease fire from Egypt that Israel approved. We also discussed Secretary of State Kerry’s handling of the latest cease fire proposals that infuriated Israelis across the political divide. We noted what Ari Shavit, columnist for Ha’aretz, and author of My Promised Landsaid: "U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything”."Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a strategic terrorist attack.” That was a reference to Kerry’s conveying to Israel what were Hamas’ demands for lifting of the blockade and opening of the frontier with Egypt.
The better to return to crony capitalism that enriched Hamas’ leaders while impoverishing the rest of the 1.8 million inhabitants in the 25 square mile area. Rabbi Tokajer made the wry observation that ex-pat Khaled Mashal, the keeper of $2.6 billion in contributed funds living in relative luxury in Qatar could distribute $13,333 apiece to the inhabitants and would still have $200 million left. Don’t worry that won’t happen. Besides the Gazan hoi polloi are just human shields for errant mortars and rockets fired by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad killing innocent women and children while sending millions of Israelis scampering to shelter on 15 second red alerts.
I referred to Kerry’s alleged dialogue with Bibi in a recent New Republic article, wherein Netanyahu informs Kerry that Gazan children are incited to hatred of Jews and Israel in conformance with the Charter of the terrorist group designated by Kerry’s State Department. Kerry while conceding the point suggested that those poor Gazan residents reminded him of looking into the eyes of Vietnamese when he was a Riverine Navy patrol boat officer during the Viet Nam war. They just wanted to get rid of us. Just like Hamas wants to get rid of Israel, for good.
We discussed the contrast between polls in Israel and the Pew Trust poll on US reaction to the Israel War with Hamas and the political divide. Before the program I spoke with Dan Diker Voice of Israel Executive producer and its Chief Middle East Affairs analyst. Diker was the former secretary general of the World Jewish Congress. He noted the strong solidarity across the political spectrum for Operation Protective Edge reflected in University of Haifa poll that found over 91 percent of Israelis support Operation Protective Edge. 85 Percent favor a cease fire 85% of respondents would only support a cease-fire agreement if Israel eliminated every Hamas rocket and destroyed the full network of terror tunnels before agreeing to do so. crushing Hamas. Diker was disturbed by the Pew findings pointed to a great divide between GOP, Independent and Democrat voters:
A Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this month found that the partisan gap in Mideast sympathies is as wide as it has been at any point since the late 1970s. Nearly three quarters of Republicans (73%) said they sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, compared with 45% of independents and 44% of Democrats.
We also spoke of the comment from House minority leader Nancy Pelosi who said that Hamas was really a humanitarian group. When asked by Interviewer Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union how, she knew that she replied, because Turkey and Qatar said so. Note The Blazeexcerpt:
Pelosi talked about America’s need to support “the two-state solution” and Palestinian leader Abbas. She also stated that we need to “support Iron Dome to protect the Israelis from the missiles.”
Then, the former Speaker made a statement (summarizing something told to her) that seemed to take Candy Crowley by surprise.
“And we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization. Maybe they could use their influence to–”
Crowley jumped in, stopping Pelosi, asking her to clarify that statement, “The U.S. thinks they’re a terrorist organization though, correct? Do you?”
Pelosi did not actually speak a word in response to that question. Instead she uttered, “Mmm hmm.”
Watch the CNN Video of Crowley’s exchange with House Minority Leader, Pelosi:
When we brought up Turkey and Premier Erdogan, we noted his outrageous demand that Jewish citizens criticize Israel, who he considered worse than the Nazis by committing “genocide” in Gaza against the people and Hamas. Jack Rosen of the American Jewish Congress (AJC) demanded return of an award the American Jewish defense group bestowed on Erodgan chastizing the Turkish Premiere saying, he was "inciting the Turkish population to violence against the Jewish people". Turkey's Ambassador to the US, Serdar Kilic said he was "glad" to return the AJC award,. He contested Foxman's allegations in a statement saying, "Attempts to depict Prime Minister Erdogan's legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government's attacks on civilians as expressions of anti-Semitism is an obvious distortion and an effort to cover up the historical wrongdoings of the Israeli government." We spoke of the launch of a new Turkish Free Gaza flotilla, four years after the Mavi Marmara incident that took nine lives during a battle with Israeli Naval commandos in May 2010. During Obama’s 2012 visit to Jerusalem, he suggested that Bibi call Erodgan and apologize.. We pointed out that the same Islamist charity, IHH, that backed the Mavi Marmara incident was sending another vessel. However, as Mike Bates pointed out this time Turkey was sending naval escort vessels. Bates hoped that Netanyahu wouldn’t offer compensation in the event of another clash.
But then we spoke about the alleged leak by a “senior official” of the heated conversation between President Obama and PM Netanyahu on Sunday, that Israeli Channel One had transcripted and the Times of Israel translated into English. The circulation of the remarks further inflamed the situation, as the President was alleged to have demanded a unilateral unconditional cease fire to which the PM replied what’s in it for Israel?
The consensus of the three of us on the radio program was that if the alleged exchange had occurred between President Obama and PM Netanyahu was this anyway to treat the head of a sovereign country and America's only relaiable democratic ally in the Middle East?
Below is the alleged exchange and what follows is the denial that the conversation was anything but the usual exchange of views between two people who are known to dislike one another. You may recall this November 2011 exchange between former French President Sarkozy and President Obama caught on microphone at a Cannes restaurant during a G20 meeting:
"I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama, unaware that the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on, enabling reporters in a separate location to listen in to a simultaneous translation.
"You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you," Obama replied.
Here is what Market Watch reported on the alleged kerfuffle between President Obama and PM Netanyahu:
It’s not unusual for either side to publish what’s called a “readout” — basically, a diplomatic summary of the conversation — and the readout from the White House side of a Sunday call between the two leaders wasn’t effusive. “Building on Secretary Kerry’s efforts, the President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement. The President reaffirmed the United States’ support for Egypt’s initiative, as well as regional and international coordination to end hostilities,” the White House call said.
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.
BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court and it must end all its military activities.
Now, that can’t be taken as verbatim, though as expressions of opinions, the transcript seems on the mark.
The first notable element is the transcript itself — which got official reaction, and denial, from both sides.
And they were taught about Ramadan, to increase their "cultura sensitivity." You can imagine the glowing terms in which it is depicted.
And this is supposed to be part of some kind of education in Islam. But will that education in Islam include Sura 9 -- say, 9.5 and 9.29? Will it include any of the more than 100 Jihad verses set out in the Calcutta Qur'an Petition? What parts of Islam will not be discussed, while the military are busy inculcating soldiers in the splendors of Ramadan?