Sunday, January 25, 2015

Israel, US prestige and some very ugly behaviour

(The idea for this piece comes from a reader)
The Boston Globe has an opinion-piece about Israel’s Prime Minister (“Benjamin Netanyahu goes too far”, January 23, 2015). The essay doesn’t criticize him. It attacks him personally.

It blames him for ‘blind-siding’ the US President by accepting an invitation to speak to Congress. It describes him as a man who has repeatedly gone out of his way to stick ‘his finger in the President’s eye’. It claims his behaviour reveals an “ingratitude and hubris rarely seen before in the annals of the US-Israel bilateral relationship.”

For this Boston Globe essay, Netanyahu’s ungratefulness seems to know no limit. For example, Netanyahu had the gall to refuse to obey America’s demand for ‘a settlement freeze’. He had the effrontery to deliver “an infamous ‘history lesson’ to Obama in the Oval Office in 2011 on the security challenges facing Israel.” He didn’t just criticize a 2013 US-Iran nuclear agreement. He “disparaged” it. He rejected a wonderful agreement the US had completed for Israel’s benefit.

In this essay, Netanyahu looks like a man who bites the hand that helps him.

The essay makes Netanyahu look unprincipled for ‘disparaging’ that agreement. That’s strange because last year, the Boston Globe itself had sung a different song. It wrote that many in the US Congress feared this Iran deal was more a ‘bad deal’ than a good one (“Nuclear deal could reset US-Iran relations”, November 19, 2014).

So why do we now see this attack on Netanyahu?  More to our point, why is that attack so personal?

This Boston Globe attack sees Netanyahu’s rejection of the Iran agreement as a kind of personal betrayal aimed specifically at President Obama. It’s a strange accusation. At the time that deal was made—when Netanyahu expressed such distaste for it--some at the prestigious Brookings Institute in the US essentially agreed with him (“Brookings Scholars Weigh In On The Nuclear Deal With Iran”, Brookings, November 28, 2013): the deal quite literally scared the Saudis, would intensify violence in the Middle East and left the players in the Middle East feeling bewildered and likely angered (ibid).

Netanyahu’s response to the deal wasn’t ‘ingratitude’. It wasn’t betrayal. It was realistic, especially when one considered Middle East geopolitical realities. The Saudis were potentially just as upset as Netanyahu. Why was the Boston Globe suddenly attacking only Netanyahu over Iran?

Well, on January 20, 2015, the US President drew an Iran line in the sand. He announced during his State of the Union address that he would veto any legislative attempt to impose new sanctions against Iran.

The very next day, January 21, 2015, House of Representatives (Republican) Speaker John Boehner gave two responses to that threat. First, he said of the President, “He expects us [Congress] to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran. Two words: 'Hell no!' …We're going to do no such thing" (“Boehner, White House Clash Over Netanyahu Invite”, National Journal, January 21, 2015).  

Boehner’s second response was to send an invitation to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress about the ‘grave threat of radical Islam and Iran’ (“White House: Boehner’s Invitation To Netanyahu Was A “Breach Of Protocol,” BuzzfeedNews, January 21, 2015).

In Washington, everyone knows that Netanyahu believes that Iran’s nuclear program is extremely dangerous to world peace. Everyone knows that Obama disagrees with Netanyahu. Everyone also knows that Obama wants to stamp out any effort to become harsh with Iran.

John Boehner believes Iran is dangerous. Does he have no right to seek help to make that case?

Pro-President advocates believe that Boehner has no such right. What he did, they say, is “unprecedented. It's hitting below the belt. It's taking partisanship to a whole new level…It is a way for [Republicans] to embarrass and humiliate the Obama administration" just as they, the Republicans, prepare to dig in against the President (“Boehner's Netanyahu Invite Is An 'Unprecedented' Diss Of Obama”, TPM DC, January 21, 2015).

Democrats were furious at Boehner. But then, it was Netanyahu who was savaged: a news story broke immediately that Netanyahu’s own Mossad (intelligence Agency) disagreed with him over sanctions.

This story was an attack against Netanyahu. It made him look like he couldn’t control his own Intelligence Agency. It claimed that a Mossad leader had told US officials that, in fact, more sanctions would “tank the Iran nuclear negotiations”, (“Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns U.S. on Iran Sanctions”, Bloomberg News, January 21, 2015).

The next day Israel got angry. It said the story was completely false (“Fury in Israel Over Obama's Mossad 'Lies'”, Arutz Sheva).

Israeli officials were furious. They had reviewed the minutes of the meeting the Mossad head had attended. There was nothing in those minutes to substantiate the leaked story.  

Then, there was the matter of secrecy. "Leaking the Mossad Head's statements, even if they had not been falsified, is a serious breach of all the rules,” [a senior Israeli said]. “Friends do not behave like this. Information from a secret meeting must not leak out” (ibid).

The next day, January 23, 2015, we saw where all of this was going: Netanyahu (not Boehner) was going to be ‘punished’ for ‘disrespect’ (“The White House Makes It Clear That Netanyahu Will Pay For Disrespecting President Obama”, PoliticusUSA, January 23, 2015). It seems that some ‘unnamed US officials’ saw Netanyahu’s accepting the Boehner invitation as ‘spitting’ in the President’s face—and for that, he would pay a price (“US Says Netanyahu Will Pay ‘Price’ for Upcoming Visit; Obama and Kerry Refuse to Meet Israeli PM”, United with Israel, January 23, 2015).

That’s strange. Several months ago, an ‘unnamed Administration official’ was reported to have called Netanyahu ‘a chickens**t’ (“Senior Obama official: Israeli PM Netanyahu is 'chicken[s-ip]'”, freerepublic, October 28, 2014). Now, an ‘unnamed official’ claims that Netanyahu shows disrespect for Obama?

One of the first manifestations of the ‘price’ for that ‘disrespect’ was the Boston Globe attack (above): Netanyahu isn’t a real ally. Instead, he’s a selfish ingrate who betrays all the good things President Obama has done for him. He spits in the President’s face. He sticks his finger in the President’s eye. He accepts invitations he shouldn’t accept.

This story isn’t about diplomacy. It isn’t about foreign policy. For the US, it’s about respect.
Is this what the debate over Iran is about--respect for the US President?

This invitation incident has provoked some very disrespectful behaviour indeed. The US Administration seems so intent to stifle opposition to the President’s Iran policy, it will turn ugly to get its way: it will falsify secret conversations. It will make public a secret interview. It will have friends call an ally ‘an ingrate’. It will convert legitimate diplomatic differences into a question of ‘respect’ for the US President.

The US sends a message. If you disagree with me in public, I will smear you.

The US makes the word, ‘’Superpower’ look ugly. It makes a great office look venal.

No wonder the US loses its prestige.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Physicians for Human Rights: more false testimony against Israel

The Non-Government Organization (NGO) Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, has just published a new Report. It focuses on injuries, fatalities and damage to civilians and hospitals in Gaza during the July-August, 2014 Gaza-Israel war. The Report is entitled, “Gaza 2014. Findings of an Independent Medical Fact-Finding Mission”. It was published January 20, 2014.

The Report claims to be both independent and objective. It assures us that, “PHR-Israel recruited 8 independent international medical experts, unaffiliated with Israeli or Palestinian parties involved in the conflict” (Report, p. 8). That sounds good. It suggests that independent experts went to Gaza with an open mind, free from influence by any of the combatants.

The statement continues: : “four [of the experts have]  special expertise in the fields of forensic medicine and pathology; and four [are] experts in emergency medicine, public health, paediatrics and paediatric intensive care, and health and human rights” (ibid).

But a closer look at these experts reveals that they may not be so ‘independent’ after all.  Yes, the Report seems to showcase their individual medical expertise. But at the end of its list of medical fields we discover, ‘health and human rights’, as if human rights was an expertise separate from the medical expertise listed. It isn’t.  

For too many of these ‘experts’, medicine and human rights go together. They appear to have drunk the proverbial kool-aid of an anti-Israel Human Rights ‘humanitarianism’—along with their medical work (“Preliminary Critique of PHR-I´s "Independent Medical Fact-Finding Mission", NGO Monitor, January 21, 2015). They are, for the most part, involved with Human Rights advocacy (ibid). Many of the fact-finding members are political activists with a history of biased remarks (ibid). One is a member of the advisory board of the anti-Israel PHR (which produced this Report). They are not simply doctors. They use their medical expertise to dig for human rights violations (ibid).

Certainly, PHR-Israel is not objective. It has a bias—and it’s clear about that bias. It says on its Homepage, under the heading, ‘Who we are’, that, “It is PHR-Israel’s view that Israel’s prolonged occupation over Palestinian territory is the basis of human rights violations.”

According to this statement, PHR-Israel approaches its human rights work in Israel with three unsubstantiated assumptions: first, all of the territory claimed by ‘Palestinians’ is in fact ‘Palestinian territory’; second, all of that ‘territory’ is truly ‘occupied’ by Israel; and third, if Israel ‘occupies’ it, there will be human rights violations.

PHR-Israel is not objective. It has an agenda. That agenda is anti-Israel.

PHR-Israel isn’t even as ‘unaffiliated’ as its Report purports. This Report was completed in affiliation with Hamas and Palestinian medical organizations known for their ties to the virulently anti-Israel Hamas (NGO Monitor, ibid). These organizations ‘coordinated’ both the field work and the research completed by the experts (Report, p. 8). These organizations are political advocacy NGO’s that push delegitimization campaigns against Israel--and may lack true medical expertise (NGO Monitor, ibid).

True to its anti-Israel bias, this new PHR-Israel Report is one-sided (ibid). For example, the Report concludes that the evidence it has collected should be used to investigate Israel for violations of International human rights and humanitarian law (Report, pp 98-99). The Report does not ask if Hamas played a role in injuries to Gazans or damages to Gazan hospitals.

The Report ignores actions by Hamas that endangered both civilians and hospitals. Instead, the Report does what most Human Rights advocates do. It says, look at the damage theses Israeli bombs did to these hospitals and patients. Israel must be investigated (Report, p.99).

By contrast, a very different report appeared four months ago, in the Daily Mail, which came to very different conclusions about civilian injury and hospital damage in Gaza (“Hamas admits it DID use schools and hospitals in Gaza Strip as 'human shields' to launch rocket attacks on Israel”, September 12, 2014).

First of all, this earlier report didn’t begin with the anti-Israel bias that if Israel did something in a ‘Palestinian territory’, it must have automatically committed human rights violations.  Instead, it began with a look at Hamas’ use of human shields, hospitals, and residential areas to launch rockets at Israel  (ibid).

The Daily Mail reported that Hamas admitted it had used human shields and hospitals. It admitted that it had fired rockets from heavily populated areas. It admitted, in other words, that it had committed war crimes.

PHR-Israel ignored all thought about Hamas culpability in war crimes which could have led to hospital and patient damages.

The Report doesn’t bother to investigate how both combatants in this war might have caused damages to hospitals and civilians. It simply went for the Jewish jugular: it ignored Hamas and determined that Israel is no doubt guilty of humanitarian violations. It recommends that Israel alone be investigated for these violations.

The Report claims that more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the war, and more than 11,000 were wounded (Report, p. 8). But it demonstrates that Israel was responsible for “patterns of injury and attack” [emphasis mine] (Report, p. 26) by interviewing only 68 hospitalised patients (Report, pp. 9 and 31) and looking at digital images of only 75 killed individuals (Report p 31).

While more than 11,000 were injured in Gaza and more than 2,100 killed (Report, p. 14), these medical experts draw their anti-Israel conclusions based on interviews with only 68 injured and an examination of 75 deaths--in digital format. They learn of ‘patterns’ of injury from just 6 tenths of one per cent of total injuries. Is that a scientifically valid sampling?

The Report doesn’t say. It neglects to validate that this number of injured and dead constitutes a scientifically representative sampling of all injuries and deaths. Such a representation is significant because the Report focuses on patterns--which can only be discerned by analysing large numbers. If the injured and dead they studied do not accurately represent the total pool of injured and dead, how can one be certain that their conclusions are accurate for anyone other than the group studied?

The Report forgets something else: it neglects to tell us which of the dead and injured were civilians, combatants or human shields used by Hamas. Israel might be culpable if these injured and dead were innocent by-standers. But Israel, by international law, is not culpable for the death of combatants or human shields used by an enemy. Those are Hamas’ responsibility.

The inference of the Report, however, is that all the injured and dead are civilians. All were killed by Israeli ordinance (and not by Hamas misfires). None were human shields. We are simply asked to assume that all were innocent victims of inhumane Israeli war tactics. We are offered no evidence to suggest that such inference is true.

The Report even accuses Israel of not providing safe haven for Gazan civilians who had been exposed to danger by their own leaders’ deliberate use of civilian areas for combat purposes.

There is much about this Report that is false, misleading, unscholarly and unprofessional. It isn’t objective. It’s so badly executed, it brings professional shame to the ‘experts’ who signed it.

This Report serves only one useful purpose. It illustrates what false testimony looks like when it’s dressed up as ‘fact-finding’.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Did you read these essays?

Here are excerpts from three essays that appeared last week. You might not have seen them. 

From Legal Insurrection:

“#CharlieHebdo after-assessment: A bleak analysis of a bleak reality”

  by William A. Jacobson

January 14, 2015  

The Obama administration has engaged in absurd linguistic gymnastics to pretend that the terrorists who shot up Charlie Hebdo and the HyperCasher supermarket merely were individuals who happened to adopt radical Islamic extremism almost by chance.  Could have been any extremism, we’re told.

Generic “extremism” is the problem, as if it lived out of body.

By playing these word games, the administration does no favor to those in the Muslim world who recognize the reality and want it to stop.  To the contrary, the administration’s word games constitute an abandonment.

[One Arab voice against Islamic extremism is] Hisham Melhem, the Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya.  In late September 2014, [William Jacobson] wrote about an article by Melhem, “The Barbarians Within Our Gates”. Melhem made points as a Muslim examining the Muslim world that would get him labeled “Islamophobic” and “racist” by groups like CAIR and the Southern Poverty Law Center: 
Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism…than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed….And let’s face the grim truth: There is no evidence whatever that Islam in its various political forms is compatible with modern democracy. …


From The American Thinker:

“The Proliferation of Online Anti-Semitism” 

By: C. Hart

January 15, 2015 

…With an uptick in anti-Semitism, not just in Europe, but also in the United States and throughout the world, concerned leaders are analyzing how to stop these vicious acts against the Jewish People.

One place that anti-Semites have been misinforming the public, encouraging negative attitudes towards Jews, is on the Internet. But in the name of First Amendment rights, Internet companies have refused to take material off of their sites that encourage racism, incitement, and lies. Much of this classic anti-Semitism is full of fabrications and blood libels. Moreover, cyber demonization of Jews could be poisoning the minds of fanatics and fueling the fire for more attacks.

According to Israeli Ambassador Gideon Behar, “Every new development in the cyber world is being used to integrate this kind of hate”. 

Behar is the Director of the Department on Combating Anti-Semitism for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is raising public awareness of cyber discrimination and prejudice against Jews, while also pressing Internet companies to get the hate material off the Web.

In his office, Behar and others conduct searches on You Tube, Facebook, Google, Yahoo Answers, Instagram, and Wikipedia to prove how prevalent the bias is. The propaganda is massive. Articles, caricatures, videos, and photos are aimed at defaming the Jewish race and spreading falsehoods.

According to Behar, the Internet is an important platform, especially for vulnerable school children who are being given tasks by their teachers to find out information. A child may pose a question on Yahoo Answers, and an anti-Semite may answer their question. The answer is not challenged and the information remains on the Internet. Behar says that anti-Semites use this for their own purposes in every language.

For example, an app was created about two years ago for The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. You could download it onto mobile phones in Arabic before the app was finally removed from the Internet.

Another example is that a Twitter account was created for Adolf Hitler. There were 770,000 followers before Twitter stopped it. 

“The Internet influences life on the ground,” Behar states. “It creates more motivation to attack Jews. It gives legitimization to that. Then, you have more motivation to attack them verbally or physically.”…


From Jewish Journal: 

“Tough love for Islam”

by David Suissa

January 13, 2015

We’re conditioned to respect all religions. But what happens when we’re confronted with a religion that looks more like a political ideology? When I criticize Islam, I don’t criticize its spiritual beauty; I criticize the fact that in too many places around the world, the religion has morphed into a violent and totalitarian movement.

It’s not a coincidence that, since 9/11, more than 24,000 terrorist acts have been committed under the name of Islam. After the latest murderous attacks in Paris, even a staunch liberal like Bill Maher had the politically incorrect nerve to say what so many of us are afraid to say: “When there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with this orchard.”

What’s wrong with this orchard? Well, for starters, it harbors an extremist and literalist interpretation of Islam that has morally contaminated large segments of the Muslim world.

While practices and beliefs in Islam are hardly monolithic, it’s disheartening to see such widespread support among Muslims for strict religious law (Sharia) as the official law of their countries. According to polling from the Pew Research Center, this support is most prevalent in places like Afghanistan (99%), Iraq (91%), the Palestinian territories (89%), Pakistan (84%), Morocco (83%), Egypt (74%) and Indonesia (72%).

When you consider that a strict interpretation of Sharia law can often mean cutting off the hands of thieves, lynching gays, stoning adulterous women and the death penalty for apostates, it’s not a pretty picture.

And yet, in much of the West, we act as if Islamic terrorism is simply the result of some “bad apples,” and, well, every religion has its fanatics. This cozy and convenient narrative has run its course. Islamic terrorism is not an isolated phenomenon — it’s a violent outgrowth of a global, triumphalist and totalitarian ideology that is on the march and hiding behind the nobility of religion.

When French President Francois Hollande says, “These terrorists and fanatics have nothing to do with the Islamic religion,” he’s being politically correct, but not accurate. Islamic terrorism has very much to do with the extremist interpretation of classic Islamic texts. Until we acknowledge that inconvenient truth, we have no chance of combating this disease. …

These are excerpts. But there are also food for thought. Go ahead--Google the essays. Read them in their entirety.



Another look at Joan Peters, z”l--and the Arab narrative

(This is the second of two essays on Joan Peters. The first was posted on January 11, 2015).

Jonathan Tobin has written an essay about Joan Peters, who died two weeks ago (“Joan Peters and the Perils of Challenging the Palestinian Narrative”, Commentary, January 13, 2015). I’d like to share portions of it with you.

More than 30 years ago, Joan Peters defended Israel. But her defense had errors. She made mistakes. She was pilloried for those mistakes.

But her thesis, Tobin argues, was sound.

Tobin’s essay might be the most objective view of Ms Peters’ work you will see. Here is my reading of that essay:

The death of author Joan Peters recalls one of the most intense and bitter literary controversies in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Her 1984 book, From Time Immemorial, set off a memorable scuffle. But like many such politically-motivated scuffles, it didn’t illuminate anything. Instead, it helped Palestinian advocates to obscure the truth about the origins of the Arab-Israel conflict.

Peters had wanted to write a book sympathetic to the Palestinian refugees. But in the course of her research, she stumbled across information that had been ignored by Westerners: though the Arabs claim to have possessed Palestine for many centuries, a significant number of Arabs in British Palestine were actually immigrants who had crossed into what is now Israel during the last years of Ottoman rule--and during the era of the British Mandate for Palestine (1922-1947).

The idea that numbers of Arabs and Jews both arrived in the country at approximately the same time contradicted the most basic argument found in all attacks on Zionism. Instead of the Palestinians losing a country that had been theirs “from time immemorial,” this revelation placed both sides in the conflict on a far more equal footing. It gave Jews a greater standing in pre-state Israel than Arab apologists had credited.

Yes, there were always more Arabs in Israel than Jews during this period. But those Arabs never self-defined as a ‘Palestinian people’—and a large number of them were as new to the land as the Jews.

A second discovery she made, which Tobin doesn’t mention, is that as many Jews fled Arab countries as Arabs fled Israel. This was also a blow to the Palestinian narrative because, if a great many of those Arab refugees who fled Israel during Israel’s War of Independence had been immigrants to begin with, then, surely, it shouldn’t have been so difficult to reintegrate them back to their origin countries. After all, Jewish refugees from Arab countries had resettled in Israel; why couldn’t Arab refugees resettle?

Those who defended the ‘Palestinian narrative’ couldn’t admit that Palestinians were, in many, many instances just as new to Israel as Jews. The narrative allowed for no nuance. It required that this conflict was between two ‘peoples’ fighting over the same land, with Palestinians as indigenous victims and Jews as foreign aggressors. It was a narrative of dispossession that had become a catechism that could not in any way be questioned.

Peters questioned the catechism. She called into question one of the basic Palestinian myths (that only Arabs had been dispossessed in the Arab-Israel war). She had committed an unpardonable sin. She had to be punished. And so she was.

Her problem was, she had made errors in the course of her research. These mistakes didn’t negate her premise (that Palestinians weren’t an ancient people, indigenous to Israel). But they allowed critics to claim that the entire work was fraudulent.

It wasn’t. But once doubt was cast on the authenticity of one of the statistics she had used, detractors were able to shut down the entire discussion.

Tobin cites the scholar Rael Jean Isaac who, he says, may have provided the best analysis of this controversy in a July 1986 article in COMMENTARY. Isaac unpacked both the motives of Peters’s foes as well as the mistakes she had made. As she noted, Peters’ book does indeed deserve some of the criticism it has received. But the frustrating aspect of all this is that, as Isaac wrote, there was no need for Miss Peters to overstate her projections. There was overwhelming evidence, some of which she used in her book, of extensive Arab migration into Jewish-settled areas [and there is also evidence of a massive dispossession of Jews from Arab countries].

Scholar Isaac concluded that, despite her errors, Peters’ thesis was ‘generally sound’.

Nevertheless, the truth at the heart of the book was lost.  Critics piled on and wrongly accused Peters of constructing a myth that sought to delegitimize the Palestinians. The truth she had discovered was suppressed. Her attackers protected the false notion that Palestinians were an ancient and indigenous people who had been thrown out to make way for foreign Jewish interlopers.

The lesson dished out to Joan Peters was clear. If you doubt the Palestinian narrative, you’ll be ruthlessly trashed.

Peters had dared to question. For that, she had to be attacked-- whether or not she made mistakes in her book.

Her mistakes made the attacks easier.

Today, more than 30 years after the publication of this book, ‘Palestinians’ and their increasingly virulent supporters are still committed to their false catechism. They are no more willing to examine the truth about their origin myths today than they were in 1984.

While Joan Peters’s book was far from perfect, it attempted to alert the world to the reality that the Palestinians had built their anti-Zionist ideology on a foundation of sand. Her basic facts are generally correct. She deserves, Tobin writes, to be remembered for her discoveries, rather than for the smears that were hurled at her.

You can read the whole essay in Commentary.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Urban Islamic terror--and you

If you work to assure that your country ignores those committed to destroying your country, you build for yourself a road to Hell. By refusing to confront those who attack you, you ignore the reasons behind those attacks. By ignoring the reasons behind the attacks, you give a free hand to tyrants to tyrannize until they take over.

Then where are you?

The West is committed to the road to Hell. The West seems completely committed to ignoring the Islamic assault against democracy. Personally, I don’t know if Islam is a religious of peace or a religion of something else. I can’t say. All I know is, the specific tyranny that threatens us always comes with,  ’allah akhbhar’.

Allah akhbhar means, essentially, Islam.

We can’t talk about an Islamic threat without being accused of being ‘Islamophobic’.  We can’t call Islamic Jihadists ‘terrorists’. We can’t acknowledge that Britain and France have Islamic enclaves which have become, for all intents and purposes, ‘no-go zones’ for police.

According to a new essay, (Robert Spencer, “No No-Go Zones? Really?”, front page mag, January 20, 2015), the Left in America is celebrating today. The American Left is a leader in the battle to keep the words, ‘Islamic terrorists’ out of the public eye. They celebrate because Fox News--not a Leftist stronghold—has been forced to ‘apologize’ for referring to some Muslim neighbourhoods  in Europe as ‘no-go zones’.

“Fox Report host Julie Banderas stated: Over the course of this last week we have made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly with regard to England and France. Now, this applies especially to discussions of so-called ‘no-go zones,’ areas where non-Muslims allegedly aren’t allowed in and police supposedly won’t go” (ibid).

The apology went on to say that there are no officially designated ‘no-go zones’ in Britain or France. There are also no areas which officially exclude individuals based solely on their religion.

The Fox statement continued: There are certainly areas of high crime in Europe as there are in the United States and other countries — where police and visitors enter with caution. We deeply regret the errors and apologize to any and all who may have taken offense, including the people of France and England (ibid).

That’s right. Islamic crime, coercion and brutality don’t exist.

One American newspaper chortled that “Fox News admits ‘no-go zones’ are fantasy” (ibid).  The New York Times declared, “Fox News Apologizes for False Claims of Muslim-Only Areas in England and France” (ibid).

Clearly, the Left would have you believe that ‘no-go zones’ don’t exist. But the Left is wrong. In Britain, France, Sweden and other countries, there are Muslim areas which local police and/or journalists call ‘no-go zones’.

For example, as writer Spencer points out (above), “Newsweek, hardly a conservative organ, reported in November 2005 that, ‘according to research conducted by the government’s domestic intelligence network, the Renseignements Generaux, French police would not venture without major reinforcements into some 150 ‘no-go zones’ around the country–and that was before the recent wave of riots began on Oct. 27, [2005]” (ibid).

Spencer’s point is simple: “The police wouldn’t venture into these areas without major reinforcements in 2005. Does anyone really think that the situation has improved in the intervening years?” (ibid).

In fact, reports of these Islamic ‘no-go zones’ in Europe have appeared for years. For example, in November last year, PatroitsBillboard reported that police in Sweden had ceded control to Islamist ‘gangs’ in many neighbourhoods (“Muslims take over 55 neighborhoods where police are afraid to go in Sweden”, November 3, 2014). The report called these ceded areas, ‘no-go zones’.

Last year, 2014, we saw ‘no-go zones’ on the website, (“No-Go’ Zones, soon coming to a neighbourhood near you…..”, January 11, 2014). The website described these ‘no-go zones’ as areas that “have been formed by Muslims using ‘ethnic cleansing’ harassment tactics” (ibid).

In 2013, Arutz Sheva reported that there are areas in the Dutch capital, The Hague, which have become  “orthodox Muslim territory” into which not even the Dutch police dare venture (“If It Happened in the Hague, It Can Happen Anywhere”, June 10, 2013). The situation there had become so bad that “Dutch judges ordered the authorities to release to the public a list of 40 "no-entry" zones” (ibid).

Remember, Fox News last week felt forced to apologize for referring to ‘no-go zones’. French officials criticized Fox for using that term (Spencer, above). But in 2012, The Jewish Press published, “France’s ‘No-Go’ Zones: Where Non-Muslims Dare Not Tread”, August 28, 2012). That essay described Muslim-controlled ‘crime districts’ in France where lawlessness reigned (ibid). These ‘no-go zones’ were now (in 2012) being labelled by French authorities as ‘Priority Security Zones’.

These ‘Priority Security Zones’ just happened to ‘coincide’ with Muslim neighborhoods that previous French governments had termed ‘Sensitive Urban Zones’—which, it turned out, were also "no-go" zones for French police (ibid).

The French have been wrestling with these ‘no-go zones’ for years. The French are very much aware of the criminal and Muslim ‘content’ of these zones. But they objected to Fox’s coverage. They “objected to claims that these areas were outside their control” (Spencer, ibid). Fox had to apologize.

 In 2011, The Gatestone Institute published “European 'No-Go' Zones for Non-Muslims Proliferating” (Gatestone Institute, August 22, 2011). This essay reported that Islamic extremists had been stepping up the creation of "no-go" areas in European cities that are off-limits to non-Muslims (ibid). That same month, Front Page Mag published, “The Rise of Islamic No-Go Zones” (August 31, 2011). This essay began with the comment that, in 2008, “one of the Church of England’s most senior bishops, Pakistani-born Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that Islamic extremists had created “no-go” areas across Britain too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter” (ibid). That comment—like last week’s Fox comment-- sparked a torrent of denial and criticism. The essay then went on to document how those ‘no-go zones’ were, in fact, real: all across Europe, “the story is the same: Islamic supremacists refuse to assimilate into the Western melting pot; instead they carve out a foothold in a neighborhood, and then, through intimidation or outright violence, push out the infidels whose failed secular values are no longer acceptable. Even public services such as police, firefighters and ambulances are often driven out of such neighborhoods with stones, bottles or bullets” (ibid).

In 2009, EuropeNews published, “Danish Psychologist: “The one thing Muslim immigrants fear is being deported” (December 9, 2009). The essay discussed Muslim ‘no-go areas’ where even police would not venture (ibid).

In 2006, Militant Islam Monitor reported that Islamic militants were terrorizing citizens in Dutch neighbourhoods (“Islamist target evicted by residents of building in Holland - terrorists use apartments and neighborhoods as HQ's unhindered”, May 4, 2006). Radical Islamists terrorized citizens into fleeing their homes (ibid). The police, this report stated, “are terrified of going into Muslim neighborhoods” (ibid).

In 2005, The Brussels Journal published “Ramadan Rioting in Europe's No-Go Areas”, (November 2, 2005). This essay reported from Sweden that police, fire and emergency responders feared going into certain Muslim neighbourhoods. That fear had changed the way police, firemen and emergency workers did their jobs. For example, Swedish ambulance drivers would enter those neighbourhoods only with a police escort. ”Angry crowds threatened them, telling them which patient to take and which ones to leave behind” (ibid). In Brussels, “The police has been told [by the Mayor] that it is ‘not expedient’ to patrol [in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek] and officers are not allowed to drink coffee or eat a sandwich in the street during ramadan” (ibid).

So now Fox News has to apologize for referring to Europe’s ‘no-go zones’? Yes, they have to apologize because—according to Leftist political correctness--what they said was false, ignorant and Islamophobic (Spencer, ibid).

The road to Hell is paved with such apologies. Every such apology empowers the terrorists. Every apology brings their tyranny closer to your front door.

Lock your doors.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Israel’s elections: where Looney Tunes bash True Grit

Back in the old days in the old country (USA), movie goers often saw animated cartoons before ‘the movie’ began. These animations were silly, short and completely delightful. They were called, ‘Looney Tunes’.

In the same year Looney Tunes ended its movie ‘career’  (1969), a new John Wayne Western came out. That movie was, ‘True Grit’. It was a story about persistence, courage and, well, ‘grit’ (determination, resolve).

Between 1930-1969, Looney Tunes gave us Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck, among others. Between 1930-1976, John Wayne appeared in more than 140 pictures. Eighty-three of these pictures were Westerns.

He was an icon—an American film ‘hero’. But he won only one Academy Award—for his role in ‘True Grit’.

In Israel today, we’ve got several politicians running to become an Israeli John Wayne. They want to be the hero-as-Prime Minister.

John Wayne in his movies was indestructible. He was, for some, the perfect father figure—which, we may note, makes him the perfect icon for Israel’s Prime Minister wannabees.

True Grit plays a role here not so much because of John Wayne’s character—a crusty, older law officer who was often wrong—but because of the appearance of a ‘new guy’. This was a young girl, perhaps age 15. She was inexperienced. She was innocent. She knew nothing. But she had ‘true grit’. She was absolutely determined to find her father’s killer.

She succeeded, even as John Wayne didn’t believe she could.

Rumour has it that Israelis are tired of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (“Poll: 65% Israelis don’t want Netanyahu as prime minister”, Times of Israel, December 6, 2014). Israelis, we are told, want something new.

They want John Wayne and True Grit rolled into one leader. They
want a leader who’ll be indestructible.

But what we’ve seen so far in this election-campaign season looks more like Looney Tunes than Hollywood heroics. Voters look more likely to elect Daffy Duck than John Wayne.

Look at how this election season unfolds. We’ve been told that this election will bring change to Israel—but the symbol of that change isn’t exactly heroic (“How a Chocolate Pudding Could Decide Israel's Election”, The Jewish Forward, December 21, 2014; and “There's a scent of change in Israeli politics”, Haaretz, January 16, 2015).

But wait.  We’re told that those reports smell wrong. This election will change nothing (“Expert: Nothing New Under the Sun in 2015 Elections”, Arutz Sheva, December 19, 2014).

So what will be—change or no change?

Here’s what will be: loony tunes loses its truth and its grit.

We’ll see a lot of name-calling and political chest-thumping. It’ll be just like those Looney Tunes cartoons: animated fighting and lots of pratfalls.

We already have candidates for ‘best attack video’ (“For Likud and Jewish Home, an escalating sibling rivalry”, Times of Israel, January 19, 2015). Likud and Jewish Home lead the pack (ibid).

Some of our laughs come from the headlines themselves. Since December 21, 2014, we’ve been told the following: first, Netanyahu’s Likud will be stronger, the political Right weaker (“New Poll: Likud Stronger, But Right Weaker”, Arutz Sheva, December 21, 2014). Then, the Right is bad for Israel (“Former Shin Bet Chief: Right-wing Parties are 'Destructive'”, Arutz Sheva, December 26, 2014).

Then we’re told, those statements are wrong: voters don’t know what they want (“Poll: 61% of Voters Haven't Made Up Their Minds”, Arutz Sheva, December 28, 2014).

No, that’s wrong. Voters do know what they want. They want the Right (“Israeli Right to Dominate Election”, frontpagemag, December 30, 2014).

But the Right’s wrong, right?

Doesn’t matter. The Right’s not going to win anything, anyway. Look at Netanyahu. He’s supposed to be Right (“Netanyahu set to lead a strikingly hardline Likud”, Times of Israel, December 31, 2014)). But the media says he’s Left (“Bibi to Make Barkat Jerusalem Minister for 'Peace Now Policy'”, Arutz Sheva, January 5, 2015). He’s choosing people to help him implement a Leftist policy in Israel (ibid).

No, that’s wrong. Netanyahu’s going to be replaced by real Leftists. Polls prove it: the Leftist Labor-Hatnua new unity Parry would win if elections were held today (“Labor-Hatnuah slate ahead in latest polls”, Haaretz, January 15, 2015).

The Looney Tunes we saw in the 1950’s and 60’s had cartoon characters wacking each other with tree branches and dead fish. In Israel, cartoonish politicians bash each other with the same flair (“'Malicious' Media Slams Netanyahu over Paris 'Elbowing'”, Arutz Sheva, January 13, 2015).

There’s True Grit in this election because we’ve got  inexperienced, politically innocent politicians declaring that they have the determination and resolve to lead (“Herzog [Labor Party] Vows to Take Power and Appease Obama”, Arutz Sheva, January 16, 2015); “Shaked [Jewish Home]: We Will Head the Next Government”, January 16, 2015).

Then there’s Tzipi Livni. She stands alone. She’s the only politician who has united True Grit with Looney Tunes.

 She’s from the anti-Zionist Labor-Hatnua unity Party. She’s provoked the headline, “Livni hints Zionist Camp [her nick-name for her anti-Zionist Party] may not sit in coalition with [the supposedly Zionist] Likud”, Times of Israel, January 16, 2015.

She’s got it all: Looney Tunes, True Grit and an anti-Zionist Party that calls itself the ‘Zionist Camp’.

In the end, you’ll get to vote for ‘the best political imitation of Elmer Fudd’ award. That’s Elmer Fudd, who tries forever to shoot Bugs Bunny, but always ends up seriously injuring himself.

Who’ll win that award?





Sunday, January 18, 2015

Charlie Hebdo’s French journalists and Mahmoud Abbas

The Gatestone Institute has published an essay worth your time.

The essay contains a letter written by a ‘Palestinian’.  It reveals a Mahmoud Abbas that Jews in Diaspora generally don’t see. I have carved out the letter from the essay:

“Open Letter to the French President”

 By: A Palestinian Journalist in Ramallah

 Dated: January 14, 2015


His Excellency, Fran├žois Hollande

Dear Mr. President,

First, I wish to express my deep condolences over the killing of innocent citizens in the recent terror attacks in Paris.

Second, I want to apologize to Your Excellency for not revealing my true identity. After you read my letter, you will realize why people like me are afraid to reveal their real identity.

I decided to write to you this letter after hearing my president, Mahmoud Abbas, declare that you had invited him to attend the anti-terror rally in Paris earlier this week.

Like many Palestinians, I see President Abbas's participation in a rally against terrorism and assaults on freedom of speech as an act of hypocrisy -- a condition that is not alien to Palestinian Authority leaders.

In fact, many Palestinians nearly fell off their chairs upon seeing their president march in the front row of a rally in your capital, in protest against terrorism and assaults on freedom of the media.

President Abbas's participation in the rally is an insult to the victims of the terror attacks. It is also an insult to Western values, including freedom of expression and democracy.

Your Excellency, myself and other journalists living under the rule of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank were the first to be offended by the invitation you extended to President Abbas to attend the anti-terror rally.

Undoubtedly, you are unaware of the fact that Abbas is personally responsible for punishing Palestinian journalists who dare to criticize him or express their views in public. Of course, Your Excellency, we cannot blame you for being unaware of this assault on public freedoms because the mainstream media, including French newspapers and magazines, deliberately turn a blind eye to these practices. Every day we see that the Western media does not care about such violations unless they are committed by Israel.

That is why, Your Excellency, you are probably unaware of the cases of several Palestinian journalists who have been arrested and intimidated by President Abbas's security forces over the past few years. Yes, this is the same Abbas who came to Paris to express his condolences over the brutal killing of the Charlie Hebdo journalists.

The most recent example of Abbas's crackdown on Palestinian journalists occurred shortly before Your Excellency phoned President Abbas to invite him to Paris. The case involves my female colleague, Majdolin Hassouneh, who was detained for "extending her tongue," or insulting, President Abbas.

Your Excellency, please allow me to tell you that you are completely mistaken if you ever thought that President Abbas and his Palestinian Authority are tolerant toward satire or any form of criticism. And of course, you haven't heard of the Palestinian Authority's decision to cancel the only popular satirical show on Palestine TV, Watan ala Watar (Country on a String).

The show was forced off the air in 2011 because President Abbas believed it had "crossed a line" by mocking his top officials in Ramallah. This is the same Abbas who came to Paris to protest the massacre at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

And, Your Excellency, if you want further evidence of President Abbas's clampdown on political satire, you can ask Palestinian comedians Abdel Rahman Daher and Mahmoud Rizek. The two men are currently in Jordan because they are afraid to return to the West Bank. No, Your Excellency, they are not afraid to return home because of Israel. They are afraid of being arrested by President Abbas's security forces, which accuse the two men of insulting their leader.

President Abbas, Your Excellency, should be the last person to walk in a march honoring journalists who were massacred because of their satirical work. His participation in the Paris rally is not only in an insult to the memory of the slain journalists, but to all those who believe in freedom of expression and media.

I also want to bring to the attention of Your Excellency that while President Mahmoud Abbas was attending the rally in Paris, a human rights group published a report accusing the Palestinian Authority of "waging war" against university students in the West Bank. According to the report, 24 students have been arrested in recent weeks by Abbas's security forces for "political reasons."

Again, I'm sure Your Excellency did not hear about the crackdown on university campuses because Western media outlets and foreign journalists based here do not report about such stories. You read and hear about such incidents only when the Israeli army or police are involved.

I do not want to take much of your time, Your Excellency, by telling you about President Abbas's double standards and hypocrisy on the subject of terrorism. You can learn a lot about this by going on the Internet and seeing, with your own eyes, how our president often condones and glorifies terrorism and terrorists.

You will even discover that our president, who will soon celebrate his 80th birthday, is prepared to stay awake all night to welcome Palestinians released from Israeli prison for murdering Jews and committing terror attacks no less serious than the ones your country experienced last week.

You will also discover, Your Excellency, that our president also rewards terrorists by granting them monthly salaries and other privileges.

What would be your reaction, Your Excellency, if someone decided to reward financially the families of the terrorists who massacred the innocent civilians in Paris?

Your Excellency, perhaps it is now too late to talk about the decision to invite President Abbas to the anti-terror rally. The damage has already been done, as far as I and many Palestinians are concerned. The way we see it is as follows: President Abbas has once again managed to deceive you and the rest of the international community by placing himself on the side of the good guys in their fight against terrorism and extremism. Even worse, President Abbas has managed to create the false impression that he cares about freedom of speech and independent journalism.

Undoubtedly, now Palestinians like me will now pay a heavier price because President Abbas has been emboldened by his participation in the Paris rally. President Abbas will now step up his assaults on public freedoms because he knows that the international community will only see photos of him marching together with Your Excellency and other world leaders in defense of freedom of expression.

By extending the invitation to President Abbas, you have caused damage to Palestinians like me who have been hoping that someone -- maybe even a leader like you -- would finally expose the dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority for what it is. President Abbas's participation in the Paris rally is a severe blow to people like me who are genuinely opposed to terrorism and suppression of free speech.

Your Excellency, now that the damage has already been done, all that is left for people like me is to beg you to take all what I have said into account in your future dealings with President Abbas. Please do not hesitate to raise these issues with President Abbas the next time he requests your support for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Otherwise, France will be helping to establish another corrupt and repressive Arab dictatorship -- one that glorifies and rewards terrorists no different from those who carried out the Paris attacks.

Finally, Your Excellency, I hope that by now you understand the reason why I am too scared to reveal my identity.


A Palestinian Journalist with No Name or Voice