Douglas Murray: The British broadcaster brave enough to discuss Islamic violence
Last night Channel 4 broadcast a deep and seriously important programme. ‘Isis: The Origins of Violence’ was written and presented by the historian Tom Holland and can be viewed (by British viewers) here.
Five years ago, to coincide with his book ‘In The Shadow of the Sword’ about the early years of Islam, Holland presented a documentary for Channel 4 titled ‘Islam: The Untold Story’. That was something of a landmark in UK television. For while there had previously been some heated and angry studio discussions about Islam and plenty of fawningly hagiographic programmes about the religion’s founder presented by his apologists, here was a grown-up and scholarly treatment which looked at the issue as though there weren’t blasphemy police around every corner.
Sadly, part of the reception of that programme, and numerous events in the years since have kept such displays of scholarly truthfulness nearly as much of a rarity since as they were before. Which is one reason why Tom Holland deserves even more praise for returning to the subject of his earlier documentary.
And not just returning to it, but – in ‘Isis: The Origins of Violence’ – returning to the hardest part of that subject. In a nutshell he posed the question ‘Why do Isis, and groups like Isis, do what they do?’ And he answers this with the only honest answer anybody interested in truth could possibly come back with – which is that although they may be inspired by many things, their most important inspiration is a version of Islam whose roots can be traced to the origins of the religion, its foundational texts and the behaviour of Mohammed.
With commendable daring, Pipes — an international scholar of repute — has opened up the mainstream discourse for the use of terms previously thought of as beyond-the-pale in “polite company.”
He unabashedly called for subjecting the Palestinians to “the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair” and does not shy away from prescribing that Israel “dismantle the PA’s security infrastructure…reduce and then shut off the water and electricity that Israel supplies…occupy and control the areas from which…gunfire, mortar shelling, and rockets…originate.”
This language is refreshing, beneficial and will contribute greatly to breaking up the semantic “logjam” that the tyranny of political correctness has imposed on the discussion of Israeli policy options. By dispelling semantic taboos that restrict open debate, the CIVC rhetoric can contribute greatly to a more robust and unfettered appraisal of such options.
Pipes concisely sums up the principal point of disagreement between us: “Sherman and I directly disagree on only one point — Israel accepting the possibility of a Palestinian state.” He goes on to speculate that “the allure of a state after the conflict ends offers benefits to both sides. Israelis will be free of ruling unwanted subjects. Palestinians have a reason to behave.”
He elaborates on the benefits he envisions emerging from the establishment of a Palestinian state, pursuant to an Israeli victory, writing that “when Palestinians do finally give up the fight against Israel, their centrality to the conflict will enfeeble anti-Zionism from Morocco to Indonesia.” He admits “[t]hat shift won’t happen instantly, to be sure,” but somewhat optimistically suggests that “sustaining a more-Catholic-than-the-pope position gets harder over time. A Palestinian defeat marks the beginning of the end of the wider Arab and Muslim war on Israel.”
I confess to a certain amount of surprise at encountering this view from someone as knowledgeable and well-informed as Pipes, for he appears to be embracing the unfounded thesis that Arab/Muslim enmity towards the Jewish state centers solely on the issue of self-determination for the Palestinian-Arabs.
Sadly, this is demonstrably untrue, or at least only very partially true.
It has been 50 years since Israel’s glorious victory in the Six-Day War — a victory that drastically changed Israel and flooded its discourse with the kind of spiritual, cultural and political energy that had not been seen here before. Author Amos Oz is an obvious spokesman for the camp that supports the division of Israel into two states, as he has been since the moment that war ended. Recently, Oz published his latest book, “Dear Zealot,” which includes “three pleas” on the key issues that spark Israel’s emotions.
I am well aware of the Right’s hurt feelings over some of the very critical things that Oz has said and written over the years. Over the course of our conversation, however, I learned that he is also terribly hurt by the things that many in the Right have said about him. It is not the insults or the rage he elicits that hurt, but rather deeper sentiments. But before we delve into the heart of our conversation, I will say that in the current landscape of superficial news media discourse and amid the social media circus, it is comforting to know that there are other arenas for serious debate about our identity and our future.
My copy of Oz’s latest book is interspersed with handwritten comments. I strongly urge my friends within the Israeli Right to read it and argue about it. Oz’s curiosity about his rivals is an encouraging blast from the past. One of the socio-historical observations I have often written about is the current Left’s loss of curiosity about its rivals on the Right, while the Right continues to actively study the Left and remains eager to argue. So Amos Oz invited me — why would I refuse? (h/t Elder of Lobby)
The 1967 Six Day War is a 50-year-old story that is known throughout the world. Well, the broad brush strokes, at least.
In May 1967, Egypt blocked the Straits of Tiran — a casus belli — sparking the so-called “waiting period” during which Israel decided to carry out preemptive strikes against Egypt and Syria.
The ensuing war lasted technically seven days, but practically six days. Israel’s leaders feared the country would be overrun by five Arab armies — Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Iraqi and Lebanese — but in the end, the Israel Defense Forces routed them all.
The Jewish state conquered the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and West Bank, and with them about one million Arab residents fell under Israeli control. The entire city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, was brought into Israeli hands.
Twelve years later, the Sinai was returned to Egypt as part of a lasting peace agreement. The Golan Heights was annexed by Israel, though this has not been recognized internationally.
The Six-Day War was run by a committee. A highly classified committee, whose transcripts have never been seen for 50 years. Until now: here they are.
Israel has no commander-in-chief. The military is subordinate to the cabinet, where each minister, prime minister included, has one vote. Often the cabinet sets up a smaller committee called the security cabinet (SC), to which it delegates supervising and commanding the military. Facing exceptional decisions, the prime minister may declare that the entire cabinet is the SC. This ensures secrecy, because leaking information from the SC has serious penalties. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol often reminded his colleagues that the very fact that they had met was itself a state secret.
The security cabinet of 1967 appears in these never-published transcripts as a group of serious, professional, and responsible decision-makers. While the ministers brought their worldviews to the table, they often didn’t vote on party lines, often did listen to one another, and generally managed to make decisions, albeit slowly and through compromises. These characteristics were not helpful in the maelstrom of the Six-Day War, when the cabinet receded in the face of its two most enigmatic members: Levi Eshkol, who can be read either as a weak figure or a master manipulator; and Moshe Dayan, who comes across as an arrogant but talented prima donna.
The SC met irregularly 36 times between January and July 1967. Three meetings took place in the final 24 hours of the war, then three meetings in two days about what to do with the new territories. There were five meetings in January, but only one in March. The ministers, being politicians, tended toward wordiness; the 935 pages of the transcripts reflect some 100 hours of talk.
Gerald Steinberg: Israeli Perceptions of Vulnerability
Israel’s current government—the fourth headed by Benjamin Netanyahu over eleven years—is often referred to as “the most right-wing in Israel’s history.” This claim, however, is not evidence-based analysis. Reacting to the uncertainty resulting from regional chaos, Israelis continue to respond to the sense of insecurity and vulnerability that has been central to the political culture since 1948. Demands in negotiations that Palestinian leaders stop naming schools after “martyrs” (terrorists to Israelis), acknowledge Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, and end international boycott campaigns (BDS) are recent manifestations of this deep insecurity.
In part, the perception of a sharp “turn to the right“ also reflects eight years of conflict with President Obama over the failure to reach a breakthrough with the Palestinians. Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly attacked Netanyahu over Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, identifying those actions as “the central obstacle to peace.” This view also dominates the agendas of U.S.-based groups, such as J Street and the New Israel Fund that oppose Israeli policies from the outside, which had significant influence during the Obama years. In December, just prior to leaving office, Obama departed from previous policies by pointedly refusing to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2344 which singled out Israeli settlements for condemnation, Just five days later, this theme was highlighted in Kerry’s emotional speech on the future of the Middle East.
However, this one-dimensional approach to analyzing Israeli political culture negates key factors, particularly the sense of ongoing instability and uncertainty. The combination of six decades of war and terror, the ongoing chaos and instability, Iran’s shrill threats of annihilation, and discriminatory boycott campaigns reinforce the dismal lessons of Jewish history. Netanyahu’s policies and rhetoric, often sharpened by his coalition partners, embody these interpretations.
For most Israelis, including for those who oppose settlement expansion, the main obstacles to peace include terror and the Palestinian rejection of Jewish historical claims and the right to sovereign equality, independent of border concerns. As voting behavior and other data consistently show, the “average Israeli” pays close attention to the widely heard chant “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – which, in the words of Ayelet Shaked, (a young politician and currently Minister of Justice) means “Palestinians see no place for the Jews“. The problem is more than words: the rhetoric is accompanied by rocket attacks from Gaza and terror from the West Bank. On these core issues, Israel today—ostensibly led by the “most right-wing government ever”—is not very different from 20 years ago, aside from the deepening loss of faith in the potential for rapid change.
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke on Thursday at an event in Washington, DC, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the unity of Jerusalem in the Six Day War.
The event was attended by 29 Senators and Congressmen who stressed the importance of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.
Barrasso called on the United States to end its funding to the UN in light of its ongoing anti-Israel bias.
“While the Republicans and Democrats might fight about a lot of things, what we are 100% united on is reining in the United Nations and the abuses that we have seen there,” he said.
“100 of us signed a letter to the Secretary-General, saying that this must stop. This will stop. The U.S. is funding this. We as a Senate say: ‘It is time to get rid of what you are doing at the United Nations [against Israel].’”
Dr. Martin Oliner, the chairman of the Center for Righteousness and Integrity (CRI), praised the Congressional event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War as a resounding success.
“We made history today,” Dr. Oliner said. “We had an overwhelming response, and regrettably, we couldn’t even accommodate all the senators and congressmen who other wise would have been here.”
“This is beyond extraordinary,” he said of the event, which CRI organized. “No event like this has ever occurred. We’ve never recorded something like this in the halls of Congress.”
“You see the overwhelming support which Congress has for Israel.
Congresswomen Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) addressed the Congressional celebration of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War.
“What an honor to take part in today’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem,” Congresswoman Ros Lehtinen said.
“It is perhaps more important now than ever that we mark this incredible achievement, this wonderful occasion, and we rededicate and reaffirm our strong support and commitment for Jerusalem, the ancient spiritual, biblical, and historical capital of the Jewish State,” she added.
We have previously covered the never-ending saga at the anti-Israel obsession of some members of Modern Language Association (MLA).
Those members have engaged in a years-long attempt to get MLA, the largest academic society in the humanities, to boycott Israel and to officially join the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement.
After the radicals’ massive defeat at the MLA business meeting at the annual convention in Philadelphia in January, they are on the defensive: not only was their resolution to boycott Israel (2017-2) defeated by the Delegate Assembly, but a counter-resolution (2017-1), calling on MLA to reject academic boycott, was approved and placed before the general membership.
Not to be outdone, and lest anyone doubt the MLA’s partisan stance in the U.S., the membership will also be voting on a resolution (2017-4) to uphold “the ideal of free and unfettered scholarly exchange, including the right of scholars to travel across international borders” in the face of apparent threats from the Trump administration. While MLA resolutions condemning Trump or the GOP are arguably of a ‘dog bites man’ nature, and normally not worth delving into, we simply remind you that this resolution was drafted and approved before Mr. Trump assumed office.
The vote is open to MLA members from April 19th through June 1st. For ratification, the resolution must: (1) receive a majority of votes cast and (2) must constitute quorum by attaining at least 10% of the MLA membership (approximately 2,400 votes).
When two leaders of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked advocacy group lobbied Congress on May 3, they failed to disclose their open support for the Popular Resistance Movement (PRM) and the Revolutionary Punishment Movement (RPM) — two terrorist groups that have carried out attacks in Egypt.
Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ) President Hani Elkadi and spokesman Mahmoud El Sharkawy went to Congress, and asked that aid to Egypt’s military rulers be cut off due to the regime’s human rights abuses. Their visit was documented in a video of one of the meetings that Elkadi posted on his Facebook page. In the video, a staffer for an unidentified member of Congress expressed sympathy with the EAFJ members, and told them that his boss thought that President Trump should not have hosted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House recently.
The EAFJ officials’ support for violently overthrowing al-Sisi was never mentioned in the video.
During the trip, Elkadi, El Sharkawy and other EAFJ members posed for photos outside the offices of Representatives Michael McCaul, R-Texas; Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas; Robert Brady, D-Pa.; Bobby Rush, D-Ill.; Brad Sherman, D-Calif.; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.; Kathleen M. Rice, Bonnie Watson-Coleman, D-N.J.; and the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
As the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israel continues, it garners admiration from terrorist supporters around the world. The strikers, Palestinian terrorists, are doing so to try and spread falsehoods about the Israeli prison system, which they have dubbed Judicial Apartheid. They utilize the cum hoc fallacy, saying the Palestinians in prison are there without just cause. But the real reason for the number of Palestinians in prison is that they are terrorists who glorify martyrdom while the Palestinians indoctrinate young children to hate and murder Jews.
The leader of the hunger strike, Marwan Barghouti, was instrumental in the first and second intifada with Fatah (the supposed moderate Palestinian political party) and murdered five Jews in Israel. Barghouti was even caught eating cookies during the hunger strike.
Yet this failed to dampen international support. There is even a viral challenge called “Tthe salt water challenge” circulating Facebook to show solidarity for the terrorists electing to starve themselves.
On May 13 in Toronto, there was a large demonstration organized to show support for the Palestinians, including protesters at the rally gesturing with their cups of salt water to show their support. I disguised myself as an Antifa member and attended to see what falsehoods they would perpetuate. (Antifa, a radical left group that riots against anything they disagree with, labels anyone to the right of them as Nazis in order to justify Antifa’s violence against them.)
Who ever said the New York Times was always pro-Arab?
Jerusalem Grand Mufti Makes Sensational Attack on American Press
1929 Jerusalem (Oct. 16)
The Arab newspaper “Felestin,” controlled by the Jerusalem Grand Mufti, made a sensational onslaught on American newspapers yesterday, singling out the “New York Times.” The paper asked: “Is there no honesty in the American press?”
The Mufti denied interviews with Joseph Levy, “New York Times” correspondent, Ketchum of the “London Daily Express,” and Pierre Van Paassen, representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The Mufti charges misrepresentation and distortion, but makes no specific references. Of his interview with Mr. Van Paassen, the Mufti wrote in the English edition of the “Felestin” that it was merely an informal talk.
The New York Times previewed President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel and the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem with a news article that inaccurately described the Israeli capital city as “divided.”
Here’s the full sentence that is the problem: “Some experts speculate that the new tension may make Mr. Trump more likely to fulfill an Israeli dream: having the United States move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, tacitly supporting Israel’s claim that the divided city is its eternal capital.”
The Times didn’t name these “experts” or explain why their speculation was worth passing along.
Worse is the Times description of Jerusalem as “the divided city.” That may be the Times claim, but it’s certainly not “Israel’s claim.”
Maybe the newspaper meant to write “undivided”?
“Divided” is what Jerusalem was before 1967, when Jordanian troops, barbed wire fences, and mines separated Israeli Jews from holy sites such as the Western Wall.
A federal judge on Thursday dismissed two lawsuits seeking to hold Facebook Inc. liable for supporting terrorist groups by letting them use its social media platform to further their goals, including violence against Jews.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn dismissed a $3 billion damages lawsuit by relatives of American victims of Hamas attacks, saying the federal Communications Decency Act regulating internet content immunizes Facebook from liability.
That law “prevents courts from entertaining civil actions that seek to impose liability on defendants like Facebook for allowing third parties to post offensive or harmful content or failing to remove such content once posted,” Garaufis wrote.
Garaufis also dismissed a lawsuit by roughly 20,000 Israeli citizens who feared harm from future violence. He said they had no legal right to demand changes to Facebook’s platform because they could not show any “actual or imminent” injury.
The decision is a setback to efforts to hold companies such as Facebook and Twitter liable for failing to better police users’ online speech.
Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center Chairwoman Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said Thursday the New York court’s decision did not address the issue of Facebook “aiding and abetting terrorism.”
A BBC report dating from September 6th 1972 – “Olympic hostages killed in gun battle” – repeatedly describes the perpetrators of the Munich Olympics terror attack as “guerillas” despite the fact that their victims were civilians.
“All nine of the Israeli athletes kidnapped on Tuesday from the Olympic Village in Munich have been killed in a gun battle at a nearby airport.
A policeman also died in the shooting at the Furstenfeldbruck military airbase, along with four of the guerrillas from the Palestinian group Black September.
Witnesses at the airport said the shooting began when police snipers opened fire on the militants. […]
The guerrillas had previously threatened to kill all the hostages if 200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel were not released. […]
The West German government had offered to pay any price for the release of the athletes, but was told by the guerrillas’ chief he cared for “neither money nor lives”.”
A report from September 19th 1972 – “Parcel bomb attack on Israeli embassy” – states:
“Palestinian extremist group Black September is thought to have posted the letters. Some were also sent to the Israeli embassy in Paris, sparking a worldwide security alert.”
From the blossoming mango orchards of Haryana state to the drip-irrigated vegetable nurseries of Gujarat state, Israeli agricultural know-how has become a staple resource on farms across the Indian subcontinent.
“Undoubtedly, agriculture is at least one of the two main pillars in India-Israel relations – definitely the main pillar from the civilian angle,” said Gil Haskel, head of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation in the Foreign Ministry.
Experts believe the highly anticipated visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in July will boost an already strong agricultural partnership between the countries, paving the way for new joint ventures in an ever-evolving industry.
Describing agriculture as “a key factor in the Indian economy and Indian livelihood,” Haskel said Modi is well aware of this fact and is investing significant funds in developing the sector.
The Israeli life sciences industry has grown 80 percent in the past decade, and its life-sciences companies raised more than $6.7 billion on NASDAQ during that time, $5 billion of which was raised since 2013.
Those are among the findings in the 2016 Israeli Life Sciences Report issued yesterday by the Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) — the umbrella organization of the high-tech and life-sciences industries in Israel — ahead of the 2017 MIXiii Biomed conference in Tel Aviv on May 23-25.
Some $823 million in funding flowed into the industry last year, representing 20% of all investments in Israeli high-tech.
According to the IATI report, about 1,350 life-sciences companies currently are active in Israel, 612 of them established in the last decade (2007-2016).
The report classifies life sciences companies into five sub-sectors: medical devices, pharma/biotech (including agro-biotech), diagnostics, healthcare IT (including telemedicine and bioinformatics) and “others.”
Fully 42% of active companies are in the medical devices sub-sector, which continued to attract the most investment dollars and deals in the life-sciences sectors in 2016.
Culture Minister Miri Regev dismissed criticism over her wearing to the Cannes Film Festival’s opening a dress whose hem featured an image of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
“Jerusalem is not a provocation, and it was lovely to see how much affection the dress received at Cannes,” Regev, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightist Likud party, told Ynet in an interview about the dress.
The dress’s message came as Israel is set to celebrate 50 years of having stitched the eastern and western halves of the city together following the 1967 Six Day War.
Shira Pur May, a columnist and journalist who writes about lifestyle and fashion, wrote an article titled “Miri Regev’s Cannes Dress: Tasteless, Aggressive, and Colonialist” in the left-leaning Haaretz daily. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
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