Monday, December 31, 2012

Comedy Gold: Muslim Brotherhood Leader Tells Jews To Leave Israel, Return to Egypt

Comedy Gold: Muslim Brotherhood Leader Tells Jews To Leave Israel, Return to Egypt

Don't read this one with a mouthful of liquid...

Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, called on Egyptian Jews to leave Israel to the Palestinians and return to their own homeland.

Their presence in Palestine contributes to the Zionist occupation of Arab lands, and every Egyptian has the right to live in his country — nobody can deny that, Erian said during an interview on the privately operated Dream TV on Thursday.

“Why did Nasser expel them [the Jews] from Egypt?” he asked, claiming that Nasser’s decision contributed to the occupation of other Arab lands.

"Egyptian Jews should refuse to live under a brutal, bloody and racist occupation stained with war crimes against humanity," Erian said. 

Yes..the Jews should leave prosperous, democratic Israel and return to sharia ruled Egypt where they'll have no rights and will live as a despised, poverty stricken minority in an anti-semitic country where Jew hatred is almost universal!

Perhaps the Egyptians need labor for some new building projects and see the Jews returning to their historical role in Egypt to provide it....


Here's a suggestion. First, just to clean the slate, let Egypt return the value of the property,business and bank accounts that were stolen from Egypt's Jews when they were ethnically cleansed from the country after 1948. Nazi-like, the Egyptians forced the Jews to sign papers 'donating' their net wealth to the Egyptian government as the price for their lives. The Jews from Egypt arrived in Israel literally with the clothes on their backs as penniless refugees in one of the only countries that would take them.

The value of the property stolen from the almost one million Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world is estimated at at least $5 billion in today's dollars. Egypt probably accounts for something in the neighborhood of at least $1.25 billion. Cut the Egyptian Jews still living and their descendents a check, saddiq! And in dollars please, not your worthless Egyptian Pounds.

Here's an even better suggestion, since the first one's unlikely to happen. If you want immigrants that badly, start with the 1.5 million Arabs living in Gaza, something Egypt should have done sixty years ago.Your fellow Muslim Brotherhood friends are bound to fit in better with the New Egypt you're creating than Jews willl.

Observation: President Peres Cannot have It Both Ways

Observation: President Peres Cannot have It Both Ways

Dr. Aaron Lerner 

When representatives of the Likud Party responded today to public remarks made by President Shimon Peres that criticized Netanyahu for not finding a partner for peace in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Labor 
chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich responded by saying that "The Likud's lashing out at the president of the country, one of the symbols of the state of Israel, is aggressive and contemptible."

But Mr. Peres cannot have it both ways.

If he wants to enjoy the immunity from criticism of a president of Israel, he has to limit himself to his apolitical presidential functions.

But if Mr. Peres wants to participate in the rough and tumble of the policy debate – in particular in weeks before the national elections, then it is an affront to the very lifeblood of the democratic process for those who 
disagree with his views to be forced into silence.

Because the moment that we enter the policy debate, then to be frank about it, Mr. Peres is painfully short on depth.

Mr. Peres is candid on this, arguing that there is absolutely no significance to the past – be it what happened decades ago or days ago.

And once you take the position that the policy debate cannot be argued by bringing evidence from the past the analysis is more a matter of the ability to turn a phrase than anything else.

And that suits Mr. Peres just fine.

Because Shimon Peres has been on the wrong side of history in policy making for decades.

What can Mr. Peres do now?

He can welcome the criticism of the Likud and argue back on a substantive basis.

Debate yes.

Immunity. No.

Ariel: A stronghold under attack

Ariel: A stronghold under attack

Dr. Haim Shine

Years ago, I was asked to teach philosophy at Ariel University. I gladly obliged, and headed to Ariel once a week. To get to Ariel one must travel through a winding road that passes through quite a few Arab villages. There were always very few cars on the road, and military vehicles were always there to secure the way.

The number of students at the college back then was very thin. Most of them hailed from Petach Tikva, Kfar Saba and communities in Samaria. The college offered very few programs, all the classes were held in one building, and the lecturers came solely from the Bar-Ilan University staff.

At the graduation ceremony, I told the graduates that one day the road leading to the school would have traffic lights, the dorms that will be built one day will always have lights on and the State of Israel will take pride in the college's achievements.

More than two decades have passed since then. My words of hope have materialized beyond my wildest expectations. The roads in Samaria are full of cars, traffic lights have been installed at several junctions, and the number of students attending Ariel University has risen to 15,000. There is always something happening in the dorms and the atmosphere is that of a regular campus. New buildings have been added, education centers have been erected, and the sounds of science can be heard throughout Samaria. The university is at the forefront of scientific research in various fields, including energy, robotics, electro-optics, lasers, cancer research, history and the study of Israeli cultures around the world.

Many of the lecturers are immigrants from the former Soviet Union who brought with them impressive technical and research know-how. The students come from all over, mainly areas outside of the central region. Religious and secular students study together in harmony, as do Jews and Arabs.

I was very moved this week to learn of the decision by the defense minister and the GOC Central Command to grant the school official university status. This recognition will allow the university to advance science, add research centers and increase the number of students.

Many of the academic leaders in Israel, who belong to an exclusive leftist elite that is rapidly losing its sway, have been fighting bitterly for years against the school in Ariel. They must have forgotten the ancient Jewish principle that competition makes people learn more and become wiser. They prefer to wage a political campaign under the slogan "as long as there is occupation, there will be no university." They dress their political agenda up with arguments about the academic and research level, but these are baseless arguments that stem from jealousy.

The leftist professors and politicians, for whom Ariel University is a purification of the impure, know the truth. The truth is that a place that houses a thriving university will never be handed over in a peace agreement. The same rules that apply to Hebrew University on Mount Scopus apply to Ariel as well. The Left's battle against Ariel is not about academics, it is about the Jews' right to settle in their historic homeland.

The battle will not be won in the U.N., or even through peace negotiations (which should involve a give and take but so far have included only the "give"). It will be won only through the Jews' resolve to build more institutions of knowledge and culture, synagogues and community centers in Judea and Samaria. The university in Ariel, beyond the science and knowledge it generates, is considered an important stronghold in the battle for the Jews' rights in their historic homeland.

An Israeli state of mind

An Israeli state of mind

Yoram Ettinger

On the eve of the January 22, 2013 Israeli election, the Israeli public demonstrates more realism than its politicians. Israelis highlight security imperatives when responding to reality-driven polls, which pose questions based on the stormy Arab Winter and not on the mirage of the Arab Spring.

Increasingly, Israelis recognize that — in the Middle East — bolstered security constitutes a solid base for survival and for the pursuit of peace. They realize that the pursuit of peace, by lowering the threshold of security, could jeopardize survival, as well as the slim chance for peace.

Notwithstanding the overwhelmingly dovish Israeli media and academia, most Israelis — Right, Center and Left — have concluded that security-driven peace supersedes peace-driven security.

In December 2012, a most thorough and detailed poll was conducted by one of the deans of Israeli pollsters, Mina Tzemach, on behalf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The poll demonstrates that Israelis respond to real local and regional developments — more than to wishful thinking — when shaping positions on the peace process, security requirements, land for peace, the two-state-solution and Iran.

Such positions are directly impacted by the 20-year track record of the 1993 Oslo Accords: an unprecedented Israeli gesture met by unprecedented Palestinian hate education, terrorism and noncompliance. Israeli opinions are also influenced by the current turbulence, unpredictability, unreliability, treachery and instability on the Arab street. The Israeli state of mind is also shaped by the violent Palestinian response (thousands of missiles launched at Israel) to the 2005 Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip — a tormenting, painful concession of uprooting 25 thriving Jewish communities.

According to the December Mina Tzemach (Dahaf Polling Institute) poll, most Israelis assume that Palestinians are concerned about the existence — and not the size — of Israel, and therefore are very skeptical about the land-for-peace formula. Most Israelis do not trust Palestinian compliance with agreements, and therefore are dubious about the two-state solution, which they increasingly consider a two-state delusion.

For instance, 76% (83% among Israeli Jews) believe that an Israeli retreat to the pre-1967 sliver along the Mediterranean would not satisfy the Palestinians or other Arabs. Only 22% (15% among Israeli Jews) assume that such a concession would produce an end to the conflict. About 74% of Israelis are convinced that strategic depth — a code word for Judea and Samaria — is pertinent to Israel’s national security. Only 21% discount the importance of strategic depth. Fully 66% disapprove (and 29% approve) a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines in return for a peace accord with the Palestinians and all Arab countries. About 63% are against a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines with minor modifications.

A ratio of 65:33 opposes the repartitioning of Jerusalem in the context of a peace accord; 65:31 reject a withdrawal from the Jordan Valley; 68:28 refuse evacuation of Ariel and western Samaria; 72:22 insist on retaining control over the blocs of Jewish settlements; 73:18 disapprove relinquishing control over the Judea and Samaria mountains that dominate Ben-Gurion International Airport; 67:22 insist that Israel retains control of Highway 443, which connects Jerusalem to the coastal plain via the West Bank.

Only 20% of the Israeli public assumes that the recent developments on the Arab street are irrelevant to the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Only 21% maintains that these events warrant an acceleration of the peace process.

About 52% — compared with 49% in 2005 — consider secure boundaries superior to peace, compared with 36% who view peace as the prerequisite to security.

Most Israelis trust only the Israel Defense Forces to protect the country. For example, only 39% assume that Israel can rely on the U.S. military during an emergency. About 68% oppose the stationing of foreign troops — including U.S. troops — in the Jordan Valley. Only 26% would support such a deployment.

About 68% do not believe that sanctions constitute an effective option against Iran; 53% presume that the U.S. will not resort to the military option to prevent Iran’s nuclearization; 53% support an Israeli military pre-emption against Iran if the U.S. fails to pre-empt.

This most comprehensive Mina Tzemach poll highlights the Israeli public as top heavy on realism and low on wishful-thinking. Most Israelis do not indulge in the New Middle East Delusion, March of Democracy or the Facebook and Youth Revolution; they brace themselves for the Real Middle East and its clear and present threats. It is a rare state of mind among Western democracies, enhancing Israel’s power-projection and Israel’s role as the beachhead of the Free World in the economically and militarily critical Middle East. It is a source of optimism.

'I am very concerned for the well-being of Western culture'

'I am very concerned for the well-being of Western culture'

Professor Afshin Ellian was born in Iran, was persecuted by the ayatollah regime and was granted asylum in the Netherlands • He then became a philosopher and harsh critic of Islam • He talks about Europe's weakness in the face of Islam and says that "without the State of Israel, the Iranian utopia is meaningless."

Dror Eydar

The problem isn't with Muslims, but fundamentalism. Iranian-born Professor Afshin Ellian. | Photo credit: Ziv Koren

Upon his arrival to Israel, Afshin Ellian was informed by Immigration that they would waive the stamping of his passport. He could not understand. "You were born in Iran," he was explained. "Despite holding a Dutch passport, you are also Iranian, and an Israeli entry stamp in your passport is a punishable offense in Iran." Ellian insisted. "No, please stamp my passport. It is an honor for me to be in Israel."

Dr. Afshin Ellian, a Dutch professor of law, philosopher, poet and sharp critic of Islam, was born in Iran in 1966. The Iranian Revolution broke out when he was thirteen, and three years later he became a fugitive, wanted by the Ayatollah regime for forbidden political activity. He fled to Pakistan and from there to Soviet-ruled Afghanistan. In 1989, Ellian received political asylum in the Netherlands and subsequently pursued a career in legal academia. He also writes columns for several newspapers in the Netherlands and abroad. Due to his consistent criticism of the Iranian regime and certain aspects of Islam, a death fatwa has been issued against him.

Ellian's visit to Israel was made possible by a joint initiative of the Dutch Speakers Oleh Association, the Netherlands Embassy in Israel, Haifa University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

He lectured on "courage in troubled times" in memory of Rudolph Cleveringa a law professor from Leiden University, who in 1940 dared to publicly denounce the Nazi occupier's dismissal of the university's Jewish lecturers and sanctions against its Jewish students, which led to his detention and arrest.

Q: Is this your first visit to Israel?

"Yes, this is indeed my first visit to Israel. Surprising as it may be to those who see me as a mercenary of Israel and the Jewish people.

"It was an amazing experience to see Jerusalem. I now see how much Israel's image is warped by Western media. This is a multicultural society, with normal people, working people. Western journalists say that Israel is an occupier, that Israel is evil, and that it deploys heavy weapons against the Palestinians. But that is not the whole reality of Israel. Look at Tel Aviv. It is a very normal city just like The Hague, just like Amsterdam. Israel is the one spot of abnormality in the Middle East. At the same time it is like Europe at the heart of the region. I can understand why Israel arouses such fury among radical Muslims.

"I visited many Arab villages as well as the city of Haifa. My recollection of Iran upon visiting Haifa left me quite emotional. My thoughts turned to the goals of our struggle, how we aim to return to pre-revolution Iran, to bring back democracy, human rights, freedom of speech. I thought to myself that the kind of society I met in Israel would be of great interest to secular Iranian students and citizens. Israel actually serves a very important example for other Middle Eastern countries. But this is not something I hear from Western journalists. They take the perspective of radical Muslims, actually."

Q: Indeed, why is it that when Arabs slaughter Arabs the world is silent but when Jews arise to defend themselves, the whole world jumps up in condemnation?

"Neither the Western media nor the Arab countries are interested in the Palestinians. At this very moment, many Muslims are being killed in Syria, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, but they do not receive the focus of attention. The focus is the enemy, the State of Israel, the Jewish people. Unfortunately, many European politicians have adopted the Western journalists' outlook on the conflict. The military operation [Pillar of Defense] that took place recently here was neither a major conflict nor a major tragedy. The real problem was, and is, in Syria, in Damascus, where [Syrian President Bashar] Assad has bombed hospitals and is killing his people. There a humanitarian disaster is unfolding.

"The West considers it 'natural' for Arabs to kill Arabs. In regard to the Jews, it seems that the Western world is fixated with the eternal image of the crucified Jew, and is unable to replace it with someone who bears arms to defend himself, resolute not to be crucified again. Incidentally, since the Shia came to power in 1503, all minorities in Iran, especially the Jews, were severely persecuted.

"Perhaps every nation, each culture, needs some eternal fictitious enemy. Not a political enemy, because at the end of the day you can speak with them, negotiate with them. But a fictitious enemy is an eternal one. Without the state of Israel, the Iranians would have to turn to Allah in prayer for guidance. The Iranians need Israel. Without you the Iranian regime is nothing, an empty shell. This is now Iran's nucleus of identity."

"Growing up in Iran, we learned about Cyrus the Great but never about Jerusalem or about the Temple. [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini mentioned the name 'Urshalim' [Jerusalem] a single time. During the Iran-Iraq war he said that we could not end the war but would have to go through Karbala to Jerusalem and reconquer it from the Zionists. After that speech he never mentioned the name Urshalim again but used only the Muslim term 'Bayt al-Muqaddas.'

"But Bayt al-Muqaddas is also a Jewish term as it means the house of the temple, which is interesting since the Muslims deny the historical presence of the two temples on the Temple Mount.

"Indeed, the use of the Arab translation shows that Omar [Caliph Omar ibn al Khattab] did in fact recognize this history. But I suppose that together with one's fictitious enemy one also needs a fictitious name. Bayt al-Muqaddas did not exist in the Persian language. However, especially after that speech, road signs were erected every 200, 300 kilometers indicating the distance between Teheran and Jerusalem. It became an obsession. From that moment, only the term Bayt al-Muqaddas was used.

"If you recognize that very essential name, Jerusalem, you recognize the claim of the other people. You recognize their story. That is why tyrants and dictators endeavored to change names and histories. To this day, in Iranian media Israel is only referred to as 'the occupier regime.' In the Iranian passport there is a written instruction forbidding any Iranian passport holder to visit the territory occupied by the Zionists."

Q: How do you explain this obsession?

"It is explainable if you look at the basic character of the regime. Iran is a totalitarian regime, not an ordinary tyrant regime like Pinochet's in Chile or Fidel's in Cuba. This is a totalitarian regime just like the Soviet regime, just like Stalin, Hitler or Mao Zedong. And one very important element of the totalitarian regime is the fictitious enemy. This is really important because if you cannot understand yourself, you cannot explain to your people their goal in history. A totalitarian utopia needs a fictitious enemy. Without you, without the State of Israel, the Iranian utopia is meaningless."

Q: Are you saying that the Iranian regime is different to other tyrannical countries?

"Saddam Hussein was a 'normal' dictator, very brutal and cruel but without any ideology apart from wanting to be in charge, him and his family. Just like Gen. Pinochet in Chile. But the Iranian regime is not built on the personal ambition of any individual or family. It is built on ideology. Like the Soviet Union under Stalin. Khomeini's book, "Velayat-e faqih" ("Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist"), published in 1970, opens with the issue of Israel and the Jews. It is so tragic that Iranian intellectuals did not read that book during the revolution. Most of them read it several years after the revolution, if they were not arrested before that.

"Khomeini writes that from the beginning of its history, Islam was undermined by the clan of the Jews, who now, with the aid of the colonialist countries, has a base, a government, in the heart of the Middle East, which is unacceptable.

Q: Let me understand, for Khomeini, was the existence of the state of Israel more dangerous than the United States?

"Yes, because the U.S. is far from here. The U.S. is the great Satan, absolutely. The little Satan is Israel, but Israel is situated in the heart of the region. If you want to defeat the U.S., you must defeat Israel."

Q: So Israel serves as a kind of bastion.

"Khomeini's theory was that if Israel is destroyed in the heart of the Middle East then so is the U.S. This also happens to be the theory of Hamas and other groups. Hamas did not represent the ambition of the Palestinian people for a separate state, but the ambition to defeat Israel."

Q: How do you explain the connection between the Sunni Hamas and Iran? Just because they have a mutual enemy?

"Yes, Khomeini claimed that it was American and Zionist tactics, to separate between Sunni and Shia Muslims. He said that their differences were not important. It was more important that they shared the belief in Allah, in Muhammad, in the Quran. The rest was not important. To establish justice, an Islamic religious ambition, they needed political unity between people. Take for example the Week of Unity. According to the Sunnis, Muhammad was born on Monday while according to the Shia he was born on Thursday. Khomeini declared this not to be a problem. From Monday to Thursday they would celebrate the birth of the prophet and they would have no war with each other. From that moment this was the policy of government, to promote the unity at the level of political Islam. And how can you unite the people? Through the enemy. Because of that fact, [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei — the contemporary leader of Iran — stated that the Shariah debates between factions of Islam are not significant. What is important is the enemy, the Zionist state they have to defeat."

Q: What is the main ideological and theological claim of the Iranian ayatollah against the State of Israel?

"First of all, it is forbidden to establish a non-Muslim state on Muslim ground. In their opinion, this ground is waqf, Islamic ground, and it is therefore forbidden. The second theological argumentation is that Islamic jurisprudence made a distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims — Jews, Christians and latter-day Zoroastrians — these people are called dhimmi, and it is forbidden for dhimmi to rule Muslims, and Israel has many Muslims under its rule. There are additional political argumentations but those are the religious ones."

Q: What about Europe as a focus of Muslim immigration?

"Bernard Lewis wrote that this issue was a turning point for many Muslims because for the first time in history, Muslims were living as a minority. This was something Muslims had no tradition of. Bernard Lewis wrote very rightly that the effect of this issue was like dynamite on Islamic Shariah and Islamic thought. And because of this, radical Muslims taught the younger generation to claim the rights to the Shariah and to build themselves ghettos. In my opinion, it is very good for them to learn to be a minority. But they will have to accept the fact that the infidels are deciding about their health, about traffic, about their security. However, for them, if you accept the rule of the infidel, according to Islam you have lost. This is a huge problem for Islam."

Q: But what we see now in Europe is that they do not accept it.

"Absolutely. In Europe this is a huge problem, especially in England, because of the concept of multiculturalism which is essentially ideological. This is a leftist, post-modernist idea whose time has passed. It originated with the old elites of Europe who believe in nothing. They think everyone is good, and if one strayed from the right path it must be because they just needed money, or a vacation. And for these people it is very difficult to accept that their theory, their ideology, has failed. This is a source of a huge tragedy for the governments and for society, who are at a loss how to deal with the issue; but mostly for the immigrants. Because as myself and others see it, if you live in Europe and wish to remain in Europe, you must become integrated into society. By acquiring the language, learning a trade, accepting the rule of law, accepting democracy, respecting gay rights, women’s rights. For years, no such demands were made of the immigrants."

Q: What is the agenda of the old elite as you saw it?

"They have no agenda, they are completely decadent. Nihilists. After the Second World War they lived the good life and thought of bringing over workers to Europe. Now the old elites hate Europe. Europe, according to them, is the source of injustice, of colonialism, just as Edward Said thought. They brought damage to the immigrants because they did not encourage them to learn the local language and to become integrated and promote themselves so that one day they could be mayors of cities, poets, writers.

"Instead they encouraged them to stick to their native language, as they deemed it better than the European language."

Q: Did this attitude have a goal? Did they see in their vision world peace for instance?

"No, they only wanted to pay for their guilt, the historical guilt of Europe, the murderous continent, and they acted out of some atheist kind of Christianity which I call nihilistic. For them, myself and others like me were considered troublemakers."

Q: Because you wanted to become integrated.

"Yes. I arrived in the Netherlands in 1989. It was really very strange for the elite that people like me wanted to establish themselves, wanted to acquire a good level of the Dutch language, or to adopt some basic cultural aspects of the society. They found it unacceptable, for example, if I defended some rational aspect of Dutch culture against Iranian culture. In their opinion I was busy insulting other peoples."

Q: Dealing in a kind of heresy.


Q: So in Iran you were persecuted for being different and then you find yourself persecuted once again in Europe, intellectually, because you wanted to be like them. ...

"Yes. My focus was my desire for freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, justice for everyone and no religious rule, especially no Islamic rule. When I arrived in Holland I was happy with the regime. I was young and enthusiastic and wanted to point out to everyone the problematic way of life in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and the changes that should be introduced. The problem was that the western elite viewed this kind of debate with anger. They claimed that my approach had the inklings of racist behavior, of discrimination. I was perplexed. What is the problem with this? I spoke of the constitution of Holland, of Immanuel Kant, of the right to criticize religion. For instance, I said in an interview on a television program that Christianity and Judaism were already on the operating table of reason and rationality. They are in court, so to speak, under critique by many great philosophers. Now is the time for Islam to be placed on the operating table and to be examined rationally and philosophically.

"I have no desire to eliminate Islam. I am an intellectual, I ask questions. Just like Nietzsche asked about Christianity or Spinoza about Judaism."

Q: And no one posed these questions before?

"Genuine critique of Islam from within Islamic culture really appeared only after September 11, 2001. I can think of only four such people who did this: Salman Rushdie, [Somali-born female Dutch parliament member] Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq and myself."

Q: What was the reaction of the old elite to 9/11?

"They were shocked that the attack occurred in New York which for them was the same as an attack against Europe — Amsterdam or London. They realized that they could be the victim and that the enemy does not pause to ask your name."

Q: So has something changed in their way of thinking?

"Not really. They are afraid, and want more checkpoints, more control. But it is too late for them to undergo a real change in ideology. They don't want to argue with Islam, they only want Intelligence operations against radical Islam. They don’t want a discussion about cultural differences or rationality - a very dangerous issue for them. Their way of thinking has not changed. They are only afraid for their own lives but not for the well-being of western culture. And I am very concerned for the well-being of Western culture."

Q: This makes me think of "L’etranger" by Albert Camus. You are the stranger who came from outside to point out home truths.

"This is the situation at the moment. I know what lack of freedom means, and I know about the tyranny of a regime based on Islam. I know how important it is to develop culture. During my stay in Israel I have been thinking that this is what we need for the whole Middle East. In Israel both religious and secular can find a peaceful way to guarantee freedom for all. But the old elite in the West doesn’t understand that Israel is an example of what is good in Europe: the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression, and so forth. This decadent elite has forgotten what tyranny means."

Q: Have they lost their survival instinct? Because it reminds me of "The Decline of the West" by Oswald Spengler, which he wrote in the 1920s. He said that Western culture had lost the basic instinct to live.

"This is the present state of affairs in Europe and this was the main motive for the rise of a new elite in Europe and in America."

Q: Tell me about this new elite.

"The new elite is not only European in origin. It consists of immigrants, too: for example, the Mayor of Rotterdam — a huge, important city — Ahmad Abu Taleb, lived in Morocco until he was 14. He is a social democrat. A leftist but completely different to the old elite. He encourages the integration of immigrants, wants the rule of law, opposes the use of violence against gays, against women, and seeks tolerance for everybody except radical Muslims. He believes in Islam but not in political Islam. Then there is also Ayaan Hirsi Ali. We are allies against radical Muslims and the old elites in Holland. And the situation is that it is much easier today to raise debates on sensitive issues than ten years ago. It is no longer considered unusual to debate about Islam. And you see the process of change has spread throughout Europe. In France, too, there is a new-thinking elite which no longer accepts Edward Said or Jean-Paul Sartre. However, this is a slow-changing process."

Q: But in the meantime Europe is becoming more and more Islamic.

"Yes. The unofficial numbers tell of 50 million Muslims in Europe. But the number is not the problem, Fundamentalism is. How many radical Muslims are there in Europe? How many Muslims in Europe are ready to integrate? This is a real struggle in Europe at the moment. A book was published a short while ago by a French-Algerian, the brother of the terrorist who instigated the attack against Jews in Toulouse. He writes that the killer absorbed anti-Semitism at home. He then sought and found the ideology of terrorist organizations. But the fundamental problem was the anti-Semitic hatred and hatred of the west in the killer's education at home. The killer's brother says that both his mother and father are at the root of the problem. What influenced the parents? Culture. The anti-Semitic element in Islamic culture."

Q: In the common Islamic culture?

"Islam, just like Christianity, has a very strong anti-Semitic element, and with anti-Semitic I mean anti-Jewish. You get this with Muhammad in Medina — a political leader, general, judge, who developed a very strong anti-Jewish element and killed Jewish people. However, criticism of the anti-Jewish element in Islam is not necessarily criticism of Islam as a whole. This is not my aim. The point is that you have to accept this element, criticize it, and find the way to change, to reform religion, just as was done in Christianity."

Q: Perhaps the real problem of Islam is its state of stagnation?

"Yes, because Islam's basic movement at present is the political aspect of Islam. Islam's intellectual poverty is the danger, for Islam itself first of all. Look at Iran. Nevertheless, there is the beginning of a process of change within the Islamic countries. See, for example, Saudi Arabia, engaging in an historical debate on women's rights."

Q: But if the root for the hostile approach to Jews and the West is found in the Quran and the hadiths, is inherent to Islam, perhaps any attempts for change are doomed to fail?

"But that is not so, because most Muslims prior to the Iranian Revolution did not know anything about jihad, Judaism and so on. They held a very simple perspective of Islam. Because of that fact, Khomeini said after the revolution 'we have the obligation to re-Islamize the people.' Most Muslims develop a practical relationship with Islam without having to deal with the contradictions and difficulties. I call this the 'Catholic way' in Islam. This is possible for most Muslims. See countries like Indonesia. Because if you're serious about the political and judicial aspects of Islam, you have to be a terrorist or jihadist. But you are not obligated to take it seriously. We must minimize the pressure of radical Muslims on normal Muslims. We have no moderate Islam but we have moderate Muslims. Contrary to what [U.S. President] Barack Obama said, that the problem was not Islam but radical Muslims. I say the reverse. As a critic of Islam I have a humanistic approach, because it is not the Muslims who are the problem but these elements in Islam. And I believe that most Muslims, just like members of other religions, will find a way to reconcile their belief in a pragmatic way."

What the Guardian won’t report: Israel wins at the UN. Israeli culture wins in the Middle East

What the Guardian won’t report: Israel wins at the UN. Israeli culture wins in the Middle East

On Dec. 21, 2012, a UN resolution on “Entrepreneurship for Development” was proposed by Israel, along with 97 co-sponsors.
The resolution encourages private and public sector entrepreneurship, “developing new technologies and innovative business models, and enabling high, sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth while protecting the rights of workers as the best way to deal with the challenges of poverty and job creation.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said the following:
“The Israeli spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity prevailed at the UN today.  As a state that was founded in difficult circumstances, we have been able to create opportunities for talented people and have become an enterprising superpower. Creating a culture of entrepreneurship can work miracles and drive economies forward. Investing in human resources is a real message that Israel conveys to the developing world.”
The UN adopted it by a vote of 141 in favor to 31 against, with 11 abstentions.
The Guardian – which continually informs their readers when the UN censures the Jewish state – hasn’t reported the Israeli sponsored resolution.
Why does it matter?
If you recall, there was a huge row over comments during the US Presidential campaignsuggesting that Israeli culture is a major factor in the state’s economic and social prowess in the region.  
Many commentators on the far left (including ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi) scolded those who would suggest a connection between culture and success – imputing racism to such arguments.
Shabi characterized the broader narrative that Israeli culture may be more conducive to success than Palestinian culture as “standard-issue superiority complex racism”.
To those so easily manipulated by au courant post-colonial causation, the stubborn reality ofIsraeli success (as with Western success more broadly) must be explained by Western hegemony or other global injustices.
To the far-left crowd which occupies the Guardian, the word “racism” – typically understood as a belief in the inherent, immutable, biological or genetic inferiority of a group, race, or ethnicity – has been defined so expansively as to even impute such bigotry to those observing intuitively that some cultural habits are necessarily inimical to economic achievement and social development.
Now, take a look at the countries who voted against the Israeli resolution advocating “entrepreneurship for development”.
Algeria, Bahrain, Bolivia, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yemen.
Do you see a pattern?
A strong majority of these states are plagued by poverty, under-development and despotism.
Oh, and  also:  The majority of these states are opposed to Israel’s very existence, and some have a shameful history of having ethnically cleansed their Jewish citizens in the twenty years following 1948.
The resolution, based on the most intuitive reasoning, was opposed because it was the Jewish state which proposed it.
By obsessing over Israel, refusing to concentrate on the real problems plaguing their societies, and failing to instill the liberal cultural habits necessary to alleviate poverty and throw off the yoke of tyranny – as well as ignoring the lessons on how a small, innovative, Jewish countryaccomplished so much in just six and a half decades - they ensure that little progress will likely be achieved.
Those in the West who continue  to indulge such nations in the fantasy that their anti-Zionist delusions are justified, even righteous, are complicit in condemning millions to poverty, tyranny and hopelessness.

How did Israel fight back against Hamas with such painstaking accuracy and still get so beaten up?

How did Israel fight back against Hamas with such painstaking accuracy and still get so beaten up?

From the Fox News website - click to view
Paul Alster, writing on the Fox News website, asks a question that - had it been asked - would have done credit to the news teams of the BBC, Associated Press, Reuters and/or the New York Times who, though they have their people scattered all over the Middle East, somehow are unable to formulate things quite this way:
A single Syrian missile strike on a bakery near Hama killed more than 60 innocent civilians last week, so how did Israel manage to fire more than 1,500 high powered missiles into densely-populated Gaza in November, with the total loss of 161 lives, of which 90 have been acknowledged by Hamas itself as active combatants?
About that bakery attack, and numerous other bakery attacks, we posted our thoughts just four days ago [see "25-Dec-12: Know your barbarians"]

Alster's answer, certainly worth your click, starts this way:

The numbers speak for themselves, but very little credit has so far been given by foreign governments, NGOs, and the international media for the care taken by the Israeli military to avoid collateral damage during its recent vicious engagement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters. [more]
Framing an article this way does not mean Israel should be compared in any way to the loathsome, blood-soaked Syrian armed forces. Most thinking people aware of the realities of the Middle East know that. On the other hand, individuals with an ideological predisposition to kicking out at Israel at every opportunity will see things differently; the facts tend to be less urgent for them.

Case in point #1: the faded rock singer Roger Waters whose glory days included his being a lead member of the Pink Floyd band. He plays a different style of gig these days, including an appearance last month at the UN's annual Israel-bashing "observance" of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People [pictures here]. In his own words, Waters appeared there "representing global civil society" (no less); called for greater understanding of the Hamas side of the argument; demanded action against Israel's "illegal apartheid regime"; and warned his audience never to assume that "I support the launching of missiles into Israel". The video below captures some of the highlights of Waters' November 29 performance:

Case in point #2: Colonel Richard Kemp, a thinking person's senior soldier, served in the British military from 1977 to 2005 rising to the role of Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and completing 14 operational tours of duty around the globe. When asked about Israel's conduct vis a vis civilians in Gaza in 2008, he famously said

"based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: during operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare". [Wikipedia
A little less famously, he explained:
"of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes..." [Wikipedia
And this explanation by Kemp after the November 2012 Pillar of Defence battle conducted by Israel against the Hamas forces. Concerning the bias of certain media outlets when it comes to reporting on Israel and its military, he said:
"It was clear to me that there was a great deal of propaganda that was being generated against Israel, and then being exploited by people who didn't understand military matters and didn't want to question it, it suited their agenda to vilify Israel... People ask me why I have a pro-IDF point of view. I consider myself as having an objective view of what's happening over here. The IDF does not need me to defend them; they have proven it over the years... It's the dispassionate military perspective that I bring." [more]
The British Parliament
Case in point #3: certain political figures in the British parliament. This snippet comes from a report published Thursday:
According to the online [UK] parliamentary archive, 21 EDMs (formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons, although not necessarily discussed) relating to Israel have been put forward since the 2012-2013 session began. In contrast, just two refer to the situation in Syria... [more]
In other words, the situation in Syria where the mass killing of tens of thousands of Syrians during 2011 and 2012 by the forces of the vicious second-generation dictator fighting for his political and personal survival against a mass revolt continues unabated right up to this very minute, gets less then ten percent of the attention that these British parliamentarians devote to kicking at Israel.

We can think of several kinds of reason why politicians might engage in such egregiously partisan conduct. But then so can most of our readers, so we'll end the post here.

When liberalism trumps treason

When liberalism trumps treason

Ruthie Blum

Two Israeli politicians — former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and MK Hanin Zoabi — have been under the political and judicial microscope lately. A review of their cases provides a good microcosm of the workings of a liberal democracy as well as a parody of liberal hypocrisy.

Lieberman, whose meteoric political career has been clouded by suspicions of corruption, is finally about to be indicted. The timing is not coincidental; it followed the merger of his Yisrael Beytenu party with Likud ahead of the coming Knesset elections.

For the past 16 years, investigations into Lieberman’s alleged money-laundering and other wrongdoings have not produced enough evidence to accuse him of any crime. Suddenly, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has something “concrete.”

In 2008, Israeli ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh gave Lieberman (at the time a Knesset member) a note informing him that the Israeli Justice Ministry was seeking help from the Belarusian authorities to obtain evidence against him.

Lieberman flushed the note down the toilet, but failed to tell Ben Aryeh’s bosses at the Foreign Ministry that he had done this unethical thing. It was for this that he was about to be indicted, until a few days ago, when the attorney-general came up with a stiffer accusation: that after becoming Foreign Minister, Lieberman repaid Ben Aryeh with appointments.

Lieberman’s response to the abrupt brouhaha was to resign from his posts as foreign minister and deputy prime minister. He is pushing for an expedited trial, hoping to be acquitted in time for the Jan. 22 election. It is unclear whether he will be able to do this. Furthermore, if it is determined that his actions involved “moral turpitude,” Lieberman will not be able to hold political office for seven years.

Zoabi is an Israeli Arab from the anti-Zionist Balad party. Not only does she oppose Israel as a Jewish state; she openly asserts that Israel — where she enjoys every freedom and benefit that being both an Israeli citizen and a Knesset member afford her — is not a democracy.

In May 2010, Zoabi was among the anti-Israel activists who instigated and participated in the infamous “freedom flotilla” from Turkey to Gaza, during which Israeli soldiers who had entered the ships peacefully to prevent them from reaching their destination, were beaten and thrown overboard. The incident, which left nine activists dead, put a final nail in the coffin of already deteriorating Israel-Turkey relations.

As is the case with the timing of Lieberman’s indictment, it is the coming election that spurred a campaign to prevent Zoabi from being allowed to run. Last week, after much deliberation, the Central Elections Commission finally decided to disqualify her for identifying with terrorist organizations. Its decision was based on a new law according to which anyone who denies Israel’s existence as a Jewish state or who supports violence against it may not be a candidate for the 19th Knesset. Nineteen members of the commission voted in favor of disqualifying Zoabi, nine opposed it, and one abstained. It is as funny as it is sad that a law needed to be forged — and that the Central Elections Commission had to “deliberate” — about treason.

And it should not come as a shocker to anyone familiar with the political map in Israel that Weinstein — who has been going after Lieberman with a vengeance — opposed Zoabi’s disqualification.

Go figure.

Those who worry that Zoabi may not be getting a fair shake from the justice system she considers so unjust should not fret. On Thursday, she appealed to the High Court of Justice to have her disqualification overturned. On Sunday, the judges ruled unanimously that Zoabi can run, which means will undoubtedly be re-elected to the Knesset. You see, it was not her anti-Zionist party that was disqualified; it was only Zoabi herself.

So here we have it: The Jewish-Zionist politician who is under suspicion resigns to clear his name. If he fails to do so, he might go to jail, or at least have to do community service.

Meanwhile, the worst punishment that the anti-Zionist Arab politician who takes pride in her treasonous activities will endure is not being able to continue receiving our tax shekels in salary, no longer having access to inside information about Israel’s affairs.

The good news is that the public is more clear-headed than the courts. This is why Lieberman’s party merger — now called Likud-Beytenu — is polling at 38 seats, while Zoabi’s Balad party will be lucky to retain three.

Fatah Official: Palestinians have not abandoned armed struggle

Fatah Official: Palestinians have not abandoned armed struggle!

Muslim Brotherhood Egypt Seeking Ties With Hezbollah

Muslim Brotherhood Egypt Seeking Ties With Hezbollah

By Daniel Greenfield

Aside from the Shiite vs. Sunni thing they do have a lot in common. They’re both Islamist terrorists and they both want to destroy Israel.

Egypt’s ambassador to Lebanon said his country will pursue a relationship with Hezbollah, a “real political and military force,” The Daily Star reported Saturday. If implemented, the decision would constitute a dramatic policy shift from that of the former Hosni Mubarak administration.

Egypt’s relations with Hezbollah, a Shi’ite Islamic group that is considered a terror organization by the United States, have been strained, in large part, by Cairo’s 1979 peace accord with Israel. The ambassador’s comments on a possible Hezbollah-Egyptian rapprochement came on the heels of the passage of the controversial Muslim Brotherhood-backed constitution by President Mohammed Morsi last week.

“In discussions we said we want Hezbollah to remain as a political force in Lebanon acting in the interests of the Lebanese first and not others,” Hamdy continued. “Resistance in the sense of defending Lebanese territory … That’s their primary role. We … think that as a resistance movement they have done a good job defending Lebanese territory, and trying to regain land occupied by Israel is legal and legitimate.”

He warned, however, of mixing the “legitimate” goals of resistance with the Lebanese political process — something Egypt and other Arab countries wouldn’t welcome, he said. Elections and a democratic process are imperative for Lebanon, he added.

Touching on Hezbollah’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Hamdy stated: “We want to keep all the parties in Lebanon away from what is happening in Syria. Not only Hezbollah.”

This is a not so complicated way of saying that

1. Egypt’s new government is perfectly fine with Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel

2. It is not fine with Hezbollah fighting in the Sunni-Shiite Civil War

3. It is not crazy about Hezbollah as a political party and would rather that Hezbollah just shelled Israel instead of working with Iran and Syria while trying to take over Lebanon.

Agreement is easiest on the first point, tricky on the second point and absolutely hopeless on the third point. Hezbollah is not interested in being the Shiite version of the Palestinian militias with no other function than to hang around trying to kill Israelis. For things to get that bad, Hezbollah would have to lose not only its Syrian lifeline, but also its Iranian lifeline.

If Assad falls and Iran’s regime also falls, not entirely impossible, then Hezbollah will be hard up for cash, but they will still have the drug business. It will however make it much easier to outflank Hezbollah using Sunni militias and Qatari cash, along with the dubious loyalty of some of the Kurdish and Christian interests, and at that point Hezbollah may have to take the deal that the Muslim Brotherhood is currently offering it.

But that day isn’t here yet.

For now this is a reminder that Sunnis may hate Shiites, but all Islamists hate Jews even more. Egypt has announced that it supports Hezbollah terrorism against Israel. The Brotherhood and Hezbollah may be killing each other in Syria, but they agree on Israel as a common enemy.