JPost Editorial: Netanyahu’s vision
If the Trump administration implements this policy change, Netanyahu would come under tremendous political pressure from within the Likud and from his right-wing coalition members to advance settlement building not only inside established blocs but also in more isolated areas, something the prime minister has opposed until now.
Netanyahu has consistently supported a negotiated peace that would result in a creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state. This position acknowledges and attempts to solve the demographic threat presented by the Palestinian population if the West Bank were annexed.
Deterioration of the security situation on the West Bank combined with a radical change in US foreign policy vis-avis the Palestinians could, at least in the short-term, undermine Netanyahu’s optimistic forecast for the future. The interim between the end of President Barack Obama’s term and the beginning of Trump’s offers a unique opportunity for Netanyahu to take initiative. To the extent possible, Israel should attempt to stabilize the situation in the West Bank and prevent the infighting within the Fatah.
And if Netanyahu truly believes that only through a two-state solution with the Palestinians will Israel remain both Jewish and democratic, he must make this clear to the Trump administration.
Former Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and Israeli Ambassador to the U.K. Mark Regev were expected to speak in the House of Commons on Tuesday at an event called “Refuting Balfour’s Detractors.” The event comes 99 years after British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour wrote his historic letter stating that his government views “with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
In July, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the Palestinian Authority would file a lawsuit against the United Kingdom over the 1917 letter, considered a major diplomatic milestone in the history of the Zionist movement.
In the wake of Malki’s statement, the pro-Palestinian group Palestinian Return Center launched the “Balfour Apology Campaign” in October at an event held in the House of Lords.
“As the 100th year since the Balfour Declaration approaches, the Palestinian Return Center has decided to relaunch its campaign which started in 2013, called Balfour Apology Campaign, which asks the U.K. government to officially apologize for its past colonial crimes in Palestine,” the center said. The center has been accused by Israel of being linked to Hamas, but has denied any ties to the terrorist organization.
A series where I bring to you news from the newspaper archives and historical documents to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.
This post is for dedicated to Roger Waters, who just lamented the fact a palestinian state did not arise from the 1947 UN Partition Plan, without explaining what happened.
We can see what happened by looking at some old New York Times reports from after the UN voted in favor of the plan. The Jewish reaction is one of acceptance of the plan (even though it encompassed way less than our ancestral lands) and unbridled joy, with Chief Rabbi Herzog proclaiming it as “an outstanding epoch of Jewish history” “after a darkness of 2,000 years.”
The Arab reaction? Anger, rejection of the plan…and terrorism in Palestine and overseas, as well as threatening a Holy War. Note also the Arab threat to crusade against the “Jews” – not the “Zionists.”
Brazilian Jews rarely require excuses for combining their love for their tight-knit communities with that other great passion of theirs: red meat.
Weddings, bar mitzvahs, britot — even funerals — all serve as perfectly legitimate pretexts for throwing churrascos — the Portuguese-language word for barbecues featuring morsels served rodizio-style: Meat that is sliced for each diner specially off an expertly grilled slab of prime beef.
But, believe it or not, there’s actually more than just carnivorous proclivity behind the unusual decision by the Brazilian branch of the Bnei Akiva youth movement to celebrate a steak recipe named in honor of the late Brazilian diplomat Osvaldo Aranha.
The YouTube cooking video that World Bnei Akiva prepared for November 29 marks the 69th anniversary of the vote at the United Nations in 1947 that partitioned the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab. A former president of the UN General Assembly, Aranha played a crucial role in ensuring a majority in favor of that resolution.
Filet Osvaldo Aranha is a well-known meat dish in Rio de Janeiro, where the diplomat would order it every day at his favorite restaurant. Aranha is also the dish’s inventor (to this day, many gourmet restaurants in Rio will prepare whatever off-menu dishes patrons ask for, as long as they have the necessary ingredients).
29 November 1947 – UN Passes Resolution 181 – The Partition Plan
On Nov 29 1947 the United Nations voted on the Partition Plan. The General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 recommending the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state. It was approved with 33 votes in favor, 13 against, 10 abstentions and one state absent.
Resolution 181 was accepted by the vast majority of the Jewish population, yet rejected by the Arab population in Palestine and by the Arab states, who embarked on a relentless war against the plan to establish a Jewish state.
Who voted in favor of the UN’s partition plan?
On November 29, 1947, the UN passed resolution 181 which lead to the birth of the State of Israel. The vote:
33 in favor
Prime Minister Netanyahu has now stated formally that some of the fires ravaging the country over the past week were caused by deliberate acts of terrorism. Although officials are still investigating specific incidents and determining the extent of possible coordination, a number of suspects have already been detained. Ariel Koch explains the origins of this tactic and its consequences:
[A]rson has served Palestinians as a weapon at least since the beginning of the 20th century. It was used primarily during the intifadas, with individuals and groups going out to set alight forests in Israel with the aim of causing economic and psychological harm. [And] it’s not just the Palestinians who have used this weapon—so has Hizballah, which deliberately fired Katyusha rockets during the Second Lebanon War at forests in the Galilee.
In November 2007, members of an online forum linked to al-Qaeda published messages promoting the idea of burning forests to wage jihad. Years later, reports kept popping up of jihadist involvement in huge blazes in Russia, Spain, and other countries. . . . The tenth issue of [al-Qaeda’s magazine] Inspire explained how someone can pull of catastrophic terror attacks (“operations”) with just a small matchbox. This way one can harm the “hotels, commercial businesses, wood houses, forests, and orchards of infidels.” . . . Perpetrators [in Israel] have honed their craft by learning when the weather is ideal for a fire—dry air and easterly winds—and what is needed to start a lethal blaze. . . .
However, it may be that the fires achieved the opposite effect. . . . The fires left no room for political or religious debate. Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and others from all walks of Israeli society showed solidarity and enlisted to aid the evacuated residents. States along the Mediterranean came to Israel’s aid to put out the blaze, and the Palestinian Authority also chipped in. It seems that a wide range of parties oppose the fires, who will join in an uncompromising struggle against the jihadists who set them.
Last week, over hundreds of fires in forests and cities raged across Israel, aided by strong winds and extremely dry weather conditions. 560 homes were destroyed along with 30,000 dunams (7,400 acres) of national park lands. In all 130,000 dunams (32,000 acres) of natural forests and brush were destroyed. Many countries sent assistance to Israel and the Palestinian Authority sent 8 fire trucks and 40 firefighters to assist in battling the flames.
Israeli police reported that many of the fires were started by arson and 23 people – most of them Israeli Arabs, the rest Palestinians – were arrested as suspects.
There were a range of reactions from official Palestinian Authority sources, which included:
- Support for the decision to help extinguish the fires as a humanitarian gesture (Head of PA Civil Defense Forces)
- Accusing Israel of racism for reporting that many fires were started by Arabs (PA Foreign Ministry, official PA daily)
- Denying Israel’s existence: “What is burning are our [Palestinian] trees and our historical Palestinian land” (Fatah)
- Israel’s difficulty with the fires is sign of weakness and that “nakedness of the Israeli death state has been exposed.” (Op-ed in the official PA daily)
- Israelis will now emigrate – seeing Israel’s weakness in firefighting and since the “Israeli Jew does not adhere to the land” (Op-ed in the official PA daily)
- Accusation that Israelis started some of the fires – “Extremist groups of settlers [set the fires] in order to complete their takeover of these areas.” (PA Foreign Ministry)
- Allah is punishing Israel (Fatah-Lebanon)
- Acknowledgment that Israel expressed thanks and credit to Palestinians for helping publicly and widely (Official PA daily)
- Criticism of Israel for supposedly not publicly expressing thanks and credit to Palestinians (PA Foreign Ministry)
Fires in nine cities and settlements hit in the rash of blazes that spread across the country over the past week were caused by arson and may have been terrorism, the Israel Tax Authority announced Tuesday in a move that paves the way for state compensation for losses.
The hard-hit city of Haifa, where 400 to 530 apartments were completely destroyed, the town of Zichron Ya’akov, and the communal settlement of Tal-El, all in the north of the country, were on the list, as was the communal settlement of Nataf in the Jerusalem Hills. The West Bank settlements of Dolev, Gilon, Talmon, Nirit and Halamish (Neve Tzuf) were also included.
The Tax Authority statement cited specific fires in nine locales beginning at specific times — for example, fire in Haifa at “10 a.m.; November 24.” It was therefore unclear how many of the fires in Haifa were deemed to have been started by arsonists.
“From information received by the Tax Authority, the Israel Police and the Fire and Rescue Services commission, it has been determined that the fires in these locations were caused by intentional arson with reasonable suspicion of terrorist activities,” the statement noted.
Former US president Jimmy Carter has called on the outgoing Obama administration to take steps toward recognizing a Palestinian state before leaving office in January.
The 39th US president made the call in an op-ed published Monday in the New York Times under the title “America Must Recognize Palestine.”
“We do not yet know the policy of the next administration toward Israel and Palestine, but we do know that the current administration is keen on achieving a two state solution,” Carter wrote.
“That prospect is now in grave doubt,” Carter said, pointing toward the uncertainty surrounding incoming US President-elect Donald Trump’s exact policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Carter urged the US to push for a UN Security Council resolution “laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict.” The resolution, he added, should “reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, Tuesday, “It is the duty of all Muslims to adopt the Palestinian interests and protect Jerusalem.”
Speaking at a parliamentary conference on Jerusalem in Istanbul, Erdoğan also said defense of the al-Aqsa Mosque should not be left in the hands of children armed only with rocks. He denounced a bill to ban the use of loudspeakers at mosques in Israel between 11pm and 7am, and said, “In light of its failure to implement decisions on vital issues such as Palestine, do not expect the United Nations to find solutions to current problems.”
The DUP has attacked Sinn Fein for meeting militant Palestinian group Hamas in an attempt to “wrongly glorify their own past”.
In a departure from recent attempts to show a greater show of Executive unity, the DUP warned that Sinn Fein had regularly tried to use the international stage to justify its past violence.
Diane Dodds MEP also said the example of Northern Ireland showed terrorism could not win.
But Sinn Fein insisted its support of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination would not waver.
Republican contacts with groups in the Middle East stretch back decades, with the party’s MEP Martina Anderson also due to visit the central West Bank city of Ramallah later this week.
On Nov. 13, one year after Islamist terrorists killed 130 people and injured 368 others in a series of attacks across Paris, music legend Sting performed at the city’s Bataclan theater. It was at this popular haunt that three gunmen opened fire during an Eagles of Death Metal concert that fateful night. Sting’s appearance, which coincided with the theater’s reopening, was meant not only to memorialize the 90 lives lost there, but to mark a new beginning, a return to life.
Yet just six days later, in the hours between Nov. 19-20, police across France apprehended seven men said to be plotting yet another attack. The suspects, said to be French, Moroccan, and Afghan, may be connected to others arrested just prior to the European Cup games in June. Their capture brings to 418 the number of terror-related arrests made so far this year, 43 of them in November alone.
France has suffered a disproportionate and disturbing number of terror attacks in the past two years, from the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket massacres in January 2015, to the November Paris attacks and the 87 killed while enjoying Bastille Day festivities in Nice on July 14. There also have been smaller attacks, including when militants in Normandy forced 85-year-old priest Jacques Hamel to kneel before slitting his throat in front of his parishioners in July.
But with over 400 would-be terrorists off the streets, is France at least safer than it was a year ago?
I was off the grid traveling much of the day, so I didn’t follow in live time the apparent terror incident at Ohio State University where a Somali legal immigrant rammed his car into pedestrians on the sidewalk, then attacked with what is variously described as a butcher knife or machete.
As in many such incidents, initial reports were confused and inaccurate. As Mary detailed in her live coverage, the story started as a shooter on the loose, until the facts sorted themselves out in the media.
Here is the latest from NBC News, Suspect Identified in Ohio State Attack as Abdul Razak Ali Artan:
An Ohio State University student posted a rant shortly before he plowed a car into a campus crowd and stabbed people with a butcher knife in an ambush that ended when a police officer shot him dead, a law enforcement official said.
Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, wrote on what appears to be his Facebook page that he had reached a “boiling point,” made a reference to “lone wolf attacks” and cited radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
“America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah [community]. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” the post said….
A police officer was on the scene within a minute and killed the assailant, likely saving lives, university officials said. “He engaged the suspect and eliminated the threat,” OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said.
Fatah unanimously re-elected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to a new five-year term as party leader on Tuesday, at its first conference since 2009, when he was last elected for a five-year term.
Party official and Palestinian National Council chairman Salim Zanoun asked the gathering to elect the 81-year-old Abbas “by consensus.”
The hundreds of delegates stood up and applauded Abbas, who then hugged Zanoun.
Abbas was scheduled to give an address at 6 p.m. to an expected 1,400 delegates.
The election of members of Fatah’s parliament and its central committee, which will begin Friday, will signal the direction the oldest Palestinian party will take at a time when Abbas is weakened by his own unpopularity and internal dissent.
Two of the biggest hospitals in East Jerusalem have reported that they will be unable to continue treating patients if the Palestinian Authority does not pay them the money it owes them.
The al-Maqased and Augusta Victoria hospitals, both located on the Mount of Olives, primarily treat Palestinian patients from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. In a joint statement released Monday they said that the PA had racked up NIS 240 million ($62.5 million) in unpaid bills, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.
The two hospitals said that they will be forced to start postponing surgeries from Tuesday unless they receive the outstanding money, which they need in order to purchase equipment and medicine.
The hospitals treat tens of thousands of patients annually as well as training doctors and medical personnel and housing medical research facilities.
Staff from the hospitals called off a demonstration planned for Monday night outside the Palestinian finance ministry when the management said it had received “positive signs” from the ministry. In addition, hospital administrators stressed that they did not wish to interfere with the Fatah conference starting Tuesday.
Al-Maqased Hospital operates as a charity, while Augusta Victoria is financed by the Lutheran World Federation and UNRWA. A large part of their budgets come from the Palestinian National Authority’s health insurance plan, which refers patients to the hospitals and reimburses the costs.
Leaving audiences to fill in the blanks for themselves, the BBC informs viewers that:
“An unwritten rule in Gaza bans women from riding bicycles after they reach puberty.”
“The Islamist movement Hamas has been ruling Gaza since 2006.”
In fact the violent Hamas coup which brought the end to Palestinian Authority rule in the Gaza Strip took place in June 2007.
This all too rare glimpse into a social issue faced by women in the Gaza Strip once again avoids providing BBC audiences with the context necessary for its full comprehension.
Iranian warnings against the passage of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) reflect “a broader strategy” in pursuit of additional sanctions relief, Benham Ben Taleblu, a senior analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in a policy brief on Saturday.
The ISA was originally passed in 1996, targeting Iran’s energy sector and expanding U.S. secondary sanctions, Taleblu explained. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a ten-year extension of the act earlier this month. In order to be renewed, the legislation must now pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Barack Obama.
The act does not seek to impose sanctions on Iran, but to give the president the legal authority to do so, Taleblu noted. While selling the nuclear deal, the Obama administration asserted that Iranian violations of the deal would be met with “snapback” sanctions. “If you’re going to snap back, you got to snap back to something, and if the Iran Sanctions Act … [doesn’t] exist after next year, there’s nothing to snap back to,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D – N.J.) asserted.
With many international sanctions on Iran now removed as a result of the nuclear deal, “ISA can serve as a pillar in the remaining U.S. sanctions architecture on the Islamic Republic,” Taleblu wrote.
Doing business with Iran is a dangerous proposition, German companies were warned on Monday in a full-page advertisement published by an advocacy group in a major Frankfurt newspaper.
The ad, authored by the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), ran in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as a two-day economic conference — titled “Market Opportunities in Iran” — got underway in the German financial hub.
In a statement released on Monday, UANI senior adviser and former director of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service Dr. August Hanning said:
The only way for German companies to avoid the risks inherent in the Iranian market is to abandon these business pursuits entirely. The Iranian regime remains a bad actor in the global community, given its ongoing extensive support of terrorism and its high profile and deliberate promotion of Holocaust denial. German business leaders should not reward this noxious regime until substantial and permanent reforms are implemented.
Among the forces now fighting to drive Islamic State (IS) from Mosul are the Popular Mobilization Unites (PMUs), Iranian-backed Shiite militias just recently legalized by the Iraqi parliament over the strenuous objections of Sunni legislators. Last week, the PMUs seized the Tal Afar airport—an important objective in the battle for Mosul but also, as Hanin Ghaddar writes, an important objective in Iran’s quest for regional hegemony:
Although the PMUs have not announced any specific plans for moving onward, the town just north of the airport could be their next target. Iran does not have a border crossing with Syria, but Tal Afar—located some 40 miles west of Mosul on the main road to Syria—could provide one. If its proxies do in fact capture the town, Iran would likely be able to establish a corridor from the Iraqi border province of Diyala, up through the Hamrin Mountains northeast of Tikrit, and all the way up to Tal Afar en route to Sinjar on the Syrian border. On the other side of Syria, Iranian-backed forces already have multiple routes to Lebanon via al-Qusayr and other towns in the Qalamoun region.
Although a land bridge might not be of major significance to Tehran in terms of transferring weapons, [which it is already doing by air and sea], it would provide a larger platform for projecting power and establishing a contiguous Iranian presence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. . . .
A small Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard vessel pointed its weapon at a U.S. military helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, two U.S. defense officials told Reuters on Monday, an action they described as “unsafe and unprofessional.”
The incident is the latest in a series of similar actions by Iranian vessels this year, but the first reported since Republican Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.
During his campaign, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessel that harassed the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water,” if he was elected. Trump is due to take office on Jan. 20.
There was no immediate Iranian comment on the incident. Trump’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the incident took place when a Navy MH-60 helicopter flew within half a mile (0.8 km) of two Iranian vessels in international waters. One of the vessels pointed a weapon at the helicopter, the U.S. officials said.
“The behavior by our standards is provocative and could be seen as an escalation,” the officials said. At no point did the crew of the helicopter feel threatened, they added.
Though the Cuban people are being forced by governmental decree to mourn their oppressor for nine days, it is doubtful that they remember “El Comandante” fondly. After all, their high literacy rates cannot make up for their abject poverty or lack of freedom to read what they choose. If anything, they envy those of their countrymen who escaped to the US, where they are flourishing financially and allowed to live their lives as they please.
Rather than stressing this fact, US President Barack Obama said, “We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”
Instead of boasting about the advantages his country has to offer and calling on the regime in Havana, led by Castro’s brother, Raul, to aspire to democracy and a free market, Obama went on to pat himself on the back for having “worked hard” to put the “discord and political disagreements … behind us, pursuing a future … defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends — bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity.”
No, he was not kidding.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and Palestinian Authority leaders dispensed with the saccharine and got right to the point of why each is sorry about the passing of the Communist tyrant, despite his ban on religion and demolition of its churches. Or perhaps subjugating and terrorizing Christians — a practice in which radical Muslims themselves engage — is fine, as long as it is accompanied by virulent anti-Western and antisemitic sentiment.
Tehran referred to Castro as a “prominent figure in fighting against colonialism and exploitation” and a “symbol of independence-seeking struggles of the oppressed.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine praised his efforts on behalf of “oppressed peoples of the world in their confrontation with imperialism, Zionism, racism and capitalism.”
The Palestinian National Council released a statement highlighting the close relationship between PLO chief Yasser Arafat and Castro, who was among the first leaders to recognize the terrorist organization after its founding in 1964 and who severed diplomatic ties with Israel in 1973.
Shmuley Boteach: Obama’s spinelessness and Trump’s courage on Castro
The death of Fidel Castro was the first foreign policy test for President-elect Donald Trump and he acquitted himself brilliantly.
For anyone who thought that his tough talk was just campaign bluster, witness the incredibly strong statement made about the bloody Cuban strongman: “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”
For those of us used to President Barack Obama’s bland, milquetoast amorality on world affairs, and his practiced refusal to condemn evil, Trump’s words are a breath of fresh air and God willing portend a new American foreign policy based on the American principle of holding murderers accountable.
Seth Frantzman: Did Castro excuse ANTI-SEMITISM? SHOCKING details!
In 1994, . . . [Israel’s chief rabbi] Israel Meir Lau attempted to get Castro to allow kosher meat into Cuba. . . . The Cuban leader had initially rejected Lau’s request. “I told you that I am fighting against the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in my country. . . . Do you want to make my people anti-Semitic?” Castro asked. “We have the practice of allocating 150 grams of bread a day, but the Jews in Cuba would have meat? [The people] will have a horrible hatred for them, envy them tremendously, and loot their homes if under such conditions you seek to import kosher meat for the Jews. You yourself create the anti-Semitism that I have been stopping.”
This is an example of supposedly stopping anti-Semitism: Castro threatened Jews that if they wanted to eat kosher meat they would “create” anti-Semitism. Castro was admitting that he had starved his country by putting it on bread rations, but surely Cubans eat some meat. So why would kosher meat “make” others anti-Semitic? One wonders whether “envy” for Muslims eating halal meat [which is in fact allowed into Cuba] would create the same excuse for Islamophobia. . . .
The real truth was that Castro wanted to sell himself as being the lone figure who could prevent anti-Semitism, much like many other leaders who claim they are “friends” of the Jewish minority by “preventing” anti-Semitism. But, [in a country where] there are only 1,500 Jews among 11 million people, why would there be any anti-Semitism? Can anyone imagine a leader claiming that if people of color ate meat, racism would therefore be acceptable? . . .
The reality in Cuba was that Jews were deeply suppressed, unable to practice their religion for decades, denied kosher meat, kept from emigrating, and impoverished.
Hell’s newest resident, a Mister Fidel Castro, late of Havana, has wasted no time getting situated in the abode that will be his residence for eternity. Immediately upon arriving in the Netherworld this weekend, Mr. Castro enrolled in classes over at Hell Community College, located on the Fifth Circle, right next to the Hell Convention Center which hosted last Summer’s FOREX Conference.
Like all Totalitarian Dictators, Castro is condemned to spend an eternity in an introductory Civics course, learning over and over and over again the principles of a civil society that maintains the consent of the governed. Yet while the students attend class day in and day out, they never really retain anything that they have learned, which leads to them failing the Final Exam and repeating the Semester. Again. And again. And again. Until Mahmoud Abbas holds an election or something. Thus, Fidel will spend an eternity in Civics 101, taught by Professor Yasser Arafat. The Daily Freier stopped by Gehenna (on a Day Pass! We hope!) to sit in on Professor Arafat’s seminar for Fidel’s first day of school.
The whole gang was there. Saddam Hussein sat himself down with the regal flair befitting a former Head of State. Qadaffi sat next to Saddam, hectoring him on the greatness of Qadaffi’s Green Book as a visibly agitated Saddam tried to stare out the window into the distance. Hugo Chavez sat in the back row cracking jokes. Ceaucescu sat in the middle, constantly checking which side of the class was favored. Even though he never ruled anything larger than an encampment of tents in the Hindu Kush, Osama Bin Laden was allowed to audit the course in the hopes that he would learn something. The class was even wheelchair-accesible, because in 2004 Hell brought all of its facilities into compliance with the Disabilities Act, thus allowing Sheikh Yassin access to a classroom where he could learn with his peers. This did not, however, stop the Sheikh from calling Professor Arafat “a pork eater and a wine drinker” under his breath.
PreOccupiedTerritory: ISIS Progressive Credentials In Doubt Amid Silence On Castro Death (satire)
Liberal thinkers and politicians voiced unease this week over the fact that several days after the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the Islamic State has not issued any official statement of mourning or condolences for that icon of progressive policies and ideology.
Castro died at the age of 90 on Friday, eight years after relinquishing the presidency of Communist Cuba to his brother Raul and nearly six decades after leading a revolution and takeover of the island nation that then saw him and his allies implement progressive reforms perfectly congruent with many of the Islamic State’s own agenda: public executions, destruction of ideologically problematic institutions, and imposition of ideologically pure principles on the population. The longtime alliances among governments promoting such progressive values, such as Iran, Libya, Venezuela, and Russia, had led the progressive community to expect that at least some expression of solidarity might be forthcoming from the Islamic State on the occasion of Castro’s passing, but that has not occurred, leading some in the progressive community to wonder whether Daesh should still be considered a member in good standing of that community.
The lack of such a statement, say analysts, has begun to expose rifts among progressives. “We all rail against Western imperialist ‘intervention’ against the Islamic State, because the people of that nation have the right to live out their Islamic values without answering to Washington,” explained Judith Butler, a professor at New York University who has focused on progressive organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Daesh itself. “But the solidarity has to go both ways. Some of us find it disturbing that we mourn the misfortunes suffered by our friends on the Global Left who are struggling to shake the yoke of Western oppression, but we hear not a peep from some progressive quarters when the movement loses such a giant as Comrade Fidel.”
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