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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Malaysian accuses rival of cozying up to Jews

I noted yesterday that the hot topic in Malaysian politics is that an opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was accused of being "Zionist" and having relationships with prominent Jews because of an interview he gave in the Wall Street Journal.

So naturally he is accusing his accuser of being a Jew-lover himself:
PKR has accused Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of having close ties with Zionists and pro-Israeli US leaders back when he was prime minister, stating that these were well-recorded facts.

Dr Mahathir had yesterday labelled arch rival Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a Jewish sympathiser and a leader who disregarded the plight of the Palestinians. The former prime minister was responding to Anwar’s recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, in which the latter expressed support for “all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.”

In a statement today, PKR communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (picture) said Dr Mahathir had “twisted” Anwar’s remarks, and that the former PM had conveniently forgotten his “close ties” with the US and pro-Jewish lobbyists.

“Anwar has explained that his statement in the Wall Street Journal played up by Umno and their media is consistent with a two-state solution which is an initiative accepted by the Arab world, Malaysia as well as Hamas, who are Palestinian freedom fighters.

“Mahathir might seem to be against Zionists and the West but he actually has a good relationship with them, to the point where he was willing to sign a private military agreement with America in 1984 — the Bilateral Training and Consultation Agreement (BITAC) which enabled the US to conduct military training in Malaysia,” said Nik Nazmi.

The PKR leader claimed that Dr Mahathir paid Jack Abramoff, a Zionist lobbyist, US$1.2 million (RM3.7 million) to arrange a meeting with former US President George W. Bush shortly after Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister.

“This has been admitted by Dr Mahathir himself,” said Nik Nazmi, adding that Abramoff had close ties with Bush as well as Israeli extremists.

The Seri Setia state assemblyman said that according to a Newsweek article Abramoff collected funds for the Jews in Israel to be used in their fight against the Palestinians, and that he (Abramoff) eventually pleaded guilty to charges of corruption and fraud in 2006.

Dr Mahathir had also claimed that his former protégé had close ties with many US elected representatives who were Jews, and that he was their “friend”, and named Paul Wolfowitz as one of them.

Wolfowitz, a former US Secretary of Defence and World Bank president, is of Jewish descent.

Muslim politicians have long vied for support from Malays by denouncing what they say are inhumane acts of aggression by Israel towards its neighbour.

Anwar has previously been attacked as a supporter of the Zionist movement due to his interaction with prominent Jewish figures in the West.

But the opposition leader turned the tables on Umno and Barisan Nasional in 2010 when he claimed public relations firm APCO Worldwide, then contracted by Putrajaya, was responsible for both the 1 Malaysia and 1 Israel campaigns.

US Embassy/Tel Aviv does better hasbara than Israel

Israel saving literally thousands of American lives:



But I thought that Israel endangered Americans. That's what Walt keeps saying!

There are other very interesting videos on that channel, as Shapiro goes around the country and shows highlights. Including a visit to the Mir Yeshiva and one to industrial parks where Arabs and Jews work together.

Here's another where he test drives a Better Place electric car in Israel:



It looks like many US Embassies have video channels, but there aren't too many videos like these made by the others. Some will show performances, like the videos out of Cairo.

I have a feeling that some anti-Zionists will not be happy about this....

(h/t Omri)

Both Syrians and their rebels are Zionists!

Every day, the official Syrian SANA news agency has an article that has a variation of this theme:
Political Analyst Sharif Shhadeh said that Syria faces a Zionist-US project to undermine its resistant role in the region, adding that the Arab League's decisions are clear evidence on its involvement in the conspiracy.
Last week Syria even said that they captured Israeli arms and explosives from the rebels.

But the opposition says that it is Syria that is doing the bidding of those nationalist Jews:

A Syrian child holds banner reading “Israel protector, we coming to get you” during a demonstration against President Bashar al-Assad in Idlib. (Reuters)
Obviously, both sides are right. We are behind everything that happens in the Arab and Muslim world, and we manipulate them so they fight each other and buy our weapons and paper cups.

Jericho jockeys sing this song, doo-dah, doo-dah

A photo essay of a thoroughbred horse race in Jericho from Palestine Times:





The horses look severely oppressed because of the choking Zionist policies.

Turkey denies it is giving aid, a new HQ to Hamas

From Today's Zaman:

Turkey has dismissed claims that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will be moving to Turkey, adding that Turkey also didn't pledge aid to the Palestinian party.

Turkish government spokesman and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told a news conference on Monday following a Cabinet meeting that Mashaal's office being moved to Turkey is out of question. He added that news reports claiming the Turkish government would give the Palestinian group millions of dollars in aid are also not true.

In a response to a question about Hamas moving to Turkey after leaving Damascus, Arınç said Hamas is an organization that has been recognized by Turkey and has formed a government in the Palestinian territories following democratic elections in 2006. “Khaled Mashaal's stay in Turkey is out of question,” Arınç told reporters.

Mashaal recently visited Turkey which, unlike its fellow NATO members, recognizes Hamas as a legal political party.

Some diplomatic sources had stated that Turkey promised to provide Gazan Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's administration with $300 million to support its annual budget. The Turkish Foreign Ministry had earlier dismissed such reports.

Arınç noted that Turkey's goal is to realize peace process between Israel and united Palestinian political factions. He said Turkey is closely interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that Turkey believes strengthening the unity of Palestinians will benefit the Palestinian people. He underlined that Hamas and its leaders are “significant figures” in this process and that Turkey's relations with Hamas is limited only to what he said.
Turkey's rhetoric against Israel has gone significantly down in recent months. It even suspended all lawsuits against Israel over the Mavi Marmara.


"Med-Red" rail link proposed

From Reuters:
Israel said on Sunday it plans to build a railway line linking its Red Sea and Mediterranean ports that could handle potential overflow from the Suez Canal on the freight route between Asia and Europe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet the idea of ships dropping off goods in one port to be picked up by a second ship at the other, had stirred "great interest" from major exporters India and China.

The project has yet to receive final approval or secure funding. Israel has not issued any cargo volume projections for the proposed electrified railway that would run 350 km (220 miles) from Eilat, on the Red Sea, to Ashdod, on the Mediterranean some 30 km south of Tel Aviv.

"Laying this line thus has strategic importance, both national and international," Netanyahu said in public remarks at the opening of a cabinet discussion on the project.

Israeli officials rebuffed any suggestion the railway plan came in response to political turmoil in Egypt and the rise of Islamist parties, though Israel has quietly been preparing for the possible erosion of its landmark peace accord with the neighbouring Arab power.

One official told Reuters the railway was a safeguard against the Suez proving incapable of handling surging maritime trade. The canal handled 8 percent of global seaborne traffic in 2009, Egyptian authorities say.

"There is going to be a lot of pressure on the Suez, and the idea here is to find an insurance should the canal not be able to deal with the volume," the official said.

Asked if the Israeli project might bite into Egyptian revenues from tariffs to sail the Suez, the official said: "We do not in any way intend to do anything of the sort."
And the idea that Western-hating fanatics might be in sole control of on of the most important waterways in the world might have a wee bit to do with the calculation.
Oded Eran, a retired Israeli diplomat who is now senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, said global traders were increasingly looking at overland transport alternatives to sea routes.

"Going through Suez costs a lot of money in demurrage," he said, describing the time-consuming process of ships obtaining permission to enter the canal and transiting.

Israeli media projected the train line would cost around $2 billion to build. Its Transport Ministry said it was seeking a Chinese company to build it and estimated it would take up to five years to complete.

Israeli officials linked the project to wider efforts to vitalise Israel's southern desert regions, including a pipeline between Eilat and Ashdod which is envisaged will pump natural gas from Mediterranean platforms for export through the Red Sea.
Interestingly, Reuters completely ignored what Bibi said was the primary reason for the rail line - as a passenger line that would whisk tourists from Tel Aviv to Eilat in two hours.

(h/t Ian)

Gaza divorce rate goes up. Israel blamed, of course.

Palestine Press Agency reports that the divorce rate in Gaza has been increasing, reaching 17% last year.

The reason?
[Experts] attribute the high divorce rate among Palestinian youth to unemployment, which increased as a result of the split between Fatah and Hamas, as well as the Israeli blockade which is still deeply hurting parts of Palestinian society, including married life which now lack the minimum requirements needed.
Yet the divorced people interviewed in the article give lots of reasons - none of which these analysts choose to mention.

One man divorced his wife because she liked to go out without his permission. Another did because of "extreme stubbornness and suspicious actions."

One woman said "I wish to live a life like I see in Turkish TV, where they are people who are civilized and respect the women and their privacy, and you cannot find this in Gaza, where the orders of her husband are a sword hanging over the neck of his wife."

Now, if you blame the higher divorce rate on Israel, who can you blame for a low divorce rate?

In fact, Palestinian Arabs used to brag that their divorce rate is the lowest in the Arab world.

In the first two years of the intifada, the divorce rate in the territories plummeted as much as 70% in Nablus  - because, according to this book, men couldn't afford the expense of a new bride.

So poverty causes divorces, and it also causes a reduction in divorces - and either way, Israel is at fault!

Incidentally, recent divorce rates are 20% in Saudi Arabia, 24% in Bahrain, 25.6% in the UAE, 34.8% in Qatar and 37.1% in Kuwait.

I'm sure that Israel is to blame somehow for that as well.


Douglas Murray on a nuclear Iran (video - Cambridge debate)

This is a worthwhile speech to watch. Apparently from March 2011.



(h/t Tundra Tabloids)

Fogel massacre postscript: The lying mother of a murderer

I noted on Sunday that the mother and aunt of Hakim Awad, one of the murderers of the Fogel family in Itamar praised him on official Palestinian Authority TV.

The mother said, "My greetings to dear Hakim, the apple of my eye, from the village of Awarta, 17 years old, who carried out the operation in Itamar (i.e., killing of 5 Fogel family members), sentenced to 5 life sentences and another 5 years, in prison."

At the time of the arrests, however, the same mother of Hakim Awad was adamant that he was innocent!

Ma'an reported then that this same mother had a series of alibis:
Nouf Awwad told Ma'an on Sunday - the day reports of the allegations against her son were made public with the lifting of an Israeli gag-order on the case of the slain settlers - that Hakim was still recovering from a recent surgery, which prevented him from walking long distances and required him to use the toilet every hour.

"We have the medical records, he is in unstable health," she said, adding that the family is gathering the papers to present as evidence in defense of Hakim.

She said Hakim had undergone testicular surgery in November at the Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus.

"He was at home [the night of the murders] and went to bed at 9:30 [p.m.]," she said.

Hakim, who was detained in early April during the third sweep of detentions carried out by Israeli forces, has remained in detention since that time, and has had no contact with his family. Nouf said she "could not rule out" the idea that her son had been tortured and confessed under duress.

This same mother told another newspaper that "one of the soldiers told me there we want to conclude the investigation of this crime, even if we have to fabricate the charge against any person from the village."

Anti-Israel activists seized on the mother's statements as "proof" that Hakim was tortured and framed by Israel. Once the murderers confessed in open court as to how proud they were, these critics became curiously silent about their previous accusations.

And they continue to believe the obvious lies that Palestinian Arabs spin about Israel without any skepticism.

(h/t Dan)


Monday, January 30, 2012

Top issue in Malaysian politics? Israel!

From WSJ:
Recent comments by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim have demonstrated yet again how issues related to Israel continue to divide this majority-Muslim country – and could influence the country’s next national election.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Anwar responded to the question of whether he would open diplomatic ties with Israel by stating his “support” for “efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel,” while at the same time backing the “legitimate rights of the Palestinians.” He stopped short of saying he would establish diplomatic relations between the two states – what he describes as a “tricky” issue – and stated that any change to the status quo would remain contingent on Israel recognizing the aspirations of the Palestinians.

Malaysia is one of three Southeast Asian nations including Indonesia and Brunei that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, though limited economic ties exist between private companies in both countries.

“Some refuse to recognize the state of Israel,” he said, “but I think our policy should be clear – protect the security [of Israel] but you must be as firm in protecting the legitimate interests of the Palestinians.”

The comments triggered a storm of debate and criticism, with members of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and other groups accusing the leader of abandoning the Palestinian cause – an emotive cause long-supported in the majority-Muslim Southeast Asian nation.

Lawmakers called on Mr. Anwar’s opposition coalition to release an official statement on the issue, while president of the right-wing Malay group Perkasa Ibrahim Ali said he would raise the issue in Parliament.

Mr. Anwar responded by saying he supported a “two-state solution” with Palestine, a policy he said was no different from the official stance adopted by the United Nations and Malaysia itself.

“I am issuing a stern warning to anyone trying to twist my statement just so that they can say that I have betrayed the aspirations of the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement to the press. His party’s stand “is to defend the rights of whoever it is that has been victimised,” the statement said.
Here is some Malaysian reaction:
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's support for Israel's security efforts is a signal to the Zionist regime and the United States that he is their man.

With Malaysia's general election nearing, Anwar is trying to gain the backing of powerful countries in order to come to power, although he has to go against his party's struggle for human rights.

Former Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy president Dr Chandra Muzaffar said Anwar's statement to The Wall Street Journal sent a clear message that he was in favour of US lobbyists and Zionist interests.

"Anwar understands that for the US, as far as Arab-Israel conflict is concerned, defending Israel matters most. And he knows that US lobbyists judge other countries' leaders based on their stand on the conflict.

"By coming out with such a statement, furthermore in an interview with the The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Zionist media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Anwar is telling them that he is a man whom they can depend on," Chandra told the New Straits Times yesterday.
More proof we Jews really do control the world.

Nasser, in 1955, felt most refugees wouldn't want to "return"

In 1955, the US was still trying to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Arab states. Egypt insisted that any peace plan include Israel giving Egypt significant territory in the Negev in order to form a strong connection between Egypt and Jordan. This would mean that Israel would either give up Eilat, which is what Egypt wanted, or Eilat would be effectively cut off from Israel.

As always, the issue of Palestine refugees came up, and Gamal Abdel Nasser said something surprising.

From a telegram from the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State, November 27, 1955:

[Nasser] agreed majority of refugees would no longer desire return [to] Israel or would not remain after they saw present conditions. (He referred to lot of the Arab in Israel as that of “Class B” citizens.) He thought however it would be most difficult for any Arab leader to take a position which deprived the refugee of his right to return. He therefore favored an approach which would allow the refugee to make his own decision about repatriation vis-à-vis resettlement and compensation. He agreed that this would be most difficult for Israel and wondered whether some impartial sensing of the real refugee opinion was possible through an agency such as UNRWA which could relieve both Israel and Arabs of difficult political problem. Told him I feared any such poll would indicate a far greater desire to return to Israel than would be actual case if opportunity were in fact presented.
Diplomats and Arab leaders knew that in the end, the majority of Palestinian Arab refugees wanted to move on with their lives as full citizens of any Arab state. But the rhetoric about "return" was so extreme that no one would dare admit it publicly - not the leaders, not the diplomats and not the refugees themselves. UNRWA, for its part, continued to insist that the refugees would never accept any alternative to full repatriation.

This is a small example of the playacting that Palestinian Arabs do to this very day. They are so afraid of saying anything against what is considered politically correct for them that they will reflexively say the standard line if they perceived any chance that their true thoughts would get them into trouble. In 1955, it was "return," today it is the many "eyewitnesses" to events that never occur.

It is an interesting footnote.

Bakewashing


An Israeli team of bakers won two first-place awards at the International Baking Championships held in Rimini this past week.

They won in the healthy bread category, for a pita bread stuffed with fresh spinach and cheese risotto balls. They also won in the dessert category, for a strawberry and fruit brioche-style Black Forest.

Based on these results, the Israeli team was declared the winner of the champtionships, with the Germans coming in second place and Australia in third.

While this is hardly an important news story, I have a question for those who call themselves "pro-Israel" but who manage to spend their entire days trying to dig up whatever dirt they can on the Jewish state.

When you read a story like this, are you proud?

People who are truly pro-Israel would feel a sense of pride, even if only a little, at the idea of the Jewish state winning a baking championship while competing against heavyweights like the US, France and Germany. They would feel the same way when Israel wins medals in the Olympics or when an Israeli wins a Nobel Prize.

Those who only pretend to be pro-Israel would not. They would studiously ignore the story, or try to find a reason why it is not such a good thing, or even try to frame it as if it proves some calumny or another about the state they pretend to love.

The reason is simple. People who are truly pro-Israel identify with Israel; those who only pretend to be pro-Israel identify with her enemies. Their emotional effort is not aimed at binding with Israelis, but with distancing themselves from them. To them, if a story about Israel is not wholly negative, it is not something to be publicized.

A look at the tweets of many of the so-called "pro-Israel" critics leaves one with no doubt as to how most of them really feel.

(h/t Yoel)

New map of Jewish land holdings in Syria

In December, I wrote about the little-known fact that the Jewish National Fund owns some 53 square kilometers of land in Syria. I showed a map of some of their holdings made in the 1930s:


Now, Guy Bechor writes (in Hebrew) many fascinating details on this story, about how a member of Hovevei Zion named David Rosenberg encouraged the purchase of land in the Hauran and tried to get Jews to settle there. Some did, in various settlements with names like Tiferet Binyamin and Nachalat Moshe. The settlements were attacked by Arabs and the Turks disallowed any further Jews from moving in, which doomed the enterprise.

The land was owned by the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA), which  gave the lands to the JNF in the 1950s.

Here are his maps:



Bechor also shows a Hebrew poster for a tour to visit these lands in the summer of 1935 - since there were no fences along the borders, Jews could just take a trip to Syria to visit historic Jewish lands in the Golan and Hauran. 

He goes on to show that in the 1940s, Syria simply confiscated much of the PICA-owned lands. Bechor estimates that between the Golan and Hauran, the JNF owns some 100,000 dunam (100 square km.) 

(h/t Yoel)


UPDATE: My Right Word has more.

The bizarre conspiracy theories of the anti-Israel Left

A nice piece at False Dichotomies by Alex Stein:

The best – and kindest – way to describe Richard Silverstein is that he’s silly. Very silly indeed. He sincerely believes that his blog makes an important contribution to world peace, so important that he regularly asks readers to give him money. After a frustrating first few years as a blogger, while he tried to find a bigger audience, most respectable publications realised that he was silly and wouldn’t have anything to do with him. Then he realised that he could reinvent himself as a ‘whistle-blower’,publishing stories that wouldn’t pass the Israeli military censors. This got him the attention he craved, including one or two profiles in the Israeli media. Some of his exposes were accurate; many were not. In assessing his sources, he seems to go by the principle that if it seems to be bad for Israel then it must be true. Needless to say, this isn’t necessarily the way to go if you want to be taken seriously.
Earlier today, in a report that someone with Silverstein’s prose might describe as ‘breathless’, he declared: “An exclusive report from a confidential highly-placed Israeli source says that a booby-tapped drone crashed and exploded at the top-secret Israeli airbase Sdot Micha.” According to this ‘confidential highly-placed source’, the drone was probably sent by Hizbollah/Iran, and the mainstream media reports (that it was an Israeli drone which malfunctioned) were a cover-up.
Over at +972, Dimi Reider convincingly demolishes Silverstein’s claims. His analysis seems reasonable. But he doesn’t stop there. The obvious conclusion is that Silverstein can’t be trusted (those who want to point out that he sometimes gets it right should be reminded that even a broken clock is correct twice a day), but Reider says he has unwittingly played into the IDF’s hands. “But the real question is: who would have us believe this highly improbably hypothesis is true? Iran is mostly trying to avoid escalation [by reassuring Israel that it is perfectly comfortable with its existence - Alex]. Why it would give Israel a perfect casus belli by launching such a blatant military attack, which causes no significant damage, is beyond me; but I can well imagine plenty of people within the IDF who would dearly like a casus belli to bolster their case for an attack on Iran. If I were Richard, I would be extremely suspicious of any information – especially uncorroborated information – that helps the pro-war camp in Israel. Not to mention that the source might be acting in good faith, but is being hoodwinked by his own sources within the system.”
Now, Dimi is far more intelligent than most of the folk out there who oppose Jewish statehood, and he’s certainly far more intelligent than the man with no sense of irony who calls his blog Tikun Olam. He must know that Silverstein’s a bit of a dupe. But here his world-view has forced him into some ludicrous contortions, especially now that Israeli footage of the drone proves that it was indeed Israeli. If the IDF wanted us to believe that Iran/Hizbollah had crashed a drone in Israel, why wouldn’t it just say so? Why would it bother coming up with a plausible – and verifiable – story about an Israeli drone malfunctioning? Why would it choose to use a consistently inaccurate and possibly unhinged blogger to try to convince the world that Iran was attacking Israel? Has he heard of Occam’s Razor?
The only conclusion to be drawn from this episode is that Richard Silverstein shouldn’t be taken seriously. But then most of us knew that a long time ago.

See also Israellycool.

(h/t Sylvia)

Deprivation: Haniyeh seeking $17 million for Gaza "Sports City"

Ismail Haniyeh is planning another tour of the Muslim world hot on the heels of his last one earlier this month. In this one he is visiting Qatar, Iran and other countries not yet specified.

In Qatar, Haniyeh is expected to ask for $17 million to build a "Sports City" in Gaza. The Emir had promised to fund such a project in 2006.

Haniyeh reportedly used to be a soccer player.


MSM finally starts noticing the "unity" sham

It only took ten months....
Rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas are delaying implementation of their reconciliation accord, paying lip-service to the deal while each pursues its own agenda, analysts say.

Last April, the rivals signed a reconciliation agreement which stipulated the holding of fresh presidential and legislative elections in May 2012 and the quick formation of an interim government of independents in the meantime.

The deal also called for a prisoner exchange, removal of restrictions on the distribution of each movement’s newspapers in the other’s territory and the issue of passports to Gaza residents by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

But the implementation has been painfully slow, with successive rounds of talks at various levels attempting to speed up the process.

Hamas last week gave the long-awaited green light for the reopening of offices of the Central Election Commission in its Gaza fiefdom.

But the CEC still awaits a decree from Palestinian president and Fatah chief Mahmud Abbas authorizing it to update electoral rolls unchanged since the last election six years ago.

Both sides have stressed their desire to repair the rift, but political scientist Mukhaimer Abu Saada of Gaza’s al-Azhar University said little of the deal appeared to have been implemented.

“On political prisoners, we hear that they are close; that the issue of Palestinian passports, newspapers will be settled,” he told AFP. “Every day we hear new promises.”

“They each still have their own calculations,” said Omar Shaaban of Palestinian think-tank Palthink in Gaza, suggesting both sides hope to strengthen their positions.

“(Abbas) thinks he can get something out of talks with Israel and Hamas relies on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. They want to wait.”

Earlier this month, independent Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghuthi, who heads a committee charged with helping implement the deal, warned that it was not being implemented.

“Talks have not started on the formation of the government, giving the impression that the deadlines have no value,” he said.

Although surveys of voter intentions give Fatah high scores, the movement fears entering a presidential fight with anything less than a cast-iron candidate, according to Mahdi Abdul Hadi of the Jerusalem think-tank PASSIA.

“Even though Abbas told them, ‘I’m not running,’ they did not believe him and could not find an alternative,” he told AFP.

Within Hamas, he said, a gap has opened between the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, and the leader of the movement in exile in Damascus, Khaled Meshaal.

“There is a power struggle between Hamas in Gaza and Damascus,” he said.

Meshaal arrived in Jordan on Sunday on his first official visit there since his expulsion in 1999, a trip seen as a turning point in historically difficult relations between Amman and the Islamist movement.

Haniya was to leave on Monday for a regional tour that includes a stop in Iran, which radically opposes any compromise with Israel.

The latest "unity" promise about to be broken is the one where a "technocrat" unity government would have been formed by the end of January.

LSE passes motions against anti-semitism and Islamophobia

Two recent incidents at the London School of Economics have caused the LSE Student Union to pass two motions, that seem on the surface to be analogous, one against anti-semitism and one against Islamophobia.

The anti-semitic incident happened last month:
According to a statement released by the LSE’s Jewish Society, a student objected to a drinking game that was being played, leading to a physical confrontation.

According to the Jewish Society, the group of students was playing a popular drinking game called Ring of Fire, but with a Nazi twist. This involved playing cards being arranged on a table in the shape of a swastika, with players required to “salute the Fuhrer.”

A Jewish student present, offended by the goings on, asked to stop the drinking game and the anti-Semitic gibes and jokes being thrown around. A fight then broke out, either right away or later in the evening, according to competing versions of events, and the complainer’s nose was broken.

Jay Stoll, president of the LSE’s Jewish Society said that “there is simply no context for what has happened here. Those who believe the game was all in good humor need to realize that when a Jewish student is subject to violence and the Nazi ideology glorified it is no joke but a spiteful, collective attack on a community.”
As a result of a Jewish student getting physically attacked over objecting to an undoubtedly anti-semitic game, the LSE passed this motion:
Union believes
1. All forms of racism are abhorrent and should be opposed.
2. Anti-Semitism is specific form of racism, relating to Jews and Judaism.
3. Anti-Semitism includes but is not limited to:
4. Denying, trivializing and misconstruing the Nazi Holocaust. This includes denying the fact, scope, method, or motivation for the genocide of 6 million Jews at the hands of the National Socialist regime. It also includes the accusation that Jews or the state of Israel have fabricated, cause or over-exaggerated the Holocaust.
5. Calling for, aiding or justifying the killing or harming of Jews for the sake of their Jewish religion, ethnicity or identity.
6. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such. This includes accusations of Jewish control of the world, government, media, as well as blaming Jews for imagined and real atrocities
7. Questioning the loyalty of Jews to their nation of citizenship simply on the basis of their Jewish identity. This includes claims that Jews as a collective or a community subvert or mislead the general population, as well as the claim that Jews are more loyal to the state of Israel than their country of citizenship.
8. Claiming that Jews do not have the same rights as any other ethnic group. This includes the right to free speech, free practice of religion, free use of native languages (i.e. Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, etc.) and self-determination.
9. ‘Equating Jews or maliciously equating Jewish Foundations of the state of Israel with the Nazi Regime. This includes, but is not limited to equating Zionism with Nazism and claiming that ‘History is repeating itself’ with regards to the Nazi Holocaust and the state of Israel. This also includes using Jewish symbols and religious imagery alongside Nazi symbols and imagery. This does not necessarily include analogies between historical events.’
10. Using Jewish symbols to antagonize, harass, and intimidate Jewish students.
11. Legitimate criticism of the Israeli government and its actions are not inherently anti-Semitic.

Union resolves

1. To publicly oppose actions on campus that are anti-Semitic based on the aforementioned definition.
2. To ensure all anti-Semitic incidents aimed at or perpetrated by LSE students either verbal, physical or online are dealt with swiftly and effectively in conjunction with the school and, if appropriate or requested by the victim, the Metropolitan Police.
3. To mandate the SU Anti-Racism officer to publish a semi-annual report detailing all incidents of racism, including anti-Semitic incidents of racism that have occurred on campus during the previous six months and the actions taken by the union and the School. The first report to be published Summer Term 09.
4. To work with Pro-Director for Teaching and Learning and Deans to address racism and anti-Semitism on campus and methods to alleviate it.
5. To ensure that this definition is used to promote and enhance legitimate debate regarding the morality and legitimacy of international conflicts and oppose illegitimate acts of anti-Semitism on campus.
(I don't understand the reference to Summer 09. Does this mean that the motion had been voted down in years past?)
This seems to be an appropriate response to a serious incident, and the motion is clearly against discrimination of Jews as a group.

The "Islamophobia" incident is more problematic. As described by the National Secularist Society:

The Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society (ASH) at the London School of Economics has been told by the Students Union that unless it removes a Jesus and Mo cartoon from its Facebook page it could be expelled from the Union. ASH had posted the cartoon "in solidarity with University College of London Atheist and Secularist group" which had been told by its own Student Union to remove the image.

The LSE Students Union (LSESU) said in a statement that the cartoon had been brought to their attention via a complaint by students - the number complaining varied from two to forty.

The statement continues:

"Upon hearing this, the sabbaticals officers of the LSESU ensured all evidence was collected and an emergency meeting with a member of the Students' Union staff was called to discuss how to deal with the issue. During this time, we received over 40 separate official complaints from the student body, in addition to further information regarding more posts on the society Facebook page.

"It was decided that the President and other committee members of the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society would be called for an informal meeting to explain the situation, the complaints that had been made, and how the action of posting these cartoons was in breach of Students' Union policy on inclusion and the society's constitution. This meeting took place on Friday 20th January at 10.30am. The society agreed to certain actions coming out of the meeting and these were discussed amongst the sabbatical team. In this discussion it was felt that though these actions were positive they would not fully address the concerns of those who had submitted complaints. Therefore the SU will now be telling the society that they cannot continue these activities under the brand of the SU".

This last sentence stops short of expelling them but is certainly reads as a veiled threat of expulsion.

The statement continues: "The LSE Students' Union would like to reiterate that we strongly condemn and stand against any form of racism and discrimination on campus. The offensive nature of the content on the Facebook page is not in accordance with our values of tolerance, diversity, and respect for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religious affiliation. There is a special need in a Students' Union to balance freedom of speech and to ensure access to all aspects of the LSESU for all the ethnic and religious minority communities that make up the student body at the LSE."

ASH's president Chris Moos, responded by saying, "We firmly reject the allegation that actions of our members have 'sought to marginalise' anyone, have caused 'harm to the welfare of Muslim students' or constituted a 'targeted campaign.'"

Moos continued "Although we reserve the right to criticise religious ideas, as humanists we will always oppose any targeted campaign against any community. We strongly oppose any form of anti-Muslim prejudice. The cartoons criticise religion in a satirical way. They do not target or call for the targeting of Muslims or any other religious group. Framing the criticism of religion as 'discrimination' or 'Islamophobic actions' is highly misguided and results in the stifling of valid debates. We do not discriminate amongst religions in our criticisms."
Here, there was no incitement; no physical violence; indeed, nothing remotely resembling creating a hateful atmosphere towards Muslims. It was simply a critical (and satirical, in this case) discussion of Islam and Christianity.

The motion against Islamophobia is therefore not against attacks on Muslims but against attacks on tenets of Islam:
Union believes
1. In the right to criticise religion,
2. In freedom of speech and thought,
3. It has a responsibility to protect its members from hate crime and hate speech,
4. Debate on religious matters should not be limited by what may be offensive to any particular religion, but the deliberate and persistent targeting of one religious group about any issue with the intent or effect of being Islamophobic (‘Islamophobia’ as defined below) will not be tolerated.
5. That Islamophobia is a form of anti-Islamic racism.

Union resolves

1. To define Islamophobia as “a form of racism expressed through the hatred or fear of Islam, Muslims, or Islamic culture, and the stereotyping, demonisation or harassment of Muslims, including but not limited to portraying Muslims as barbarians or terrorists, or attacking the Qur’an as a manual of hatred”,
2. To take a firm stance against all Islamophobic incidents at LSE and conduct internal investigations if and when they occur.
3. To publicly oppose actions on campus that are Islamophobic based on the aforementioned definition,
4. To ensure that all Islamophobic incidents aimed at or perpetrated by LSE students either verbal, physical or online are dealt with swiftly and effectively in conjunction with the School,
5. To work with the Pro-Director for Teaching and Learning and Deans to address Islamophobia and other forms of racism on campus and methods to alleviate it,
6. To ensure that this definition is used to promote and enhance legitimate debate regarding the morality and legitimacy of international conflicts and oppose illegitimate acts of Islamophobia on campus.
Despite the preamble pretending to support free speech, the actual definition of Islamophobia - and the LSE Student Union's actions based on the cartoon - show that they are essentially outlawing "blasphemy."

The difference between the two motions can be seen in a hypothetical case of the atheists writing an article attacking all religious belief, and giving specific examples of problematic issues in Jewish, Christian, Islamic and, say, Hindu beliefs. Only their statements about Islam would be censured by the LSE according to these motions.

It is also fascinating that the "offensive" Jesus and Mo cartoon was attacked only for supposed "Islamophobia" but not for any anti-Christian content, even though the cartoon is even-handed in its barbs to both religions.

Here is the most recent Jesus and Mo cartoon, relevant to this issue:


(h/t AM)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tunisians rally to criminalize normalization with Israel

From Tunisia-Live:
The National Committee for Supporting Arab Resistance and Fighting Normalization and Zionism, is a post-revolution Tunisian association whose mission is to lobby the National Constituent Assembly to criminalize normalization with the State of Israel.

The association organized a rally on Sunday, January 29th at the Ibn Khaldoun Cultural Center in downtown Tunis. Almost 100 people attended.

“We want our new constitution to include an article outlawing all types of normalization with the Zionist terrorist entity,” announced Ahmed Kahlaoui, President of the National Committee for Supporting the Arab Resistance and Fighting Normalization and Zionism.

Kahlaoui expressed his discontent with Tunisian civil society for their disinterest in the Palestinian cause.

He blames the lack of interest on what he calls foreign funding coming from “Zionist bodies” attempting to divert Tunisians from paying more attention to normalization.

“But what can we expect from people receiving huge amounts of money from Zionist bodies disguised behind the masks of tolerance and democracy,” Kahlaoui declared.

Hatem Dkhil, is a high school teacher and an anti-Israel advocate. He accused the Ben Ali regime of cultural normalization with Israel.

“The previous regime tried to corrupt the minds of young people… the previous educational system glorified Zionist figures.”

Dakhli also added that making a difference between Zionism and Judaism is “nothing but an illusion.”

According to Dakhli, under the previous regime, school textbooks were designed by “Zionist teachers.”

Dakhli was particularly upset with the maps in former regime textbooks. “In the maps of the Arab world, they either only mention Israel or recognize both Israel and Palestine,” he complained.

Tunisia actually has a National Day for Criminalizing the Normalization of Relations with Israel, on December 30. During this last day a number of groups participated, including - get this - the Tunisian League of Tolerance!

Fatwa: "Be careful about hacking Israelis, because they are better than we are"

From Al Arabiya:

In light of the increasing support of “the electronic Jihad” and the divergence of views regarding this subject, Islamic scholars have underlined their support for this new phenomenon, arguing that “any attempt to spite the enemy and endorse religion is legitimate”. They consider that Muslim youth involved in this phenomenon are in fact leading a jihad”.

But what do those who refuse to support this phenomenon have to say? They believe that “bringing down the enemy’s electronic devices could help in realizing certain objectives in some instances, but it can also be harmful if done at the wrong time.”

They noted that there is “a large number of people in the world who sympathize with Israel and might get involved in this battle, which would widen the circle of damage.”

On the other hand, Sheikh Fahd Bin Saad Al Jahni, a professor of sharia graduate studies, says that “in Islam, the Jihad is a broad concept that could be defined according to the interpretation of the and texts that cite the jihad. There are many types of jihad: the personal jihad, the jihad by money, and verbal Jihad. The last type includes the intellectual jihad, jihad by composition and by the call to God”.

Al Jahni added that “any attempt to spite the enemy and empower the religion must be conducted by legitimate means and according to Muslim rules. Therefore, religion could be widely empowered through electronic websites. This is what some people call “the electronic Jihad”. Thus, the terminology is correct, but it is the definition that matters as well as the extent to which the concept respects the legitimate procedure.”

“Therefore, I believe that the young Muslims who are striving to take advantage of this wide electronic window and fight the perverted ideology or shut down obscene websites and the websites of those who offended and dishonored the people of Islam and put hand on their holy sites like the Zionist aggressors, are using all legitimate means and are indeed leading a jihad provided they don’t exceed the limit of God in their rivalry,” Al Jahni said.

Moreover, Abdullah Al Aalwit, a Muslim law researcher, pointed to the fact that electronic jihad means “destroying the enemy’s electronic devices or surreptitiously taking valuable information from these devices.” He confirmed that “the electronic jihad, like any other type of ihad, is legitimate in determined instances and might be harmful if used at the wrong time and in the wrong circumstances.

“However, it is clear that the nation’s condition does not allow any type of Jihad against any of its enemies because our enemies are way more advanced than we are in all kinds of fields. If an electronic war shall erupt, it is expected to have serious repercussions due to the big number of those who sympathize with Israel in the world and who might enter this battle, which would widen the circle of damage,” he added.

Al Aalwit advised that people should “take this factor in consideration because sympathizers with Israel exceed us in number and in their scientific and technological skills. We are not discouraging this type of jihad because the true original jihad is led by fight and struggle and any other attempt is simply a means to exert pressure and strangle the enemy rather than a jihad. The term “jihad” here is used as a metaphor, and since electronic wars are means of pressure, they do not conform to the known provisions of jihad”.

“In addition, the electronic Jihad is immoral because it is similar to theft, spying and embezzlement. Jihad is not fought in this manner, as if we are spreading drugs in the enemy’s society. Electronic jihad only serves in times of war when fighters want to disrupt the enemy’s communication devices. However, we are not in war and electronic battles under these circumstances are considered as a type of corruption.”
So while there is a divergence of views, it doesn't look like any Muslim scholar has a problem with attacking, say,  a hospital website if they think there is a war going on. The main question is whether they need to worry more about the repercussions that could boomerang on them.

Gaza plans to strengthen connections to Egypt's electric grid

Mohamed Awad, deputy Hamas prime minister, announced that Egypt and the Hamas government have agreed to connect their electrical grids, "so as to end the power crisis in the Gaza Strip completely and irrevocably."

He said, "We are in contact with our brothers in Egypt to increase the amount of electricity received from the Egyptian side...we are seeking the introduction of tools, equipment and maintenance of electrical turbines,and will run the power plant at full capacity to alleviate the crisis."

He hoped that the PA government wouldn't do anything to stand in the way of what appears to be an agreement directly between Egypt and Hamas.

Hamas already spurns any power plant diesel coming from Israel.

Meanwhile, Egyptians in the northern Sinai are complaining that there is a severe shortage of gas cylinders - because armed gangs are stealing them and smuggling them to Gaza for a profit. Their price on the black market has skyrocketed.

PA TV praises murderers of Fogels as "heroic"

From Palestinian Media Watch:



PA TV host: "We have a call from the family of prisoner Hakim Awad."

Mother of Hakim Awad: "I thank you for connecting me with my son, because I and all of the family are prevented for security reasons [from visiting him].

Host: "Go ahead, sister, we can convey your voice."

Mother of Hakim Awad: "My greetings to dear Hakim, the apple of my eye, from the village of Awarta, 17 years old, who carried out the operation in Itamar (i.e., killing of 5 Fogel family members), sentenced to 5 life sentences and another 5 years, in prison."

Aunt of Hakim Awad: "I'm the sister of prisoner Hassan Awad and of Salah Awad; [I am] Um Habib, from the village of Awarta. My warm greetings to all the great heroic prisoners, to my brother Hassan Awad, head of the village council; to my brother Salah Awad, the heroic prisoner journalist; to the heroic, resolute prisoner, the lion, Yazid Awad, my nephew; and to my nephew Hakim Awad, the hero, the legend."

Host: "We [PA TV], for our part, also convey our greetings to them."

Aunt of Hakim Awad: "I dedicate this song to Hassan Awad, Yazid Awad, Hakim Awad, and Salah Awad, in prison:

'My brother, in solitary confinement, your voice calls to me
You dare not throw down the rifle
That is what the homeland asked of me
In your eyes, we are all self-sacrificing fighters.
I convey greetings to the sound of the bullets of Ahmad Sa'adat and Hakim Awad.'"


Host: "Thank you for being with us, the family of prisoners Hassan and Salah Awad of Awarta."

[PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 19 and 21, 2012]

Note: On March 11, 2011, five members of the Fogel family were killed in their home in the Israeli town Itamar by Palestinian terrorists from the Awad family. Hakim Awad led the attack, killing the parents Ehud and Ruth and three of their children, aged 11 years, 4 years, and 2 months.


Ahmad Sa'adat, mentioned in the song recited by Hakim Awad's aunt, is serving a 30-year sentence for heading the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror organization. He is also suspected of having planned the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism, Rehavam Ze'evi, in 2001, but was not tried.

(h/t Elias)

An unusual peace conference - in a Jewish settlement

Makor Rishon reports on an interesting, if quixotic, conference that took place at Ariel University.

They were there to debate "What is the best peace plan?"

It was sponsored by an Israeli organization that had already held similar conferences in Tel Aviv, eastern Jerusalem and Beit Jala. The Ariel conference was attended by Palestinian Arabs, Jews who live in Samaria, students with yarmulkas together with Muslim men and women.

While the organizers were upset that some of the Arab invitees were barred and others were held up at checkpoints, the atmosphere was described as intimate as the groups mingled over coffee and cookies.

One right-wing speaker said "I do not believe in separation. Oslo failed, the disengagement failed. I believe we need to cooperate as much as possible in creating a life together, so these discussions are so important."

Most of the Arabs spoke about variants of a one-state solution but all options were on the table.

The Israeli organizer, Doron Tzur, said he wants to "create a reality where Israelis and Palestinians participate in presenting their own ideas of peace, and design by asking questions and answers and requests for clarification. [We want] a more detailed plan, one that is transparent, that everyone can explore, ask questions and expect a response. The way to build confidence, create some sort of agreement , where a majority of both nations agree; let's do a referendum, let's make it a reality."

One Arab speaker stressed that DNA studies showed that many Palestinians are of Jewish origin who converted, and wants them to embrace their Jewish roots without abandoning Islam, and therefore being part of a single state. Another proposed a federation of two states into one, where the Jewish side could "even have an army."

Tzur specializes in conflict resolution, and he doesn't think that his idea of getting Jews and Arabs to discuss these ideas together is too utopian.

"In 1897, Zionism was a dream. Fifty years later we have the State of Israel. True, there are many intersections in history, but that does not mean we are exempt from exploration and trying to change reality. The conflict is not a tsunami, nor a decree. It is inside the minds of people, and you can also change their hearts and minds. If people would open up, sit down and combine their desires, it will happen."

While I think this is simply not conceivable, the photo illustrating the story was worthy of a poster. Especially since Ariel University does have Arab students - even as some left-wing Israeli academics choose to boycott it.



(h/t Yoel)

Israel and Jordan planning joint solar energy farm

Ma'ariv reports that King Abdullah has given the OK to a joint 100 megawatt solar energy project that will straddle Jordan and Israel.

A feasibility study fo rthe project is currently taking place.

The solar farm will take 3000 dunam a bit north of Eilat. It is expected to cost between $300-600 million.

Businesses see the project as leverage for economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan and an opportunity to develop the border areas of both countries.

Which means we can expect to see "peace activists" protesting this cooperation any hour now. I'm just trying to figure out what their angle will be - "Israel Stealing Arab Sunshine"?

Islamic Jihad leader: "There would be no resistance without Iran"

Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah is on a visit to Iran, where he spoke at a Conference for Youth and Islamic Awakening. (It appears that under the new Egyptian regime, terrorists are now freely allowed to travel through the Rafah crossing to go on world tours.)

The keynote speaker at the conference was none other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who explained why Israel was "created" by the West:
"Why did they created the Zionist regime? To gain control over oil, as well as the popular and revolutionary uprisings in the Middle East,” said President Ahmadinejad in his opening speech at the conference.

“It is clear that this was a historical scheme,” the Iranian president added.

Ahmadinejad also said that "the very existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to the dignity of human beings and a disrespect to nations."

Shallah, for his part, called for all Arab and Islamic nations to stand by Iran, saying that the Islamic Republic was and remains the "champion of the resistance," and warning of a Western plot characterize Iran as the enemy rather than Israel.

He said that Arab nations must reject this logic and they should understand that Iran is not the enemy but "a big brother, friend and patron, which harbors and supports the resistance and victory." He said that without their support there can be no "resistance."

Which is about as clear a line between Iran and terrorism as you can draw.

"Do the Burqa!" video elicits death threats

From Radio Netherlands:

Dutch satirist Johan Vlemmix has decided not to perform his latest hit Do the Burqa onstage following death threats.

The song, a carnival parody to the music of Van McCoy's Do the Hustle, is a huge success on YouTube, so much so that the video provider has switched off the comments facility. Too many people were posting angry reactions saying that they had been insulted.

The images show a woman wearing a T-shirt which can be instantly converted into a burqa, be it one that does not cover the breasts.

Mr Vlemmix said he had expected some commotion over his song: "I'm not exactly dumb." But he had failed to anticipate the virulence of the reactions: "I really meant it as a joke. Because the burqa is banned in the Netherlands I thought it was fun to offer a carnival alternative for it: the burqa shirt."

Carnival, a colourful, musical and noisy feast celebrated annually in the southern half of the Netherlands, is often used to mock authorities and make fun of social issues by people dressed up or disguised in humorous creations.

He has not only stopped performing the song onstage, Johan Vlemmix has also cancelled the option to order the shirts via his website. But he stops short at pulling the video from Youtube: "I made it because I was convinced it was right, and I refuse to take it down."

It's not the first time that a carnival song by Johan Vlemmix caused a stir. Four years ago people from Poland reacted angrily to his song A busload of Poles, about Polish plumbers flooding the Dutch labour market. But, Mr Vlemmix said, "that was caused by an incorrect translation". Another song of his, about the deadly bird flu virus, also failed to find universal approval. But none of his earlier songs ever led to death threats.
I'm offended too. Lousy green-screening, only one joke, and a dancer in a bikini who is not exactly star material.

But what is interesting to me is that the video does not make fun of Islam at all. It satirizes an article of clothing that some Muslim women wear, but it avoids any insult to Islam as a faith.




(h/t Jack)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

3000 Muslims attack Christian homes in Egypt over rumor

From AINA:

A mob of over 3000 Muslims attacked Copts in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat (el-Ameriya), Alexandria this afternoon. Coptic homes and shops were looted before being set ablaze. Two Copts and a Muslim were injured. The violence started after a rumor was spread that a Coptic man had an allegedly intimate photo of a Muslim woman on his mobile phone. The Coptic man, Mourad Samy Guirgis, surrendered to the police this morning morning for his protection.

According to eyewitnesses, the perpetrators were bearded men in white gowns. "They were Salafists, and some of were from the Muslim Brotherhood," according to one witness. It was reported that terrorized women and children who lost their homes were in the streets without any place to go.

According to Father Boktor Nashed from St. George's Church in el-Nahdah, a meeting between Muslim and Christian representatives was supposed to take place in the evening in Kobry-el-Sharbat. But, by 3 P.M. a Muslim mob looted and torched the home of Mourad Samy Guirgis, as well as the home of his family and three homes of Coptic neighbors. A number of Coptic-owned shops and businesses were also looted and torched. "We contacted security forces, but they arrived very, very late," Said Father Nashad. The fire brigade was prevented from going into the village by the Muslims and the fires were left to burn themselves out. "Those who lost their home, left the village," said Father Nashed.

Coptic activist Mariam Ragy, who was covering the violence in Kobry-el-Sharbat , said it took the army 1 hour to drive 2 kilometers to the village. "This happens every time. They wait outside the village until the Muslims have had enough violence, then they appear." She said that she spoke to many Copts from the village this evening who said that although their homes were not attacked, Muslims stood in the street asking them to come to their homes to hide. "They believed that this was a new trick to make them leave, so that Muslims would loot and torch their homes while they were away," said Ragy.

The Gov of Alexandria visited al-Nahda, near Kobry-el-Sharbat, this evening and told elYoum 7 newspaper that the two Copts and one Muslim who were injured were transported to hospital. He said that the family of the Muslim girl whose image was on the Copt's mobile phone wanted revenge from the Coptic man. They broke into his home and torched a furniture factory located in the same building.

Joseph Malak, a lawyer for the Coptic Church in Alexandria, said it is too early to count injuries to Copts or losses to their property.

Mr. Mina Girguis, of the Maspero Youth Union in Alexandria, said that "collective punishment of Copts for someone else's mistake, which is yet to be determined, is completely unacceptable." He believes that the reason for this violence is fabricated, and the military is behind it. "They are trying to divert the attention from the second revolution which is taking place now."

Father Nashed denied that Islamists were present, only ordinary village Muslims, and could not give an explanation as why people who have lived together amicably for years could commit such violence. "Maybe because of lack of security, they think that they can do as they please."

He said that the nearly 65 Coptic families were ordered to stay indoors and not to open their shops and businesses tomorrow. He added that security forces did not arrest any of the perpetrators, "on the contrary, they were begging the mob to go home."

By midnight the violence had subsided.
I think that Jews who used to live in the Arab world might be able to answer the question of "why people who have lived together amicably for years could commit such violence." In the Muslim world, co-existence does not mean equality. As long as the Christians and Jews play their role as dhimmis, they will be sort-of "protected," but that is a far cry from being accepted.

See this, for example.

Staged photo of "injured" Arab makes headlines

Arabic news sites have been showing a series of photos of an Arab man supposedly deliberately run over by an Israeli truck near Hebron:







A Palestinian construction worker screamed in pain after an Israeli soldier drove a trailer hooked to a tractor over his legs near Yatta, West Bank, Wednesday. Israeli forces seized equipment because they said the workers were building in an unauthorized area. (Hazem Bader/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

The last photo in particular has been reproduced all over the world last week as one of the Best Photos of the day, with similar captions to what I showed here.

Only one problem: It appears that the man in such torment was faking it.

From CAMERA:

After checking with both Palestinian and Israeli sources, it seems that the man was not at all injured, and there is no evidence that he was run over. On the Palestinian side, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which provides comprehensive weekly reports about all injuries, fatalities, incursions, and other incidents in both the West Bank and Gaza, makes no mention of this alleged injury in its report for Jan. 19- 25. In addition, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency did not cover the alleged injury, even though it does report on Israeli army activity that day nearby in Tel Rumeida. And Ma'an also reported a hit and run incident, in which a Palestinian teen was hit by an Israeli driver at a checkpoint this morning. Presumably, then had this worker actually been run over and injured on Wednesday, Ma'an would have carried the story. Nor does it appear that any English-language wire service or other media outlet covered the alleged injury.

On the Israeli side, Capt. Barak Raz, spokesman for the Judea and Samaria division who had spoken to soldiers at the scene, told CAMERA the following: IDF soldiers were on site to provide security for the Civil Administration, which was preventing Palestinian construction in an area not permitted for building. One Palestinian worker was lying on the ground next to the trailer when he started to scream that he had been run over. Nobody saw him get run over. First he complained that his left leg was injured. An army medic checked him and saw nothing. The medic did, nevertheless, wrap him in a bandage since the worker was carrying on that he had been run over. The man then subsequently claimed that it was his right leg which was injured. According to Raz, the Palestinian Red Crescent, which was also on the scene, checked him, and likewise found absolutely nothing wrong with him.

In short, at worst, this incident is staged, as Raz contends, and the man pretended to be run over and injured, while neither happened. At best, there is zero independent confirmation that he was injured. If neither AFP nor IHT can substantiate the claim, it ought to be immediately retracted.
But it is such a dramatic photo - why ruin it with finding out the truth?

Friday, January 27, 2012

84 killed in Syria today

Al Arabiya is reporting that the death toll in Syria today is 84 people, most of them in Hama. There was also a car bomb attack and an ambush against Syrian forces, killing 12.

This is besides the massacre in Homs yesterday, where 14 members of a single family were shot or hacked to death, including 8 children.

Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army says it captured five members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in Homs:
A group of Syria’s opposition “Free Army” has released a video showing what it was said were seven Iranians, including five members of the Revolutionary Guards, captured in the city of Homs.

The video showed travel documents of the captives, some of whom appeared to be speaking Farsi.

“I am Sajjad Amirian, a member the Revolutionary Guards of the Iranian armed forces. I am a member of the team in charge of cracking down on protesters in Syria and we receive our orders directly from the security division of the Syrian air force in Homs,” one of the captives said.

“I urge Mr. Khamenei to work on securing our release and return to our homes,” he added.
Syria's official SANA news agency says that a group of Iranians captured, probably the same group, were just pilgrims on their way to visit holy sites.

Fayyad whines that the world isn't focused on Palestinian Arabs anymore

From Al Arabiya:
Fayyad and Peres at Davos
The Middle East peace process is at its lowest point in two decades and the events of the Arab Spring have forced it down the world agenda, the Palestinian prime minister complained Thursday as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that the end of informal talks between Palestinians and Israel does not mean the two sides have reached an “impasse.”

Salam Fayyad, a moderate whose remit does not extend beyond the West Bank, told delegates at the Davos forum of global business leaders that the peace process was desperately in need of outside help.

Fayyad told delegates that things had never been so bad since the start of the peace negotiations in 1991 that eventually led to the Oslo accord in 1993.
Oh, to return to those halcyon days of 2002-2005, when Fatah and Hamas terrorists worked together in blowing up Jewish babies and the peace process was still considered possible! Good times. Things are so much worse now.
“There must be hope, we have to maintain hope. If you are Palestinian, hope is something that must be part of conscious decision-making,” said Fayyad.

“But right now one would have to really work hard to be hopeful as to where the political process is.”

“Since the beginning of Oslo, the political process has never been so lacking in focus.”

“Obviously we need to sit down and negotiate but it’s recognized that we need a significant amount of international help and chaperoning in order to do this.”
No, all that is needed is a little flexibility on the part of the PLO, something that they brag about not having.
Fayyad said the Palestinian cause was taking a back seat in the region as Arab governments try and come to terms with the popular revolts which swept the region last year.

“There’s much better understanding of the need to have a responsible, responsive government” in the Arab world after the uprisings, said Fayyad.

“But it seems to me that an immediate consequence of the Arab Spring, our cause has been marginalized by it in a substantial way.

“I do not recall that the Palestinian cause has been as marginalized in the way that it has been for many decades.

“We must work out how do we deal with this marginalization... It may take quite a number of years before the region settles down with a better state of equilibrium.”
Aw, poor Palestinian Arabs. They are so used to being in the spotlight. Airplane hijackings, murder of Olympic athletes, triumphant speeches at the UN with a gun, uncountable front-page stories, terror sprees, allying with dictators, thousands of rockets, turning suicide bombing into an art - wasn't it wonderful when they were the big story? Now that nasty Arab Spring pops up, showing that in comparison with their brethren they have decent lives, self-governance, better education, a much better economy, and relative peace.

Not to mention an uncanny ability to shoot themselves in the foot every time real peace seems to be at hand.

For sixty years, their fellow Arabs have given them lip-service support, and for sixty years they have taken this all for granted in order to use them to pressure Western governments with threats of uprisings and riots and terror for their cause. Now, the Arabs have their own issues, and the Palestine topic is shown to be not important at all.


This is why they love stunts instead of substantive negotiations. Negotiations are hard and boring and under the radar. Stunts are easy and public and often get attention by the media. 

So even their moderate, Western-educated leaders are whining about them no longer being the center of attention. Like spoiled children, they don't care about what else might be happening in the world - they cannot conceive of a reality where they are not the protagonists. They prefer the days of terror when they were in the headlines to the days of relative peace when they aren't. Arabs are being killed by the thousand, and they hate it - not because they care about their fellow Arabs, but because it diverts world attention from their own, comparatively picayune issues.

Whine, stunt, whine, stunt. Anything to avoid doing something constructive and lasting.

A leftist talks about the "Israel-Firster" label (Tablet)

From Spencer Ackerman in Tablet:
At the risk of sounding like the shtetl police, there’s a right way and a wrong way for American Jews to argue with one another. The right way focuses on whose ideas are better—for America, for Israel, for the Jewish community, and for the world. The Jewish left should be right at home with this kind of substantive debate, since I believe those ideas are better than those of our cousins on the Jewish right. But the wrong way, regretfully, is now on the rise among Jewish progressives.
Some on the left have recently taken to using the term “Israel Firster” and similar rhetoric to suggest that some conservative American Jewish reporters, pundits, and policymakers are more concerned with the interests of the Jewish state than those of the United States. Last week, for example, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald asked Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg about any loyalty oaths to Israel Goldberg took when he served in the IDF during the early 1990s. (On Tuesday, writer Max Blumenthal used a gross phrase to describe Goldberg: “former Israeli prison guard.”) The obvious implication is that Goldberg’s true loyalty is to Israel, not the United States. For months, M.J. Rosenberg of Media Matters, the progressive media watchdog group, has been throwing around the term “Israel Firster” to describe conservatives he disagrees with. One recent Tweet singled out my friend Eli Lake, a reporter for Newsweek: “Lake supports #Israel line 100% of the time, always Israel first over U.S.” That’s quite mild compared to some of the others.
“Israel Firster” has a nasty anti-Semitic pedigree, one that many Jews will intuitively understand without knowing its specific history. It turns out white supremacist Willis Carto was reportedly the first to use it, and David Duke popularized it through his propaganda network. And yet Rosenberg and others actually claim they’re using it to stimulate “debate,” rather than effectively mirroring the tactics of some of the people they criticize.
Throughout my career, I’ve been associated with the Jewish left—I was to the left of the New Republic staff when I worked there, moved on to Talking Points Memo, hosted my blog at Firedoglake for years, and so on. I’ve criticized the American Jewish right’s myopic, destructive, tribal conception of what it means to love Israel. But it doesn’t deserve to have its Americanness and patriotism questioned. By all means, get into it with people who interpret every disagreement Washington has with Tel Aviv as hostility to the Jewish state. But if you can’t do it without sounding like Pat Buchanan, who has nothing but antipathy and contempt for Jews, then you’ve lost the debate.
This is tiresome to point out. Many of the writers who are fond of the Israel Firster smear are—appropriately—very good at hearing and analyzing dog-whistles when they’re used todehumanize Arabs and Muslims. I can’t read anyone’s mind or judge anyone’s intention, but by the sound of it these writers are sending out comparable dog-whistles about Jews.

(h/t CHA)