Maajid Nawaz: Today’s mood is eerily reminiscent of the early 20th-century unravelling
The tangled and deteriorating state of global security today is reminiscent of the early 20th century breakdown of the world order. On 28 June 1914, a 19-year-old Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, triggering events that led to the Great War. On 19 December this year, a 22-year-old Muslim identitarian Mevlut Mert Altintas — who bears a striking resemblance to Princip — killed Andrey Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey.
Turkey’s sensitive geographic location between Europe and the Middle East, her hostile relations with Assad’s regime, her support for Syrian Arab and Islamist rebels there, her fight against Kurdish militants, her tense relationship with Russia, her membership of NATO and Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman delusions of grandeur all make Turkey the perfect place to attack, for those desiring to spark the collapse of our world order. This coupled with rising identity-based polarisation across the world, and repeated random and unpredictable mass-casualty attacks — such as the Berlin truck attack that happened on the same day — make conditions ripe for those seeking to trigger a broader war.
The similarities don’t end there, Ferdinand’s killer Princip was a radical, a member of Young Bosnians who were supported by the Yugoslav nationalist Black Hand. Likewise, Altintas — the now dead assassin of Russia’s ambassador — was also radicalised. While it was his service as a Turkish policeman that facilitated how Altintas managed to get so close to Ambassador Karlov, and explains his obvious firearms training, it was his ideological outlook and Muslim sense of outrage that affected his actions. Video that emerged after the killing shows the assassin chanting in Arabic, ”Allahu Akbar, we are the ones who pledged allegiance to Muhammad for Jihad, Allahu Akbar” and then in Turkish “Don’t forget Aleppo, Don’t forget Syria, I will not leave here alive.”
Fred Maroun: Rachel Avraham exposes Hamas’ willing collaborators
In her book “Women and Jihad”, Rachel Avraham, Jerusalem Online news editor and political analyst, brings the reader into the dark world of Palestinian female suicide bombers. She examines in detail the history of eight such terrorists, and she describes how their attacks were covered in the Israeli media, the Arab media, and the American media.
As a summary of her observations on the three types of media, Avraham writes, “The main difference between Arabic language media coverage of Second Intifada Palestinian female suicide bombings and that of American media is that often the Arabic language media coverage would overtly justify and glorify the actions of the suicide bomber, while American media coverage would more often rationalize the hardships that prompted the Palestinian female suicide bomber to blow herself up while refraining from condoning suicide bombings. The Israeli media by contrast was less likely than the American media to note the motivating factors behind the suicide bombing yet was still more likely to mention the factors prompting the female suicide bombers than it would had the suicide bomber been a male.”
With this analysis, Avraham reminds us that the media is an essential component of terrorism since terrorism’s objective is to terrorize enough people to force the political change that it desires. From this point of view, it does not matter whether the reporting is sympathetic to the terrorists or not. It only matters how many people are terrorized.
A secondary and even more perverse effect of media reporting on terrorism is that it can change public opinion in favor of the terrorists’ cause when it portrays the terrorists as victims or even heroes. For example, Avraham writes that CNN anchorman Aaron Brown claimed that terrorists Darine Abu Aisha and Wafa Idris were “something akin at least to feminist heroes in the Arab world”!
Ryan Bellerose: On Canada, Israel, and indigenous peoples
Editor’s Note: On Monday, November 28, ‘The Toronto Star ‘published an editorial written by Dr. Yousef Jabareen, a Palestinian MK, with the headline “What Israel Can Learn From Canada.” The following is a response to Dr. Jabareen from B’nai Brith Canada’s advocacy coordinator of Western Canada.
Perhaps what’s most disparaging about your remarks, Dr. Jabareen, is your accusation, in the wake of UNESCO and the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to rewrite Judeo-Christian history and challenge Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem and its holy sites, that Jews are obliterating the aboriginal names of places in Israel.
I am a Canadian and I love my country, although I love it more for the dream of what it could be rather than the reality of what it is.
Like you, I know there are things that need fixing. Unlike you, I’m not running around telling lies about my own country.
Perhaps you can be more conscious of the fact that referring to Palestinians as “indigenous” lends a hand to their systematic campaign to rewrite Jewish history.
As an Arab-Israeli representative of the Knesset, you indeed have a responsibility to speak on behalf of Arabs. But you also have a responsibility to speak on behalf of Israel.
Daniel Pipes: Minimize Middle East mistakes
Obama’s indecision in Syria results from the hostility and repulsiveness of three out of the country’s four main actors: the Islamic State group; the Turkish-, Qatari-, and Saudi-backed Sunni Arab rebels, mostly Islamist; and the Assad regime, backed by the Iranian and Russian governments. Only the Syrian Democratic Forces, consisting of the mostly Kurdish People’s Protection Units, are decent and friendly. In a near-Hobbesian state of all fighting all (except that ISIS and Assad steer clear of each other), the Obama administration cannot find a policy and stick with it. Commendably, it helps the Syrian Democratic Forces, but the overemphasis on destroying ISIS leads it to misbegotten alliances with Ankara, Tehran, and Moscow. Instead, Washington should assist its only ally while encouraging the other three actors to battle themselves into oblivion.
Insisting on the principle of favoring democratic leaders, even if dubiously elected and hostile, the Obama administration has, by withholding armaments and aid, sought to punish Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for coming to power through a coup d’etat. This gratuitous estrangement needs quickly to be changed so that Americans can help a barely competent Egyptian leader stave off famine and defeat the Islamists, thus helping him to stay in power and keeping the Muslim Brotherhood out.
The Arab-Israeli conflict, once the Middle East’s most dangerous flashpoint, has receded (at least temporarily) into the background. While low-level violence continues unabated, it has less potential to escalate in an era of Middle Eastern cold and hot war. The new administration must immediately signal that it considers Israel to be America’s closest and most important Middle East ally; it should also abort the endless pressure on Jerusalem to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority. Better yet, it should discard the nearly 25-year-old pretense that Palestinians are Israel’s “partner for peace” and instead encourage Israelis to impress on the Palestinians the need for them unequivocally and permanently to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
A simple policy of protecting Americans and their allies offers great opportunities to fix a legacy of ruinous bipartisan mistakes.
Following recognizing “Palestine” as a state, in January 2015, the ICC Prosecutor opened a preliminary examination of alleged war crimes relating to the 2014 Gaza war and to the settlement enterprise.
Despite Israel vehemently protesting the ICC’s Palestine decision, it eventually decided in July 2015 to cooperate informally with the ICC about jurisdiction issues, including an October visit to the region by members of the ICC Prosecutor’s staff.
The ICC Prosecutor still has not decided whether to move from an examination to a full criminal investigation.
According to Northwestern Professor and Kohelet lawyer Eugene Kontorovich, “the ICC is not an all-powerful forum of international justice, but rather a politically weakened institution that has had numerous countries quit its membership in recent months. Perhaps it is true justice that real countries began quitting the ICC shortly after it accepted a non-country – Palestine.”
Kontorovich opposed continued cooperation. He said Israel could make its arguments against jurisdiction through NGOs and other third parties. He added that it was problematic to cooperate with the ICC as long as it recognizes Palestine as a state, and that the Palestinians should be pressured to withdraw their membership from the ICC as some African countries are in the process of doing.
In contrast, former IDF International Law Department and INSS legal director Pnina Sharvit Baruch said, “I think it is taking too great a risk not to cooperate.” With guarded optimism, she added, “There is no proof yet that the court will be clearly political…but we have good arguments and Israel should present them” to try to convince the ICC to back off.
Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisor at NGO Monitor, expressed concern that, “the Office of the Prosecutor appears to be repeating many of the mistakes of other international organizations investigating armed conflict by heavily relying on the unverified claims of a narrow sector of political advocacy NGOs.”
The group that paid forKeith Ellison’s December 2008 hajj trip to Mecca is a “national security threat,” a Muslim scholar wrote in a 2010 email.
Ellison now is vying to become the next Democratic National Committee chief.
The Muslim American Society (MAS), the group that paid $13,500 for Ellison’s pilgrimage, had ties to terrorism and a phony commitment to the American constitutional order, al-Husein Madhany wrote in the email, which was posted on the “Muslim Justice League” listserv. He made those assertions as part of a discussion of how the Muslim community should respond to the Ground Zero mosque controversy.
The listserv included top US Islamist and liberal intellectuals, as well as Obama administration representatives. CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen and prominent American Muslim playwright and polemicist Wajahat Ali also were part of the list. “When I said that I believe MAS halaqas (religious gatherings) to be a national security threat, it was only part in jest. My caution comes from what I have personally heard said at MAS halaqas during my time in graduate school and based on what I know about their ideological (but financial) ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas,” Madhany wrote.
Madhany, who has ties to the Brookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations, Georgetown University and New America Foundation, co-authored a 2008 piece for Brookings with President Obama’s former US Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Rashad Hussain, about the role of Islam in counter-terrorism policy.
The United Nations launched an appeal Monday for $547 million to help 1.6 million people in the Palestinian territories in 2017.
The response covers 1.1 million residents of the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade for the past decade, and half a million people in the West Bank.
The most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza ended in August 2014, but Israel has maintained tight restrictions on the enclave, while Egypt has also closed its border.
Hamas, the terror group which seized control of Gaza in 2007, is avowedly committed to destroying Israel. Israel maintains the blockade to prevent Hamas importing weaponry.
The United Nations has warned that the tiny, but densely populated coastal enclave could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current trends continue.
“Needs in Gaza remain particularly acute and humanitarian services provided by the international community remain a lifeline,” said Robert Piper, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, in a letter accompanying the launch.
UN Watch: The Top 10 Worst U.N. Moments of 2016
10. Misogynistic Iran joined the Executive Board of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
9. The UN elected dictatorships Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, and Egypt to its highest human rights body.
8. The UN Human Rights Council held a minute of silence for brutal dictator and human rights abuser Fidel Castro. UN Watch was the only NGO in the room which refused to stand.
7. Jean Ziegler, co-founder and 2002 laureate of the Moammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize, was reelected to the 18-member Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council. Ziegler, an apologist of brutal dictators, was nominated by the Swiss foreign ministry.
6. The UN Human Rights Council, whose experts continue to ignore starvation in Venezuela, allowed the Maduro regime to cheat its recent human rights review by arranging 500 fake NGO submissions praising Caracas, including from the Bolivian Baseball Association, the Cuban Federation of Canine Sports, and the “Association for Obvious Things,” a Slovenian entity that hailed Venezuela’s record on combating hunger.
5. UNESCO negated its mandate to protect world heritage by adopting a resolution which used Islamic-only terms for Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, denying thousands of years of Jewish and Christian heritage, religion and culture.
Students at the University of Michigan, Dearborn (UMD) have lost interest in anti-Israel activism, a faculty member and long-time BDS activist told local independent newspaper Arab American News on Thursday.
David Skrbina, a professor of philosophy, said he is “puzzled” as to why Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement activity at the school has “fizzled” out, the newspaper reported.
“I would always expect [UMD’s student body] to be a leading charge among the whole US on these kinds of issues,” he said. “But no…[I]t’s kind of a disappointment that we don’t see more action from the students.”
UMD’s Arab Student Union and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter “seem to be shying away from divestment talks,” possibly due to feeling intimidated or fearful of being surveilled for their efforts, Skrbina said. As a result, he lamented, he has been forced to “[fight] the battle on his own.”
Since 2005, the UMD student government has passed six BDS resolutions, calling on the university to cut all ties with the Jewish state. These anti-Israel motions, when presented to the school’s Board of Regents, have been dismissed, and the Faculty Senate recently voted down a similar initiative.
Skrbina said that despite the administration’s repeated rejection of BDS, he tries to “stress to [students] that it’s important to make the statement, even if it’s a morale statement.”
The second of those links – billed “A simple guide to the Gaza conflict” – leads to a backgrounder produced by the CBBC website’s ‘Newsround’ section for children between the ages of six and twelve. newsround-gaza
Titled “Guide: Why are Israel and the Palestinians fighting over Gaza?“, that rather curious choice of ‘related article’ was originally published in November 2012 and was the subject of a complaint and a ruling by the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit in June 2013.
Despite having been amended numerous times, the backgrounder still includes misleading, inaccurate and incomplete information – as was documented here in 2014. At the time we noted that:
“Incidents such as the recent bout of conflict often prompt increased pondering of the topic of why so many educated people in Western countries exhibit a disturbing lack of factual knowledge with regard to Israel. With CBBC apparently reaching 34% of six to twelve year-olds weekly in the UK and its website having a million unique browsers a month, items such as this inaccurate and misleading ‘Newsround’ guide are clearly aiding to perpetuate that situation whilst failing young audience members and their licence fee-paying parents by neglecting the BBC’s obligation to promote “understanding of international issues”.
However, as we see, this problematic “guide” continues to be promoted to BBC audiences around the world.
Since the Reagan administration, which explicitly said it did not believe the settlements were illegal, U.S. administrations have instead characterized the settlements as an obstacle to peace and illegitimate. The current U.S. government, and numerous preceding American administrations, have not characterized the settlements as “illegal.”
Following communication from CAMERA staff, ABC editors yesterday immediately removed the erroneous claim in the Dec. 17 article that the U.S. views Israeli settlements as illegal. The amended text now accurately states: “The United Nations considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law.”
In addition, editors commendably appended this editor’s note to the bottom of the article:
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the United States considers Israeli settlements illegal. The United States believes settlements are an impediment to a two-state solution, but has only rejected some as illegal under Israeli law, according to the U.S. State Department.
Dylann Roof doesn’t want jurors to consider his mental health when they decide next month whether he should face the death penalty for killing nine black Charleston church worshipers, according to a handwritten motion he filed.
Roof’s decision late Friday to not call mental health experts to testify isn’t too much of a surprise. In his hate-filled, racist journal read to the jury during his trial, Roof said his doesn’t believe in psychology.
“It is a Jewish invention and does nothing but invent diseases and tell people they have problems when they don’t,” Roof wrote.
Roof, 22, is acting as his own lawyer during the penalty phase of his trial, which starts January 3.
The same jury that convicted him Thursday on 33 charges including hate crime and obstruction of religion will decide if Roof is sentenced to life in prison without parole or death for the massacre on June 17, 2015, at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston.
In his handwritten note, he said: “I will not be calling mental health experts or presenting mental health evidence.”
In an effort to combat forays into the international public conscience suggesting that Dutch businessmen, civil servants and the public at large were ‘not nice at all’ – to put it mildly – during and after the Holocaust, this month the international media was presented with ‘new findings’ suggesting that Anne Frank was ‘not betrayed’ by an anonymous Dutch citizen, but that she and her fellow Jews-in-hiding had been stumbled upon by the SS.
The ‘new findings’ were presented by none other than the Anne Frank Foundation. The Foundation says it had stumbled upon this new perspective after rereading Anne Frank’s diary. On March 10, 1944 Anne wrote “we are out of food stamps” after two men in the same building were detained for illegally trading in food stamps. On March 22nd Anne wrote that the two men had been released. After rereading these entries the Anne Frank Foundation decided to “research documents from police and the justice ministry” in order to uncover how the SS had found the secret annex. Following lengthy research the Foundation came to the conclusion that: “Our research does not deny the possibility of betrayal, but it does demonstrate that other scenarios should also be considered.”
Holocaust was more of an “accident”
In October, the municipality of Amsterdam accidentally destroyed files relating to concentration camp survivors who had been fined for not paying property taxes while in Auschwitz. Recently, the autobiography of the Israeli-Dutch Holocaust survivor Carry Mass was published in the Netherlands. The revival of interest in the Dutch wartime past is of importance in the Netherlands because – with the exception of the country’s tiny Jewish community – only an extremely small percentage of the Netherlands’ law-abiding and conformist population has even an inkling of the extent of collaboration by Dutch authorities and the population at large during the Holocaust. Of course Dutch bureaucrats are even more concerned about the Netherlands’ image abroad, which is basically formed by respectable gobbledygook, such as the above gibberish from the Anne Frank Foundation.
One of the world’s leading historians on the Jewish communities in Arab countries is being prosecuted in France for alleged hate speech against Muslims.
The Morocco-born French-Jewish scholar Georges Bensoussan, 64, is due to appear next month before a Paris criminal court over a complaint filed against him for incitement to racial hatred by the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, the group recently announced on its website.
The complaint, which leading French scholars dismissed as an attempt at “intimidation” in a statement Friday, was over remarks about anti-Semitism by Muslims that Bensoussan, author of a definitive 2012 work entitled “Jews in Arab Lands,” made last year during an interview aired by the France Culture radio station, the Collective said.
The Collective based its complaint on two remarks by Bensoussan.
“Today, we are witnessing a different people in the midst of the French nation, who are effecting a return on a certain number of democratic values to which we adhere,” read the first quote flagged.
The second quote cited read: “This visceral anti-Semitism proven by the Fondapol survey by Dominique Reynié last year cannot remain under a cover of silence.” Conducted in 2014 among 1,580 French respondents, of whom one third were Muslim, the survey found that they were two times and even three times more anti-Jewish than French people as a whole.
“Besides, with the animosity toward the French nation, there will be no integration as long as we will not be rid of this ancestral anti-Semitism that is kept secret (…) as an Algerian sociologist, Smain Laacher, very bravely said in a film that will be aired on France 3, ‘it’s disgraceful to keep in place this taboo, knowing that in Arab families in France and beyond everybody knows but will not say that anti-Semitism is transmitted with mother’s milk,” the quote continued.
At least 12 people have been murdered in three attacks by suspected Jihadists from France on Jewish targets in that country and in Belgium since 2012.
The anti-Islamophobia collective called Bensoussan’s statements “dangerous and in line with far-right rhetoric” targeting Muslims.
Bronze prutah bears image of King Antiochus IV, who declared death sentence on Jews • Tower of David Museum Director Eilat Lieber: It’s exciting to find Antiochus himself thrown down here between the stones and tell him: We’re still celebrating Hanukkah.
Just in time for Hanukkah: A bronze coin that was in circulation in the time of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who decreed that the Jews must be annihilated and during whose reign the Maccabean revolt took place, has been discovered at the Tower of David archaeological site in Jerusalem.
No one expected that decades after the excavations at the Tower of David citadel wrapped up, new discoveries would still be made on the museum grounds. During routine cleaning and maintenance work at the site, chief conservator Orna Cohen noticed a metal object among the stones of the Hasmonean Wall inside the citadel. A careful examination revealed that it was a bronze prutah, a coin that was in use over 2,000 years ago.
The front of the coin features Antiochus wearing a crown. The reverse features the image of a goddess wrapped in a scarf.
Officials from the Tower of David noted that while there is no date on the coin, “we know that these coins were minted in Acre, which in that time was called Ptolemais, apparently between 172 and 168 BCE.”
Authorities in the city of Carpentras in southern France allocated $1.25 million for renovating the ceiling of the country’s oldest synagogue ahead of its 650th anniversary next year.
The city intends to defray some of the cost through admission fees to exhibitions that it is preparing to put on next year of items connected to the synagogue, including some of its priceless items of scripture — which predate the invention of the printing press — and a showing of photographs related to the local Jewish community, the news website France Bleu reported.
Fleeing persecution in 13th-century France, many Jews sought pontifical protection in Carpentras, which was controlled by the Avignon papacy at the time. They established the synagogue shortly thereafter, in 1367, according to the World Monuments Fund, which supported some restoration in 2001.
The building was renovated in the 18th century by the architect Antoine D’Allemand, whose work on the synagogue reflected contemporary baroque décor.
A monumental stairway leads through from the ground floor to the first floor, belying the synagogue’s modest façade. On the ground floor, the ritual baths, or mikvaot, and two bakeries represent some of the building’s oldest retained features.
An Olympic team jacket worn by an Israeli bronze medalist in judo was auctioned off for $100,000 at a fundraiser for children with disabilities.
Israeli judo star Ori Sasson, who won his medal at the Rio Summer Olympics, donated his team jacket to Shalva, an Israeli organization for children with disabilities.
Sasson also announced during the organization’s annual dinner that he will be heading a new judo program for children with disabilities at the new Shalva National Center in Jerusalem.
“A minute before I handed over the jacket, when it was still in my hands, I thought about whether I would miss having it,” Sasson said. “But then I thought about all of the good it would do and realized that it has reached its ultimate purpose.”
Sasson took third place at the Rio Olympics after defeating Alex Garcia Mendoza of Cuba in the men’s judo over-100 kg competition. Sasson had previously defeated Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby, who refused to shake the Israeli’s outstretched hand and walked away to boos from the crowd.
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