Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IDF Statement on Terrorist Attack‏

Four Israelis were murdered in a terrorist drive-by-shooting attack on route 60 near Qiryat Arba, east of Hebron, tonight, August 31st, 2010. Two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant, from the nearby community of Bet Hagay, were the victims of this deadly attack. The Commander of the Judea and Samaria Regional Brigade, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon said: "We have suffered a difficult terror attack in the Judea region during which civilians from the area were killed.

Firstly, I would like to express my sorrow to the families of those murdered. The terror attack, it seems, was carried out by a passing vehicle, and as far as we can tell, the Hamas terror organization is behind the attack. The investigation is still underway. We were on high alert in light of the upcoming holiday period but regretfully, we were unable to prevent the attack. We will continue to be on high alert in the area. The forces are currently searching the area for the terrorists responsible."

Only two months ago, on June 6th, 2010, an Israeli police officer was murdered by Palestinian gunmen in a similar attack near Al Fawwar, south of Hebron, on the same route 60.

On February 2nd, 2010, an IDF Non-Commisioned Officer (NCO), Sergeant 1st class Ihab Hattib was killed by a Palestinian terrorist while stopped in his vehicle at a traffic light in the Tapuah junction, south of Nablus.

Lt. Aliza Landes
New Media Desk
Foreign Press Branch
IDF Spokesperson's Office

office: 02-548-5801

Washington's Israeli elites


As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to Washington for another stillborn round of talks with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas hosted by US President Barack Obama, he will probably be preoccupied with one issue.

It won't be Obama's bigoted demand that Jews be prohibited from building synagogues, schools and homes in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu won't be wondering how long Abbas can keep up with his "Palestinian president" act before his people chase him out of town. Abbas's term ended in January 2009.

Israel's elected leader will be thinking about Iran. He will be wondering how the US government will react if he sends the IAF to bomb Iran's nuclear installations. Will the US permit IAF jets to overfly US-controlled Iraqi airspace? Or will Obama follow the advice of his foreign policy mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski and order the US Air Force to shoot down those jets, abandon the US-Israel alliance and embrace a new role as protector of Iran's nuclear weapons program?

While Netanyahu wonders if the US can be trusted, other Israelis sleep soundly at night knowing that Uncle Sam has their back. The Israeli Left knows that no matter how forcefully its platforms are rejected by the public, the US government will embrace its members and fund its projects.

This week in the leadup to the talks, the openly subversive Geneva Initiative has launched a multimillion dollar public relations campaign targeting the public. Its goal is to persuade Israelis that Fatah is a legitimate partner for peace. The campaign is funded by USAID.

ACCORDING TO Yediot Aharonot, the Geneva Initiative has hired Ron Asulin, one of the country's top directors to stage and direct commercials featuring Fatah members telling Israelis they are credible partners in peace. The Geneva Initiative invited Yediot's Alon Goldstein to watch the recording sessions in Ramallah.

His report, published Sunday, is a fascinating glimpse at the Left's propaganda shop.

Goldstein describes how Asulin told Fatah's Saeb Erekat to begin his greeting with the word "shalom."

"It will be effective," Asulin promised.

Among his other achievements, Erekat played a starring role in the PA's 2002 blood libel in which he and his comrades accused Israel of committing a massacre in the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield. He told CNN that Israel had killed "more than 500 people." He also claimed that more than 300 were being buried in mass graves.

In the event, Palestinian losses in the battle stood at 54; some 90 percent of them were combatants. Twenty-three IDF soldiers were killed. The only massacres were the suicide bombings that killed some 500 Israelis - 80 percent of whom were civilians - in the months that preceded Defensive Shield.

Not only has Erekat never retracted his statements. He has repeated them.

But never mind. He said "shalom" rather nicely.

Next on the list of US-funded spokesmen was Fatah strongman Jibril Rajoub, who was instrumental in forging the operational alliance between Fatah and Hamas that facilitated the terror war against Israel 10 years ago. Throughout the roaring '90s, Rajoub assiduously recruited Hamas members to his Preventive Security Force in Judea and Samaria.

As recently as May 10 he appeared on PA television and said, "Building a school and throwing a hand grenade, in my opinion, are resistance. I build the school in order to strengthen the reasons for my people's resolve, as one of several aspects of the resistance, and when there is a need to throw a grenade [or launch] a rocket, I'll do that as well out of my belief in the inevitable victory of my cause and its justness."

Last week the US paid for him to be filmed telling Israelis we should trust him. It was no mean task. According to Yediot, "Asulin had to work hard" to get Rajoub to say the word "partner."

Then there is Fatah's propaganda boss Yasser Abed Rabbo. As Yasser Arafat's culture and information minister, it was Abed Rabbo who ended press freedom in the PA shortly after it was established in 1994. Under his reign, journalists and editors were detained and beaten, newspapers were closed and printing presses were torched. In 2002, Abed Rabbo outdid Erekat in his mendacious condemnations of Israel. He accused Israel of "digging mass graves for 900 Palestinians in the [Jenin refugee] camp."

In 2001 he ordered the PA media to stop filming mass celebrations of the September 11 attacks on the US.

Despite his long career as a propagandist, Asulin still had his work cut out for him. He had to convince Abed Rabbo to stop waving his finger at the camera. "When you wave your finger, you are actually warning me. You are making threats."

IT IS WORTH pausing for a moment and considering the nature of the US-financed Geneva Initiative that is going to such lengths to present a wholly distorted picture of reality to the public. It is the brainchild of Israel's most successful subversive - former justice minister and former Meretz leader Yossi Beilin.

Beilin is the architect of every major Israeli strategic disaster in the past 17 years. He was the architect of the disastrous 1993 Oslo Accord that lionized Arafat as a peace partner and empowered him to embark on a campaign of terror and political warfare that continued on long after his death in 2004.

Beilin is the architect of the disastrous 2000 Taba negotiations in which an embattled prime minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat the Temple Mount even as Arafat's men were butchering Israelis on the roads, in buses and cafes.

In 2002 Beilin worked with Colin Powell's State Department to draft the so-called road map for Middle East peace. That document was the most anti-Israel ever adopted by a US administration. The Sharon government managed in large part to scuttle the initiative by convincing president George W. Bush to agree that the document's draconian demands could only be implemented after the Palestinians suspended their terror war.

His ambitions checked by the unremitting Palestinian violence, Beilin found another outlet for undermining his government. In 2003 he partnered with the Swiss government and the EU in founding the Geneva Initiative. The initiative was an open bid to subvert the writ of the government to conduct foreign policy. Beilin and Abed Rabbo gathered their followers in Geneva, held staged "negotiations" and signed an "agreement" in which the Israelis agreed to every Palestinian demand and the Palestinians thanked them.

Ariel Sharon's chief of staff Dov Weissglas claimed in a 2005 interview that Sharon was so spooked by the affront that he was convinced to embark on the withdrawal from Gaza.

Together with the 2000 withdrawal from south Lebanon - which Beilin also spearheaded - the withdrawal from Gaza will go down in the annals of Israeli history as the greatest strategic blunder until that time.

Not surprisingly, the public takes a dim view of Beilin and his ilk. This is why in the last elections Meretz was destroyed as a representative political force. It won only three seats in the Knesset.

But Beilin and his supporters don't care.

They are not trying to win over the public in any real sense. In many ways they are the flip side of Fatah. Just as Fatah is the lawful representative of no one, so they are the lawful representative of next to no one. And just as Fatah rules through a mix of tyranny and corruption, so they seek to dictate Israel's path through a mixture of corruption and political subversion.

THE NEWEST Geneva Initiative campaign was far from the only display of the far Left's contempt for the Israeli people this week.

Over the weekend, more than 50 far Left activists who double as actors, writers and tenured professors signed open letters pledging not to perform at Ariel's new theater.

Since Ariel is beyond the 1949 armistice lines, as far as these self-described artists are concerned, its residents have no right to watch plays. On the other hand, as actor Doron Tabori, one of the signatories, argued in an appearance on the Knesset channel, the very idea that the state might consider ending its funding of his work in light of his discriminatory position is proof that his critics are all "fascists and racists."

Tabori is far from alone.

His rejection of the legitimacy of public criticism and his demonization of his critics is the hallmark of the Left.

Take Hebrew University Prof. Ze'ev Sternhall for instance. In 2001 he published an oped in Haaretz advising the Palestinians to limit their acts of murder to Israelis who live beyond the armistice lines. As he put it, "There is no doubt about the legitimacy of armed resistance in the territories themselves. If the Palestinians had a little sense, they would concentrate their struggle against the settlements... and refrain from planting bombs west of the Green Line."

On Sunday, in response to the Im Tirtzu student movement's recent campaign against Ben-Gurion University's anti-Zionist Politics and Government Department, Sternhall wrote a new piece in Haaretz. Under the headline, "Only force will stop force," he threatened the government. If it continues to back Im Tirtzu, if its members maintain their call to fire state-funded professors who call for a boycott of Israel, then Israeli professors should work to foment an international boycott.

As he put it, "Any attempt to harm a lecturer's status for political reasons will met with a firm response from Israel's academic faculty. The expected reaction from the international community, including the possibility of a boycott, could be no less painful."

It is from the Sternhalls and Taboris of Israel that groups like the Geneva Initiative draw their support base.

On Sunday, Charles Krauthammer wrote about the American public's abandonment of the political and cultural Left. Rather than consider the possibility that the public may have a point, he claimed that the American Left has responded to their fellow Americans' repudiation by demonizing their countrymen as a bunch of bigots.

Krauthammer concluded that the Left will pay for its assault on American society at the ballot box in November. As he put it, "A comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them."

He is probably right about America. But their comrades in Israel will suffer no similar drubbing.

While Israel's elected leaders are left guessing if the US will stand behind the country at its moment of greatest need, the likes of Beilin and Sternhall know that they can rely on Washington come rain or come shine.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Pure, unadulterated barbarity

David Wilder
August 31, 2010

Elul 21, 5770, 8/31/2010

It’s been a while since I photographed dead bodies. The last time I remember clearly was the murder of Yossi Shok from Beit Haggai who was shot and killed similarly on a Friday afternoon a few years ago. That attack entailed a few miracles. I recall that there were others in the car, teenage girls, who miraculously weren’t hurt.

But tonight, no miracles. This morning, speaking with a friend, talking about the renewed ‘piece talks’, I told him that more than likely today or tomorrow terrorists would strike. It was just a question of where – around here, the Shomron, or Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Tonight we received our answer.

Leaving Ma’arat HaMachpela after evening prayers, the beeper beeped. A car had been shot at. A quick phone call, confirming that Jews had been hit, four critically, and I sped off. I had been at the scene of the shooting only a few hours ago, examining how Arabs were stealing water from Jews in the area.

By the time I arrived, the description had changed. No longer four critically wounded. Four dead. Four killed, shot by terrorists, on their way home. The terrorists’ lives have been made much easier in the past year or so, with various roadblocks being removed in Judea and Samaria. Now it’s fairly simple to access roads used by Jewish civilians, shoot, and then escape.

The scene was reminiscent of others I’ve witnessed in the past. Ambulances, jeeps, police, medics, soldiers, officers, red lights flashing….and bodies.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen four bodies on the street, murdered by Arabs only because they are Jews, living in Israel.

I sit here, half numb, almost not believing, but knowing that, yes, it’s real. And what to do?

The first thing that must be done: Netanyahu has to return immediately, cancelling tomorrow’s ‘festive ceremony’ renewing the so-called negotiations with Obama and Abu Mazen. Israel must make it as clear as possible: we refuse to accept, under any circumstances, and at any price, murder of innocent people on our roads, in our homes, anywhere. No excuses, no looking the other way, no ‘ifs ands or buts.’ More than the Arabs, Obama must understand in no uncertain terms that our people are not cattle-feed.

Two: Netanyahu must unfreeze the freeze now. Not on September 26, not leaving everyone wondering ‘what’s he going to do?’ Tomorrow, as these four pure souls are being buried, building must again begin throughout Judea and Samaria. Here again, the Arabs and the Americans must understand that we will not turn the other cheek; there is a price for murdering Jews in Israel.

Three: Here in Israel we must comprehend that our own people are continuing to incite; making Jewish blood cheap. Two examples: The continued ‘cherem’ – boycott of Israeli actors and performing artists, refusing to perform in Ariel in the Shomron, is incitement. Our Arab neighbors, seeing and hearing Israelis spout revulsion against their supposed brethren is, in the Arab’s eyes, a green light, opening the door to murderous attacks as we witnessed tonight.

So too with such organizations as Breaking the Silence and others, who continue to spew hate against Jews living in Hebron and the Hebron area, while identifying effusively with our Arab neighbors. This is also incitement; there is no other word for it. Actually there is: treason. A person or individual abetting the enemy is treason. These people walk the streets of Hebron freely, regurgitating lies about Hebron’s Jewish citizen’s, while showering praises on the ‘poor palestinians’ whose suffer at the hands of the evil Jews. These ‘poor people’ are planning on taking our land, destroying our country, and continuing to kill Jews. Such ‘tours’ must be stopped.

Four: Israel has been ‘returning’ security control to armed, uniformed Arabs in cities throughout Judea and Samaria. This too, must be ended. It won’t be any surprise if we eventually discover that the terrorists who murdered four Jews tonight are actually ‘palestinian police,’ trained and armed by General Keith Dayton of the US army, and set free to roam the streets with the permission of the state of Israel.

According to the latest reports, a number of terrorists participated in the attack. After the car was shot at and stopped, its passengers were shot dozens of times, ensuring their deaths. It’s been reported that one of the women was pregnant. The couple killed leaves some ten children orphans. You know what it's like to inform ten kids that their parents aren't coming home anymore, that they were killed by terrorists an hour ago?

This is pure, unadulterated barbarity, brutality characteristic of our ‘piece partners.’ This may very well only be the beginning.

Note for Israel-PA Talks: It Wasn't The Luck of the Irish But Effective Counter-Terrorism That Brought Peace

Barry Rubin

As direct Israeli-Palestinian direct talks restart it is useful to recall the use and misuse of an analogy to the case of Northern Ireland.

In October 2001, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw visited Washington and held a press conference with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell bubbled over about how the Irish agreement supposedly showed:

"An example of what can be achieved when people of good will come together, recognize they have strong differences, differences that they have fought over for years, but it's time to put those differences aside in order to move forward and to provide a better life for the children of Northern Ireland." This is the sort of naive optimism (let's all just get along, peace is the natural order of things, everybody is really moderate at heart) that Americans so often evince. As the great French intellectual Raymond Aron once explained, "The Americans always have the tendency to believe that wars result from misunderstanding or accidents and suppose that no one could possibly want a war."

In this case, though, Straw dumped cold water on Powell's world view." What he said is worth quoting fully:

"Could I just add one thing to that, if I may? Of course, negotiation is far, far better--infinitely better -- than military action. As far as Northern Ireland is concerned, we welcome hugely the progress that has been made following the Good Friday Agreement. It also has to be said that before that happened, there had to be a change of approach by those who saw terrorism as the answer. And that approach partly changed because of the firmness of the military and police response to that terrorism. And if there had not been that firm response by successive British governments and others to the terrorist threat that was posed on both sides, we would not have been able to get some of those people into negotiations. We would not be marking what is a satisfactory day in the history of Northern Ireland today."

In other words, the terrorists were defeated by tough action, saw they couldn't win, and thus had to change their approach. Of course, in the Israel-Palestinian case, there has been no such attitude toward terrorism internationally. Hamas has been saved as the Gaza Strip's ruler thanks to Western action; the Palestinian side has not been forced to pay the price for violence and intransigence (rejecting Camp David and the Clinton plan, launching a second intifadah, continuing incitement, etc.) and thus has been had to give up the hope of total victory and belief that violence and intransigence could bring that about.

That's a key reason why the current talks will fail.

PA Arabs 'Augment' Water Supply, Israel Responds

Hillel Fendel

Over 200 Arab pirate connections to Israel’s main water lines, siphoning off water to PA Arabs who do not pay, have been detached in a joint police-Mekorot action.

Mekorot Water Company workers, under close police protection, have completed an operation disconnecting 230 pirate Arab connections to Israel’s main water lines. The connections siphoned off much-needed water for the benefit of Palestinian Authority Arabs, who thus avoided paying for the commodity, an expensive one in Israel which has suffered a drought for several years and which charges consumers a surtax for excess water usage. In addition, the IDF’s Judea Region destroyed several small reservoirs in which stolen water was gathered in the Kiryat Arba-Hevron region.

Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman notes that the Oslo Agreements stipulate two separate water authorities and systems, one for Israel and one for the Palestinian Authority. "The reason they are stealing our water," says Huberman, "is not because they don't have enough; this is not one of the PA's demands. Rather, they simply want more - and if they can take it without paying, all the better."

On yet another front in the war against Palestinian Arab water thieves, police have begun laying ambushes, making several arrests and confiscating over 85,000 meters (53 miles) of piping used to pipe the stolen H2O to Arab fields and homes.

Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, who gave the order to take a stronger hand against the water thefts, expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation among the various bodies. “We plan to continue working to stop all water piracy, which affects the lives of all residents in the region," he added.

Residents of Kiryat Arba and neighboring communities, and Arabs as well, have suffered from lack of water in their faucets on numerous occasions, especially on especially hot days. The army has been frequently forced to deliver water to the towns. It has also been noticed, at the same time, that Arab fields along the roads of Judea appear to be extra green and thriving.

“Water theft is a grave phenomenon,” Landau said, “and it most manifest in Judea and Samaria. We have to deal with it seriously, especially in a country like ours where water is so precious.”

In a related item, the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel’s main water reservoir, is in the midst of its customary summer drop. It now stands at approximately 213.5 meters below sea level – slightly more than half a meter higher than it was last year at this time. However, it is also a half-meter below the level beyond which authorities strive not to let it drop.


AP: Who Is The Man Behind The Ground Zero Mosque?

Developer Of Community Center Has Lengthy Record, With Numerous Arrests Dating Back To 1990

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — As the Ground Zero mosque controversy continues to simmer, questions continue about the background of the man who wants to build the $100 million Islamic cultural and religious center.

Mosque developer Sharif El-Gamal has often been reluctant to answer questions.

After he won the right to tear down the 152-year-old building blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks, El-Gamal got defensive when asked about the mosque by CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer. “It’s a community center, if you call it a community center, we would talk,” El-Gamal said.

Kramer reports the developer’s reluctance to talk may have been related to his prior run-ins with the law.

His most recent arrest was in 2005 for assault on a man he met while working as a waiter at Serafina Restaurant, who sublet an apartment from his brother. He reportedly punched the man, breaking his nose and cheekbone and spit on him.

El-Gamal first said he didn’t hit the man, but arrest documents obtained by CBS 2 showed he later conceded “his face could have run into my hand.”

Records showed El-Gamal also had trouble coming up with the $15,000 settlement reached in 2008, and had to pay interest .
El-Gamal also has a number of other arrests on his record:

-In 1990, he was arrested in Nassau County and pled guilty to disorderly conduct.

-In 1992, he pled guilty in Nassau to DWI and paid a $350 fine.

-In 1993, he pled guilty in Nassau to attempted petit larceny and paid a $100 fine.

-In 1994, arrested for disorderly conduct in Manhattan.

-In 1998, there was another Manhattan disorderly conduct arrest.

-In 1999, yet another Manhattan disorderly conduct arrest.

A potential problem for the mosque developer is a deposition he gave in the assault case in October 2007. When asked if he was ever convicted or pled guilty to a crime, El-Gamal replied “no.”

Lately, he has been trying to resurrect his image, sitting down for a lengthy 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley.

When Pelley asked if it occurred to him that putting a project so close to Ground Zero would heighten tensions, El-Gamal replied “not at all.”

“I did not hold myself or my faith accountable for the tragedy,” El-Gamal said.

El-Gamal also owes over $227,000 in unpaid real estate taxes and a spokesman for the Department of Finance said interest will be added for each and every day its unpaid.

Another question surrounding the debate is whether the Muslim cleric of the mosque — Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — knew about El-Gamal’s criminal background and unpaid taxes before partnering with him.

El-Gamal refused repeated requests from CBS 2 Monday to comment on the story.

The Long History of Anti-Semitism in Muslim Lands

Robert Fulford (National Post - Canada)

* One of the 2002 Bali bombers, Amrozi bin Nurhasin, on trial in an Indonesian courtroom and headed toward execution, shouted out the message he wanted his crime to convey: "Jews: Remember Khaibar. The army of Muhammad is coming back to defeat you." # This was his explanation of the murder of 202 people eight years ago. Of those who died, 88 were Australians, 38 Indonesians, 24 British. None were Jews. So what was Amrozi, a Java-born Indonesian, raving about?
# Martin Gilbert, the author of some 80 books, including the official biography of Winston Churchill, explains Amrozi's meaning at the start of his alarming chronicle, In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands, published this week.
# Amrozi was remembering an event 1,375 years in the past, when Muhammad attacked Jewish farmers living in the oasis community of Khaibar, in what is now Saudi Arabia. More than 600 Jews were killed and the survivors lost all their property and had to pledge half of their future crops to Muhammad.
# In the 20th century, Arab hostility to Jews took an ugly turn. Some claim that the new state of Israel "caused" the trouble. But well before Israel's creation in 1948, Arabs were identifying Jews as enemies.
# In 1910, in the now-Iranian city of Shiraz, mobs robbed and destroyed 5,000 Jewish homes, with the encouragement of soldiers. In 1922, in Yemen, an old decree permitting the forcible conversion of Jewish orphans to Islam was reintroduced.
# The number of Jews displaced by the Arabs in the 20th century roughly equals the number of Palestinians displaced by Israel. But the plight of the Palestinians has received several hundred times as much publicity. One reason is the constant propaganda from Muslim states and their admirers in the West. Another is that many Jews, unlike Palestinians, don't want to be called refugees.
Thanks Daily Alert

Islamist Aggressors Are Really the Victims

by Phyllis Chesler

Things are getting ugly and more surreal far more swiftly than anyone thought possible.

Just today, roving male vigilante squads are menacing women in Chechnya for not wearing headscarves during Ramadan; they are attacking women verbally, punching them, spraying them with paintballs, and taunting them with automatic rifles. So much for those who insist that wearing a headscarf or a face veil are free “choices” and have no consequences for those who do not exercise the same “choice.”

Is this the same Russian province that was once ruled by Catherine the Great, the woman who sought to emulate French and European Enlightenment values? Is this even the same bloody Russia that once sought to elevate women, however drearily, into the Soviet Party, the Russia in which women became tractor drivers, factory forewomen, doctors, lawyers, high-level apparachniks, engineers, magnificent ballet stars and athletes?

I think not.

The only way to keep nationalist primitivism down is to oppose it with an even more chilling centralized force—at least, that’s what Stalin thought. The cost was far too great in human lives and suffering. Yet, here is what’s waiting under the rock, at the other side of history.

This problem is not confined to regions which border Afghanistan, Iran, and India.

Childhood for Muslims is being rapidly “Talibanized,” not in Afghanistan but in London where veteran British Muslim journalist, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, describes children who are now being beaten by British parents for engaging in any activity that their imam has described as “anti-Islamic.” This includes singing, listening to music, dancing, drawing, acting—as well as befriending infidel schoolmates.

In honor of the foremen who led the restoration work on a church in Lyon, France (or who wished to honor his religion), a gargoyle now bears the sign: “Allahu Akbar,” (Allah is Greatest), in French and Arabic. The Church prelates do not see this as a provocation or an insult and are not protesting.

Wonder how something like that would go over in Mecca? Let’s say, if we carved a sign above the Ka’aba which read: “The Jewish God is Great” or “The Christian God is Great”?
Women are veiling all over Western and Northern Europe, the continent is, in part, beginning to look like the Middle East or North Africa. European women, like my friend and colleague, Carol Gould, are, indeed, invited to appear on Iranian and Arabic television channels, often to debate angry mullahs—but only if they don headscarves, not otherwise.

When westerners protest this course of events, they are demonized as “Islamophobes” and “racists.” This means, that any resistance to Islamification is first shamed and slandered. If that doesn’t work, physical intimidation and lawsuits follow. The media, at least in the West, mainly takes the Islamist side (even against all those Muslims who genuinely wish to integrate into the West), and insists that such resistance is intolerant, prejudiced, not in the best western tradition but rather, follows in the footsteps of the Ku Klux Klan or even the Nazi party.

Even George Orwell would be astounded.

But this is what is happening right now in the fight over the mosque near Ground Zero. Those who oppose it are being called “bigots,” “racists,” and madmen, at least in the mainstream media. Those who defend it are seen as enlightened, tolerant “victims” whose religious freedom has been impugned. Just yesterday, Daisy Khan, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s wife, claimed that the attacks have gone far beyond “Islamophobia” and are now in the realm of “discrimination against Jews.”

Next thing I expect to hear is that the “Zionists” are behind the discrimination against the “Jewish” Muslims.

Folks: Welcome to the Middle East.

I want to acknowledge the work of Esther at IslamInEurope as well the helpful communications from Carol Gould in London.

The Mosque Controversy

Thomas Sowell

The proposed mosque near where the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed, along with thousands of American lives, would be a 15-story middle finger to America.

It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious, so it is not surprising that the intelligentsia are out in force, decrying those who criticize this calculated insult. What may surprise some people is that the American taxpayer is currently financing a trip to the Middle East by the imam who is pushing this project, so that he can raise the money to build it. The State Department is subsidizing his travel.

The big talking point is that this is an issue about "religious freedom" and that Muslims have a "right" to build a mosque where they choose. But those who oppose this project are not claiming that there is no legal right to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.

If anybody did, it would be a matter for the courts to decide -- and they would undoubtedly say that it is not illegal to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center attack.

The intelligentsia and others who are wrapping themselves in the Constitution are fighting a phony war against a straw man. Why create a false issue, except to evade the real issue?

Our betters are telling us that we need to be more "tolerant" and more "sensitive" to the feelings of Muslims. But if we are supposed to be sensitive to Muslims, why are Muslims not supposed to be sensitive to the feelings of millions of Americans, for whom 9/11 was the biggest national trauma since Pearl Harbor?

It would not be illegal for Japanese Americans to build a massive shinto shrine next to Pearl Harbor. But, in all these years, they have never sought to do it.

When Catholic authorities in Poland were planning to build an institution for nuns, years ago, and someone pointed out that it would be near the site of a concentration camp that carried out genocide, the Pope intervened to stop it.

He didn't say that the Catholic Church had a legal right to build there, as it undoubtedly did. Instead, he respected the painful feelings of other people. And he certainly did not denounce those who called attention to the concentration camp.

There is no question that Muslims have a right to build a mosque where they chose to. The real question is why they chose that particular location, in a country that covers more than 3 million square miles.

If we all did everything that we have a legal right to do, we could not even survive as individuals, much less as a society. So the question is whether those who are planning a Ground Zero mosque want to be part of American society or just to see how much they can get away with in American society?

Can anyone in his right mind believe that this was intended to show solidarity with Americans, rather than solidarity with those who attacked America? Does anyone imagine that the Middle East nations, including Iran, from whom financial contributions will be solicited, want to promote reconciliation between Americans and Muslims?

That the President of the United States has joined the chorus of those calling the Ground Zero mosque a religious freedom issue tells us a lot about the moral dry rot that is undermining this country from within.

In this, as in other things, Barack Obama is not so much the cause of our decline but the culmination of it. He had many predecessors and many contemporaries who represent the same mindset and the same malaise.

There are people for whom moral preening has become a way of life. They are out in force denouncing critics of the Ground Zero mosque.

There are others for whom a citizen of the world affectation puts them one-up on those of us who are grateful to be Americans, and to enjoy a freedom that is all too rare in other countries around the world, even at this late date in human history.

They think the United States is somehow on trial, and needs to prove itself to others by bending over backwards. But bending over backwards does not win friends. It loses respect, including self-respect.

"Moderate Muslims" threaten to turn "radical" if they get angry

Jihad Watch

A very revealing AP puff piece on the horrors that "moderate" Muslims are supposedly experiencing in America today. "NYC mosque debate will shape American Islam," by Rachel Zoll for AP, August 29 (thanks to all who sent this in): NEW YORK - Adnan Zulfiqar, a graduate student, former U.S. Senate aide and American-born son of Pakistani immigrants, will soon give the first khutbah, or sermon, of the fall semester at the University of Pennsylvania. His topic has presented itself in the daily headlines and blog posts over the disputed mosque near ground zero.

What else could he choose, he says, after a summer remembered not for its reasoned debate, but for epithets, smears, even violence?

And whose fault is that, exactly? Mosque supporters have consistently smeared mosque opponents as racists, bigots, hatemongers, "Islamophobes" -- the usual array of charges levied at those who are leading the fight to raise awareness of the jihad and Islamic supremacism, but it was a new thing to see these charges levied promiscuously at the 70% of Americans who oppose the mosque.

As he writes, Zulfiqar frets over the potential fallout and what he and other Muslim leaders can do about it. Will young Muslims conclude they are second-class citizens in the U.S. now and always?

No one, of course, is saying the Muslims are or should be second-class citizens in the U.S. We have raised legitimate questions about the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's support for Sharia and Hamas, and about the symbolism of the Ground Zero mosque as a triumphal mosque. None of this has anything to do with Muslims being second-class citizens. It is simply asking that they accord to non-Muslims the consideration and respect that they demand for themselves. It is asking that they not engage in activity that amounts to sedition, in working to replace the Constitution with a system of laws that would deny basic liberties, and asking law enforcement and government authorities to be cognizant of the nature of Sharia and how it is at variance with those liberties.

"They're already struggling to balance, `I'm American, I'm Muslim,' and their ethnic heritage. It's very disconcerting," said Zulfiqar, 32, who worked for former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, a Georgia Democrat, and now serves Penn's campus ministry. "A controversy like this can make them radical or become more conservative in how they look at things or how they fit into the American picture."...

Threat noted. But why would it do that? Islamic supremacists and Leftists know: no matter how much they lie about the words, deeds, and positions on various questions of mosque opponents, and no matter how much they defame and smear them, those who oppose the mosque are never, never going to strap bombs on themselves and blow themselves up at the next hand-wringing meeting about "Islamophobia." In other words, some people, no matter how hard you push them, never become "radicalized." Why is it that adherents of the Religion of Peace who supposedly reject the version of Islam of Al-Qaeda and its ilk as a twisting and hijacking of their peaceful religion might nevertheless adopt that version of Islam as their own if they believe that some people are being mean to them?

Eboo Patel, an American Muslim leader and founder of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago nonprofit that promotes community service and religious pluralism, said Muslims are unfortunately experiencing what all immigrant groups endured in the U.S. before they were fully accepted as American. Brandeis University historian Jonathan D. Sarna has noted that Jews faced a similar backlash into the 1800s when they tried to build synagogues, which were once banned in New York....

Yes, yes, of course. You may recall from the histories of those days that Jews in New York loudly proclaimed that they were there to take over, and numerous Jews in New York engaged in terror plotting. You remember the Fort Hood jihad shooting, the Arkansas recruiting center jihad shooting, the Christmas underwear bomb jihad attempt, the Times Square jihad car bomb attempt, the Fort Dix jihad plot, the North Carolina jihad plot, the Seattle jihad shooting, the JFK Airport jihad plot, and on and on. No, wait! Those weren't plots by 19th-century Jews in New York, but by 21st-century Muslims all over the U.S.! My mistake!

And no, the point is not that all Muslims in America are responsible for these and other jihad plots. The point is that when the Ground Zero imam and so many other Muslim leaders support Sharia, refuse to condemn Hamas and/or other jihad terror groups, and are manifestly dishonest, it makes the demand that Americans assume that they are different from the Muslims who were responsible for those jihad plots seem like sheer bullying, and a refusal to engage the legitimate concerns that people have about Sharia and the intentions of the Ground Zero mosque organizers.

Patel believes American Muslims are on the same difficult but inevitable path toward integration.

"I'm not saying this is going to be happy," Patel said. "But I'm extremely optimistic."

Yet, the overwhelming feeling is that the controversy has caused widespread damage that will linger for years.

No, all the jihad terror, all the supremacist declarations, all the lies and all the smears have caused widespread damage that will linger for years. And the Muslim advocacy groups behind the lies and smears, such as CAIR, just don't care about that damage -- because they can turn around after causing it and exploit any resulting "backlash" to reinforce their claim to privileged victim status.

American Muslim leaders say the furor has emboldened opposition groups to resist new mosques around the country, at a time when there aren't enough mosques or Islamic schools to serve the community....

Actually there are large mosques being built all over, for Muslim communities that have neither the numbers nor the money to sustain them. And that, too, raises questions that if you dare to ask, you're accused of "Islamophobia."

U.S. Muslims who have championed democracy and religious tolerance question what they've accomplished. If the "extremist" label can be hung on someone as apparently liberal as the imam at the center of the outcry, Feisal Abdul Rauf, then any Muslim could come under attack. Feisal supports women's rights, human rights and interfaith outreach.

Oh, and Hamas.

"The joke is on moderate Muslims," said Muqtedar Khan, a University of Delaware political scientist and author of "American Muslims, Bridging Faith and Freedom." "What's the point if you're going to be treated the same way as a radical? If I get into trouble are they going to treat me like I'm a supporter of al-Qaeda?"...

What's the point? Did he really ask that? How about this for a point: Muslims should not support Al-Qaeda because of human decency. Because of respect for human life. Because of the importance of human rights. Because the "radicals" are perpetrating great evil, murdering innocent people and working for the subjugation of women and non-Muslims, and the extinguishing of the freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience. And apparently all that is just fine with Muqtedar Khan, if you make him angry.

That's "moderation"?

The Media Loses Readers and Viewers to its Own Radicalism

Daniel Greenfield

Whether it's Newsweek being sold to the husband of a Democratic congresswoman for a dollar, or ABC deciding to turn This Week into a BBC program by turning over to Christiane Amanpour, last week the dying media itself provided us with two examples of why it's dying. By choosing radicalism over readers, the media continues narrowing its own readership and viewership, pursuing ideological purity, not only over integrity, but even over its own profits and future viability. Take ABC's news division, which has always been notorious for its political radicalism and distaste for the average American viewer. Whether it was Peter Jennings comparing American voters to "a nation two-year olds" throwing a tantrum for voting in a Republican congress in 1994 (expect this metaphor to make a comeback after these midterm elections) or Ted Koppel turning the names of dead servicemen into an anti-war statement (Koppel was the alternative candidate to take over This Week), this has been the ABC way. But turning over This Week to Christiane Amanpour is part of the growing blend of ABC News and the BBC.

The question though is who is Christiane Amanpour meant to appeal to? To viewers who wanted another foreign talking head snootily reading the news at them, not to them. Who were desperately longing for an ABC News on air personality sympathetic to Islamic terrorists? And why would those people even bother with ABC News, when they already have the BBC.

The problem with the American media is that it doesn't speak to Americans. That's why FOX News is successful, and CNN is in the basement. Network news exists underwritten by medication and mutual fund commercials, and even so it's losing money. ABC News is making severe cutbacks even while cutting Amanpour a 2 million dollar paycheck for a show hardly anyone watches anymore. And despite investing in a splashy media rollout for the Amanpour branded This Week, she finished a distant third, well behind Meet the Press. While viewers normally tune in to see a new host, the addition of Amanpour couldn't even compete with CBS or NBC's own similarly decaying programs on the day of her own debut.

The left is furiously blasting Washington Post TV Critic Tom Shales for stating what was obvious to everyone, that Amanpour is out of place, completely clueless about US politics and insists on internationalizing domestic issues. But shooting the messenger won't save Amanpour. Her hiring is only the latest manifestation of a media that is too radicalized to save itself. Bringing in a personality from the sinking ship that is CNN was obviously a bad idea on commercial grounds alone. Amanpour left CNN, for the same reason that Campbell Brown did. And ABC News taking Amanpour in, demonstrates that they share CNN's bad judgment.

Unlike ABC producers, Americans are not interested in an "outsider's perspective" on American politics. They can get that from the White House. Threatening to stab Tom Shales with a knife won't change that either. Amanpour's promise to "open a window on the world" for what she imagines are parochial American viewers is condescending even to those who agree with her. It's grating to those who don't. Because Amanpour's window is the parochial European left-wing window from which you can see Brussels, but not Iowa, a stifling world that is upper class in its arrogance, and low class in its empathy for terrorists. ABC News producers may be determined to bring that tiny dollhouse of a world to Americans, but who exactly is supposed to underwrite this project? The BBC and its outrageous salaries are funded by taxpayers. ABC has to pay its own way.

And that is why the media is doomed. By putting politics over profitability, the media left alienated viewers and readers exactly during the critical transition period when it needed them most. And the worse its fortunes grow, the more radical its politics have become.

Ruling out NewsMax as a buyer, while selling Newsweek to the husband of a Democratic congresswoman for a dollar (still more than it's worth) will allow it to keep grinding along for a time as a source of lifestyle tips and left wing rants. It is however only a matter of delaying the inevitable. The media cannot survive as a pity project. Not while it is alienating its remaining viewers and readers. And even a government bailout cannot sustain a financially unsustainable industry. And finally there are only so many jobs available at PBS and NPR.

When the left turned magazines, newspapers and TV news into its own bully pulpit, they helped drive away consumers, while locking up those same publications and broadcasts into a liberal ghetto, that was still not liberal enough for them. As print publications increasingly turn their websites into masses of blogs, it becomes hard to tell the difference between Time Magazine, Foreign Policy and the New York Times-- and the Huffington Post and Daily Kos. All of them have angry left wing bloggers denouncing Republicans, America and Israel. The difference is that the official media outlets have more prominent names like Joe Klein or Robert Mackey blogging for them.

The Journalist scandal is the tip of the iceberg that shows just how thin the line between the press and the policies that they advocate really is. But that's not news to anyone. The liberal media is not some right wing talking point, poll after poll shows most of people who read newspapers and watch the news have come to that conclusion on their own. Because while the media elite may sneer at them, the public knows quite well what they stand for. And the more the media goes left, the less the public trusts it. Not just Republicans, but Democrats too. Because bias is bias, even when it does lean your way, it reduces the credibility of its purveyors as an information source. And the more they lose their audience, because the right tunes out and the left gets bored agreeing all the time, and heads to MSNBC in search of some red tofu.

Lenin called on Communists to seize the telegraph offices, telephone stations and post offices in order to control the means of communication. The American left has seized the means of cultural communication, hijacking the media, the educational system and entertainment, and turning them into vehicles for their brand of political indoctrination. And they've managed to badly devalue all three. The American educational system is a shell of what it used to be, the media is imploding and the entertainment industry keeps hitting new lows. Just as in the USSR and Venezuela and everywhere else, what the radical left controls, it also destroys.

The left's hijacking of American culture has turned institutions into rags and rubble, and it will only get worse. Because the left does not know when to stop. Does not understand that it should stop. That is why left wing revolutions that do succeed, eventually culminate in multiple levels of purges that exterminate many of the original revolutionaries, or send them off to fight and die somewhere else, turning them into convenient martyrs who look good on blood-red T-shirts.

Obama's vision of the media was as purveyors of his talking points. To that end he kept it at arms length, even while using it non-stop to promote himself. By turning the media into his publicists, he helped accelerate a rapid slide that had already been under way, ending any real distinction between news and celebrity news, between opinion and reporting, and between the liberal media and the liberal government. And when Ezra Klein tried to occasionally draw a line between themselves and the politicians they cover, it was a line that was no longer there anymore, because the media had found its mission in the advocacy of liberal domestic and international policies, of convincing the public that their political way was best. How many lines could be crossed in the name of that advocacy was by this point a subjective matter, a question of what individual members of the press were comfortable with. while still retaining the illusion of their independence.

When it came to a showdown between the principles of journalism and the principles of liberalism-- journalism never stood a chance. And all that was left was shrill political advocacy, propaganda if you will. Numerous stories praising their politicians and their cultural figures. Numerous other stories damning opposition politicians and elements of culture that displeased them. And the costs to the nation were high. The same media that did everything possible to destroy McCain and Palin, also portrayed Obama as a visionary leader, even though he had barely nailed down 100 days in the Senate before running for President.

The tripled deficit, the economic and political disasters, the greed, corruption and misrule can all be laid at the media's door. And plenty of people are doing just that. The media fervently championed an unqualified candidate, lied about him and his opponents, and then went on lying about his policies and their consequences. They sold the public a bill of goods, and that same public will also hold them responsible. When the media tore up any distance between themselves and the story, they became the story. Jornolist was the story of how the story was made, of how the lies were told and the talking points developed. And there will be more like it.

The disconnect between those who set the agenda and those who cash the checks, makes it so that the owners of media corporations will suffer for the actions of employees who care more about pushing their point of view, than about the survival of their medium. And the readers and viewers have more incentive than ever to go elsewhere, because the media monopoly is only over.
For more click here

FYI: Statement on US Tax-Exempt Organizations’ Funding of Settlement Activity

Amy Spitalnick

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement today regarding American charitable organizations’ fundraising to support settlement activity in the occupied West Bank:

J Street calls on the United States Treasury Department and relevant Congressional bodies to launch thorough investigations into whether or not the organizations funding settlement activities on the West Bank named in today’s New York Times report have broken the law. The alleged links between the named organizations and former officials and donors associated with far-right Jewish groups that are classified as terrorist organizations by the State Department provide a reasonable starting point for an investigation.

J Street reiterates our ongoing concern over the intention and impact of American organizations and individuals that fundraise for settlement activity over the Green Line, including for many outposts that even the Israeli government considers illegal. Ongoing settlement construction is diminishing the chances of a two-state solution and endangering Israel’s very future as a Jewish, democratic home. Funding such activity is both irresponsible and provocative.

This entry was posted on Tuesd

Comment: You still believe J-Street is pro-Israel? You are still naive enough to believe Obama and J-Street are not in collaboration with one another? If you do not agree with the current Administration's policy re: Israel you are subject to IRS investigation-Folks, this is illegal, malpractice use of IRS and fundamentally un-American. And you still believe?


Tuesday August 31,2010
By Donna Bowater

THE world’s leading climate change body has been accused of losing credibility after a damning report into its research practices.

A high-level inquiry into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found there was “little evidence” for its claims about global warming.

It also said the panel had emphasised the negative impacts of climate change and made “substantive findings” based on little proof. The review by the InterAcademy Council (IAC) was launched after the IPCC’s hugely embarrassing 2007 benchmark climate change report, which contained exaggerated and false claims that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035.

The panel was forced to admit its key claim in support of global warming was lifted from a 1999 magazine article. The report was based on an interview with a little-known Indian scientist who has since said his views were “speculation” and not backed by research.

Independent climate scientist Peter Taylor said last night: “The IPCC’s credibility has been deeply dented and something has to be done. It can’t just be a matter of adjusting the practices. They have got to look at what are the consequences of having got it wrong in terms of what the public think is going on. Admitting that it needs to reform means something has gone wrong and they really do need to look at the science.”

Climate change sceptic David Holland, who challenged leading climate change scientists at the University of East Anglia to disclose their research, said: “The panel is definitely not fit for purpose. What the IAC has said is substantial changes need to be made.”

The IAC, which comprises the world’s top science academies including the UK’s Royal Society, made recommendations to the IPCC to “enhance its credibility and independence” after the Himalayan glaciers report, which severely damaged the reputation of climate science.

It condemned the panel – set up by the UN to ensure world leaders had the best scientific advice on climate change – for its “slow and inadequate response” after the damaging errors emerged.

Among the blunders in the 2007 report were claims that 55 per cent of the Netherlands was below sea level when the figure is 26 per cent.

It also claimed that water supplies for between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa will be at risk by 2020 due to climate change, but the real range is between 90 and 220 million.

The claim that glaciers would melt by 2035 was also rejected.

Professor Julian Dowdeswell of Cambridge University said: “The average glacier is 1,000ft thick so to melt one at 15ft a year would take 60 years. That is faster than anything we are seeing now so the idea of losing it all by 2035 is unrealistic.”

In yesterday’s report, the IAC said: “The IPCC needs to reform its management structure and strengthen its procedures to handle ever larger and increasingly complex climate assessments as well as the more intense public scrutiny coming from a world grappling with how to respond to climate change.”

The review also cast doubt on the future of IPCC chairman Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

Earlier this year, the Daily Express reported how he had no climate science qualifications but held a PhD in economics and was a former railway engineer.

Dr Pachauri has been accused of a conflict of interest, which he denies, after it emerged that he has business interests attracting millions of pounds in funding. One, the Energy Research Institute, is set to receive up to £10million in grants from taxpayers over the next five years.

Speaking after the review was released yesterday, Dr Pachauri said: “We have the highest confidence in the science behind our assessments.

“The scientific community agrees that climate change is real. Greenhouse gases have increased as a result of human activities and now far exceed pre-industrial values.”

Education secretary urged his employees to attend Sharpton's rally

Lisa Gartner
Examiner Staff Writer

A Department of Education e-mail sent Wednesday encouraged workers to join Education Secretary Arne Duncan

President Obama's top education official urged government employees to attend a rally that the Rev. Al Sharpton organized to counter a larger conservative event on the Mal

"ED staff are invited to join Secretary Arne Duncan, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other leaders on Saturday, Aug. 28, for the 'Reclaim the Dream' rally and march," began an internal e-mail sent to more than 4,000 employees of the Department of Education on Wednesday.

Sharpton created the event after Glenn Beck announced a massive Tea Party "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where King spoke in 1963.

The Washington Examiner learned of the e-mail from a Department of Education employee who felt uncomfortable with Duncan's request.

Although the e-mail does not violate the Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from participating in political campaigns, Education Department workers should feel uneasy, said David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute.

"It sends a signal that activity on behalf of one side of a political debate is expected within a department. It's highly inappropriate ... even in the absence of a direct threat," Boaz said. "If we think of a Bush cabinet official sending an e-mail to civil servants asking them to attend a Glenn Beck rally, there would be a lot of outrage over that."

Russ Whitehurst, director of the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution's Brown Center of Education Policy, said nothing like this happened when he was a Department of Education program director from 2001 to 2008: "Only political appointees would have been made aware of such an event and encouraged to attend."

Officially, Sharpton's event commemorated the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

"[Conservatives] think we showed up [to vote for Barack Obama] in 2008 and that we won't show up again. But we know how to sucker-punch, and we're coming out again in 2010," Sharpton said.

Obama avoided comment on Saturday's dueling rallies, but Duncan took the podium alongside Sharpton and 30 other speakers on the football field of Dunbar High School. Thousands of mostly blacks listened -- and a lone man booed -- as Duncan called education "the civil rights issue of our generation."

"Educators, we have to stop thinking of [poor-performing children] as other people's children," he said.

Speakers at the Sharpton rally praised Obama and took jabs at the Tea Party.

"Dr. King gave us a miracle in 2008. He gave us the first African-American president, and we must let them know today that we support [Obama]," said John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said Beck's rally "would change nothing. ... We will move right over you."

Education Department spokeswoman Sandra Abrevaya defended Duncan's decision. "This was a back-to-school event," she said.

Duncan was chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools for seven years before Obama nominated him in December 2008.


Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Education-secretary-urged-his-employees-to-go-to-Sharpton_s-rally-651280-101839293.html#ixzz0y9g3M2K5

Iran's Shadow over Unrest in Bahrain

Simon Henderson

For nearly two weeks, the Persian Gulf island state of Bahrain has experienced near-daily disturbances following government arrests of opposition activists from the majority Shiite community. The timing of the arrests seemed geared toward preempting trouble in advance of the scheduled October 23 parliamentary and municipal elections, which minority Sunni parties and candidates are currently projected to win. The street violence and other incidents are of particular concern to the United States because Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command, whose mission is to "deter and counter disruptive countries" -- a wording likely aimed at Iran, which claimed the island as its territory prior to 1970. Recent Violence

The most serious incident reported so far was an August 20 attack on an electric power installation. According to an official statement, the resultant outage "affected large areas," although power was reportedly restored within two hours. Other incidents have involved individuals setting tires alight, throwing Molotov cocktails, and attacking a pro-government newspaper editor.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa vowed to stamp out the "fire of terrorism" during a visit to a Shiite community where, according to a local newspaper, he urged the inhabitants "to steer their children away from vandalism." Meanwhile, the American embassy has been issuing regular warnings to U.S. citizens, notifying them of planned demonstrations and urging them to avoid even central parts of the capital, Manama, at certain times.

Sectarian Divisions

Bahrain was the first of the ultramodern ministates to emerge in the Gulf region, a product of the area's growing oil revenues, a reputation as a trading and financial center, and a welcoming attitude toward visitors. Like Dubai, Bahrain has also established itself as a popular and expanding tourism destination, particularly for Saudis, who can reach it by driving across a sixteen-mile long causeway.

But the openness of Bahraini society is less of a boon for the country's Shiite majority, many of whom feel politically and economically marginalized. The government seems to regard them as untrustworthy, excluding them from military and police recruitment efforts. Shiites are particularly resentful over the alleged hiring of security forces from abroad, who tend to deal with demonstrators more harshly than native Bahrainis might. These foreign Sunni recruits are also fast-tracked for citizenship, reducing the numerical dominance of Bahraini Shiites.

The October elections will almost certainly see the Shiite Wafaq Party repeat its 2006 feat of emerging as the largest faction, but the parliament will nevertheless be Sunni-dominated -- the electoral districts are drawn in a manner that favors Sunni candidates. In any case, the elected lower house and appointed upper house have only limited influence -- most of the power will remain in the hands of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and other members of the ruling family, who are entrenched in the most important cabinet positions (e.g., the king's uncle, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, has been prime minister for the past thirty-nine years, a world record).

Iran's "Fourteenth Province"?

From Bahrain's perspective, Iran -- only 150 miles across the Gulf -- represents a constant threat. Tehran formally renounced its long-standing historical claim on the island during the shah's rule, after a UN report found that the majority of Bahrainis favored independence. But politicians in Tehran still sometimes refer to the island as Iran's fourteenth province.

Bahrain is particularly concerned about a nuclear-augmented Iranian hegemony in the region. In 2007, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa directly accused Tehran of developing nuclear weapons. Maintaining a close relationship with Washington and hosting the Fifth Fleet are clear (though unstated) strategies for deterring any hostile intent from Iran. Officially, Manama's stance is more nuanced: last weekend, Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa stated that Bahrain would not allow itself to be used as a staging ground for attacks on Iran or other countries.


Among the first activists to be arrested this month was the wheelchair-bound Abduljalil al-Singace, a British-educated engineering professor at the University of Bahrain who had just returned from London after a speaking engagement on human rights. Previously, in October 2008, al-Singace had visited Washington to campaign on the same subject, addressing a meeting chaired by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA). And in June 2009, he wrote in the New York Times: "When President Obama addresses the Muslim world tomorrow [referring to the June 4 Cairo speech], I have one main request: Be careful when you use the words 'change,' 'dream,' and 'democracy.' Those things don't come so easily to us.... It would be good if Mr. Obama vowed to support democracy and human rights. But he should talk about these ideals only if he is willing to help us fulfill them."

According to the official Bahraini news agency, al-Singace and others were accused of belonging to a network that was threatening "Bahrain's stability, civil peace and endangering the lives and property of the innocent [through] incitement to violence and terrorist acts." A lawyer representing several of the detainees indicated that more than sixty people have been arrested over the past ten days and remain in undisclosed locations without access to their families or lawyers.

Although al-Singace and others reject participation in what they regard as Bahrain's flawed political system, their detention has affected the country's mainstream Shiite politics. On August 21, Sheikh Ali Salman, leader of the Shiite parliamentary bloc, warned, "The way the ongoing security campaign has been handled and the rights violation that accompanied it has in one week destroyed ten years of progress in this country." During the 1990s, more than 30 died and 1,000 were arrested in bouts of recurring violence.

Neighbors' Concerns

Bahrain's largest neighbor, Saudi Arabia, likely supports the security crackdown. Riyadh is habitually concerned about Iranian influence among its own Shiite population, which forms a local majority in the oil-rich eastern province along the Gulf coast. In fact, the causeway linking the two countries was built not only to provide a commercial link, but also to permit the swift Saudi reinforcement of Bahrain's security forces.

Bahrain's other close neighbor, Qatar, tends to be less helpful to Manama and more conciliatory to Tehran. For example, it refuses to supply gas to Bahrain, forcing Manama to reluctantly approach Iran on the matter. A simmering territorial dispute over offshore islands was settled in Bahrain's favor in 2001, but difficulties persist; earlier this month, Qatar arrested a group of Bahrainis for allegedly fishing in its waters, and a proposed causeway joining the two countries was put on hold in June.

Challenges to U.S. Policy

Because Washington's main regional concern is persuading Iran to give up its nuclear weapon ambitions, working with Gulf allies such as Bahrain remains a priority. The U.S. naval facility on the island (the word "base" is officially avoided) is being expanded so that major ships can dock rather than having to anchor offshore. In addition, the airfield on the island of Muharraq, across a narrow strip of water from the capital, has hosted U.S. and other Western military aircraft during regional crises over the past decade. (The field also serves as Bahrain's international airport; the country's main military air base is located to the south.)

Regional analysts and diplomats have depicted the new arrests not as a campaign against a specific insurgent plot, but rather as part of Manama's effort to ensure peaceful elections in October, with the officially desired result. As such, the tactic seems clumsy, potentially provoking another poll boycott by the Wafaq Party (as in 2002) and fomenting greater resentment among the Shiite community.

Manama's instinct appears to involve reminding the Shiite community that, in the words of Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, it "enjoys great support from His Majesty [the king]," citing key development projects that provide job opportunities for Shiite job seekers. Bahrain no longer exports crude oil, however, so the government's ability to fund such projects might be impaired -- especially in light of this week's announcement by Moody's that the island's sovereign credit rating was being lowered.

Given the current unrest and past outbursts of violent anti-American protests (e.g., in 2002 and 2003), Washington should not take Bahrain's usual tranquility for granted. Going forward, it should offer quiet advice to help Manama calm the ongoing tension and avoid escalation. After all, the latter scenario could turn the island's concerns about Iranian interference into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute.

Egypt in Transition: Presidential Succession and U.S. Policy

J. Scott Carpenter

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's recent health scares -- including major surgery in Germany in March -- have raised critical questions regarding the future of one of America's most important allies. In the event of his death, how would his successor be chosen, and who would it most likely be? Will the next president respect core U.S interests or challenge them? And how would the United States advance those interests in post-Mubarak Egypt? To reflect on these questions, The Washington Institute's Project Fikra recently brought together leading scholars, former senior U.S. diplomats, and other officials and activists for an off-the-record discussion on what to expect from Egyptian succession. Much of this PolicyWatch is based on that discussion.

A Constitutional Shoo-In for Gamal?
Over the past five years, Egypt's constitution has been amended to both change the way the president is elected and limit who may become a candidate. A detailed description of this constitutional evolution will be discussed in a separate Policy Note, but the prevailing assumption in both Washington and Cairo has been that the changes would smooth the way for a transition in which Gamal Mubarak wins the presidency in rigged elections following his father's death. Increasingly, however, Egyptian public opposition to that idea, along with the "ElBaradei phenomenon," is challenging that assumption.

Because Egyptians see themselves living in a country governed by law (if not by rule of law), they are likely to follow the constitutional technicalities. Yet if elites within and surrounding the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) decide to anoint a candidate other than Gamal, they are fully capable of manipulating the legal framework to ensure that their man succeeds.

The broader question of whether President Mubarak intends for his son to take over remains surprisingly uncertain. Analytically, the trajectory of constitutional and other legal and political developments implies that he does in fact want Gamal to replace him. Yet his failure to clearly endorse that outcome has contributed to growing uncertainty about his true preferences. Moreover, some well-informed observers believe that such an endorsement would be Gamal's only chance of winning the post.

Although caution is indeed warranted when it comes to assessing Gamal's prospects, it should also be noted that the current legal, organizational, and institutional circumstances certainly favor him as the most likely successor. He has a key leadership position within the NDP and access to its vast machinery and resources, as well as the Mubarak family name. Should Hosni eventually come to terms with his mortality and -- as King Hussein of Jordan did immediately prior to his death -- decide to act vigorously on his son's behalf, he might yet engineer the first father-son transition in Egypt since King Farouk's succession from Fouad.

If Not Gamal, Who?
Assuming that Egypt continues to follow constitutional processes but bypasses Gamal, who could become the next president? One fact is clear: the new amendments ensure a limited pool of candidates and create an almost insurmountable obstacle for independents. This includes a broad range of personalities that the ruling party currently frowns upon, such as Mohamed ElBaradei, Ayman Nour, and any candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood.

The most frequently suggested establishment names come from within the current NDP leadership, including Secretary-General Safwat al-Sharif and Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif. Among non-NDP party leaders, possible contenders include El Sayed El Badawy, current head of the Wafd Party, as well as Rifaat Said, head of the Tagammua Party.

Other establishment candidates have been suggested outside the party leaderships. Omar Suleiman, the current head of Egyptian intelligence, is the favorite for many in Cairo (and Washington) who prefer backrooms and gray hair to Gamal's youth and inexperience. Ahmed Shafiq, current minister for civil aviation and former commander of the Egyptian air force, is credited with successfully building Cairo's new international airport. Featured prominently in an April 2010 al-Dustour article, he is reportedly close to President Mubarak, himself an air force man. Defense Minister Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, reportedly chosen for the post by Mubarak because of his loyalty (and lack of political ambition), is a taciturn, unimaginative interlocutor for U.S. diplomats and has not been perceptibly active in Egypt's domestic politics. All of these men would have to run as "independents" to comply with the law and be supported by the NDP as such.

Aside from establishment candidates, it is difficult to envision how truly independent candidates such as ElBaradei would be able to run under the existing system. Such candidates must gather 250 signatures from members of parliament and/or local municipal councils, all of which are dominated by the NDP. Upcoming parliamentary elections may create an opening if ElBaradei joins the leadership of an existing party capable of winning at least one seat. And the public's desire for change may be another lever for ElBaradei to exploit. Yet his refusal so far to engage in retail politics and his recent decision to rely on the Muslim Brotherhood may preclude his candidacy, as the government is increasingly fearful about the latter connection.

Securing U.S. Interests during Transition
Although the identity of Mubarak's successor is uncertain, the next president in Cairo will likely appreciate Egypt's relationship with the United States, have had some contact with U.S. diplomats, and be insecure in his new role at first. This will create both opportunities and risks for the United States.

Citing American security interests, many within the so-called "realist" camp will be tempted to embrace any successor chosen by elites in the Egyptian establishment. But the United States also has an interest in seeing a peaceful transition that is consistent with both long-term American interests and the aspirations of the Egyptian people. Indeed, retaining a strong partnership with Egypt will be heavily contingent on the nature of the transition. Toward that end, Washington should reiterate early and often that it does not have a preferred candidate but expects the succession process to be open, transparent, and in accordance with international standards, with the people given a meaningful opportunity to participate in the choosing of their next leader. And if the transition is marked by violence or intimidation, the United States must be prepared to comment on it. The audience for America's message will be the Egyptian people as much as the new Egyptian leader.

Washington should also prepare for the possibility of a new president who seeks to bolster domestic legitimacy by adopting more populist foreign policies. This could be the case with an untested establishment candidate (e.g., Gamal Mubarak) or in the highly unlikely scenario that some outsider manages to win the post. In fact, ElBaradei hinted at such an approach during a recent Der Spiegel interview, suggesting that the permanent opening of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza would not be injurious to Egyptian security, and that the West's concerns about a nuclear Iran are overblown. This tack seems inspired by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man ElBaradei has praised as an "Arab hero." If the next president in Cairo adopts such populism, Egypt's chilly peace with Israel would become even more frigid.

In light of these challenges, the future transition will require deft U.S. diplomacy. On the one hand, Washington must publicly identify with the Egyptian people's political aspirations, while on the other hand ensuring the survival of the strategic partnership that has been so important to U.S. national security.

Egypt is at a crossroads. For three decades, President Mubarak has been a stabilizing force within both Egypt and U.S.-Egyptian relations -- so much so that domestic political development has been stunted. His passing will mark the end of an era, likely forcing his successor to search for a new basis of legitimacy at home and a stronger foundation for the bilateral partnership. Beginning with Mubarak's upcoming trip to Washington next week and continuing throughout the coming months, the United States has an opportunity to ensure that its policy is clearly understood by the people and ruling elite alike, so that America's position in Egypt after transition is at least as strong -- if not stronger -- than it is today.

J. Scott Carpenter is The Washington Institute's Keston Family fellow and director of Project Fikra: Defeating Extremism through the Power of Ideas.

"The World Trade Center Mosque and the Constitution,"

by Mark Helprin, in the Wall Street Journal.

"The plan to erect a mosque of major proportions in what would have been the shadow of the World Trade Center involves not just the indisputable constitutional rights that sanction it, but, providentially, others that may frustrate it. "Mosques have commemoratively been established upon the ruins or in the shells of the sacred buildings of other religions�most notably but not exclusively in Cordoba, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and India. When sited in this fashion they are monuments to victory, and the chief objection to this one is not to its existence but that it would be near the site of atrocities�not just one�closely associated with mosques because they were planned and at times celebrated in them.

"Building close to Ground Zero disregards the passions, grief and preferences not only of most of the families of September 11th but, because we are all the families of September 11th, those of the American people as well, even if not the whole of the American people. If the project is to promote moderate Islam, why have its sponsors so relentlessly, without the slightest compromise, insisted upon such a sensitive and inflammatory setting? That is not moderate. It is aggressively militant.

"Disregarding pleas to build it at a sufficient remove so as not to be linked to an abomination committed, widely praised, and throughout the world seldom condemned in the name of Islam, the militant proponents of the World Trade Center mosque are guilty of a poorly concealed provocation. They dare Americans to appear anti-Islamic and intolerant or just to roll over.

"...constitutionally...there is unquestionably a right to build...we have principles that we value highly and will not abandon. The difficulty is that the principles of equal treatment and freedom of religion have, so to speak, been taken hostage by the provocation. As in many hostage situations, the choice seems to be between injuring what we hold dear or accepting defeat. This, anyway, is how it has played out so far.

"The proponents of the mosque know that Americans will not and cannot betray our constitutional liberties. Knowing that we would not rip the foundation from the more than 200 years of our history that it underpins, they may imagine that they have achieved a kind of checkmate.

"Their knowledge of the Constitution, however, does not penetrate very far, and perhaps they are not as clever as they think. The Constitution is a marvelous document, and a reasonable interpretation of it means as well that no American can be forced to pour concrete. No American can be forced to deliver materials. No American can be forced to bid on a contract, to run conduit, dig a foundation, or join steel.

"And a reasonable interpretation of the Constitution means that the firemen's, police, and restaurant workers' unions, among others, and the families of the September 11th dead, and anyone who would protect, sympathize with and honor them, are free to assemble, protest and picket at the site of the mosque that under the Constitution is free to be built.

" reasonable interpretation of the Constitution means that no American can be forced to cross a picket line in violation of conscience or even of mere preference. Who, in all decency, would cross a picket line manned by those whose kin were slaughtered�by the thousands�so terribly nearby? And who in all decency would cross such a line manned by the firemen, police and other emergency personnel who know every day that they may be called upon to give their lives in a second act?

"Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, says of those who with heartbreaking bravery went into the towers: "We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting."

"Mr. Mayor, the firemen, the police, the EMTs and the paramedics who rushed into those buildings, many of them knowing that they would die there, did not do so to protect constitutional rights. They went often knowingly to their deaths to protect what the Constitution itself protects: people, flesh and blood, men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. Although you yourself may not know this, they did.

"The choice is not between abandoning them or abandoning the Constitution, for although the liberties the Constitution guarantees sometimes put us at a disadvantage even of self-preservation, they also make it possible for 300 million Americans to prevail�reasonably, peacefully, and within the limits of the law�against provocations such as this.

"They make it possible to prevent the construction of the mosque at this general location...not by force or decree but by argument, persuasion, and peaceable assembly. These are rights that the Constitution guarantees as well, and clearly it is one's constitutional right to oppose the mosque, not to participate in the building of it, and to convince others of the same."


Guest Comment: This is a beautifully written article, but he is still missing the most important issue: this is about a political hegemonic movement, not what we have been familiar with, called a religion. The discussion should not be about freedom of religion, no more than we would call a discussion about the cult of Nazism a freedom of religion issue. We came darn close to losing it, with freedom of speech for the Nazis, before we entered WWII.
His well intentioned verse also ignores the horrible virus of greed above principle that we have so recently endured in our country: there will always be people who want to make a buck on someone elses tragedy.
Bloomberg's remarks below are scandalous.

More from Sharmrak

Steven Shamrak

Military Option is Back

source DEBKAfile

Obama has informed P5+1 group plus Saudis and Israelis that he has abandoned his former willingness to accept a limited Iranian nuclear arsenal and is now ready to fight to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. To meet increasingly defiant Iranian threats to US regional military forces, Washington has detached the USS Truman carrier from support duty for Afghanistan in the Arabian Sea and reassigned it to Dubai opposite the Gulf of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz with thousands of marines aboard.

1) Reza Baruni, the father of Iran's military UAV program, died in a mighty explosion that destroyed his closely secured villa.

2) Three unidentified drones slammed into its dome killing five people.

3) An Iranian F4 Phantom fighter jet was claimed by Tehran to have crashed 6 kilometers north of the Bushehr nuclear reactor in southern Iran. Military sources reported that it was shot down by Russian-made TOR-M1 air-missile defense batteries guarding the reactor.

4) Iran began loading fuel into its first nuclear power plant, a potent symbol of its growing regional sway and its rejection of international sanctions designed to prevent it building a nuclear bomb.

Preparation for a War. Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Mohamed Ali Jafari, who rarely leaves his country, paid a secret visit to Damascus a few hours before Tehran launched the Bushehr nuclear reactor Saturday, Aug. 21. With him were top Al Qods Brigades commanders in Lebanon , Iraq and the Palestinian territories. They conferred with Bashar Assad on roles for Syria and Hizballah in an Iranian reprisal for a US or Israel attack - or a "pre-emptive strike" against Israel.

No International Outcry! The Turkish Air Force attacked Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) hideouts in northern Iraq late last week. The Turkish warplanes pounded Mount Qandil as well as the Hakurk area.

Food for Thought. Steven Shamrak

Traditional enemies of Jewish people and self-hating enemies within, in order to satisfy their own psychological disorders, have been endlessly undermining the Jewish character of Israel to distroy the only Jewish state. This is another vital front for Israel's survival, maybe even more important than fighting Arabs!

Peace Process is a Motion Sickness. Recent announcement of a new round of Middle East peace talks has stirred scepticism over whether the negotiations will amount to any meaningful progress. Both sides are simply going through the motions in a bid to placate Washington. Neither side believes that negotiations will produce any solution, nor are they prepared to make major concessions.

Clear Intention. Iran announces a new unmanned jet bomber that Ahmadinejad dubs an "ambassador of death" to Israel and other enemie. The statement comes one day after Iran began operating its first nuclear power plant and two days after it test-fired a new surface-to-surface guided missile. (Dealivery system of A-bomb is ready. Must Israel wait?)

Why to Bother Helping Idiots. India and Israel are the only two countries whose aid workers will not be granted special visas by Pakistan to join relief efforts for the millions of people affected by country's worst floods.

No Jews in Yesha - No Arabs in Israel! Israel's Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau slammed calls for extending sanctions on Jewish building in Judea and Samaria. Dr. Landau said that if the PA is allowed to transfer Jews who make up 10% of the population of Judea and Samaria then Israel should be allowed to transfer the Arabs who make up 20% of the population of Israel. (Let's not forget that "Yesha", Judea and Samaria, is Jewish land!)

Must Israel Tolerate Hateful Neighbours? Arab students studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem are extracting mezuzot from homes in neighbourhoods in which they reside. (This hideous act was performed by educated Arabs, not 'poor' peasants. Arabs will never change their intolerable behaviour!)

Fake Talk is on the Way? Agreement to resume direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is an achievement for American arm-twisting. Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had insisted he would only return to negotiations without preconditions. Mahmoud Abbas, but the Palestinian president has never stopped setting them. The Quartet announcement shows no signs of a shift by either party - apart from agreement to talk. (How long will this round of pritence last?)

Result of Unwilliness to Reinforce a Law. The number of illegal migrants' children living in Israel in violation of immigration laws is in the tens of thousands, not hundreds as is commonly perceived, Interior Minister Eli Yishai told Israel Radio. It exceeds 20,000! Yishai used these numbers as a justification for expaltion of all illegal migrant children and their families from Israel, instead of granting legal status to those who meet certain criteria, emphasizing the threat to the Jewish character of the state.

Hypocrisy in Action:

"Presbyterian leaders: US should end Israel aid unless nation backs off Palestinian settlements" - Another 'Jew-friendly' Christian group joined the Methodist Church of Britain in anti-Israel frinzy. They are preoccupied with Israel but not concerned with the treatment of Christians in Muslim countries, including in Hamas and Fatah controlled territories!

Liberalism and Our Freedom.

by Steven Shamrak.

It is important to understand the roll of Liberalism in our society. For the last two hundred years western democracies have been shaped by the idealistic views of liberal individuals and organizations. We are grateful to them for creating modern democracy. Human Rights, Social Justice, Animal Rights are important issues of Western democracies.

There is a fine line between liberalism and leftist political ideology, focused on undermining western society. They do not want to accept that Socialist ideology has failed. They deny the horrors it brought to the peoples of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, including North Korea. Nevertheless, in spite of a deep irreconcilable ideological gap, they are eagerly joining forces with fascist and Arab terrorists against the only democracy in the Middle East - Israel.

There are people in the West who still doubt the intentions of Arab-Muslim expansionism or even deny its existence (some of them, in their hateful frenzy, are calling people like me ultra-right extremist, fascist or even racist). This type of denial has happened before. It did not save liberals after the communists came to power in Russia. Many moderate citizens perished in concentration camps after fascists came to power too. Re-education camps are still an integral part of China. It is time to realise the danger we are facing and take a stand. "Liberalism" will not survive when the "Dark cloud" of Muslim extremism will cover Western Society, like it vanished when Communists took over in the Russia.

Please, check the recent news about Al Qaeda cells arrested in Europe: "Twenty-one Al Qaeda operatives detained in Europe with explosives and chemicals. Spanish anti-terror agents rounded up 16 militants, most Algerian, in Catalonia. Italian police detained 5 Moroccan men near Venice with explosives and maps of central London, plans to hit the NATO base in Verona and Padua Cathedral." Almost, 2,000 British citizens have been trained by Al Qaeda (year 2003 data). Do you know why?

Use the Internet and find out how Christian and other minorities are treated in most Muslim countries and why. Unfortunately, this information for political reasons is not widely publicized. Just imagine what the world would be like if Arab-Muslim extremists were free to do as they pleased! And, how would you feel if they were at your door?

We all like to be nice and care free. It is time to start to care! It is time to protect what we value most - Our freedom.