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July 2007 Archives

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

At TNR, Benny Morris reviews a pair of books, Tom Segev's 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East and Isabella Ginor, Gideon Remez's Foxbats over Dimona: The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War. Morris prefers the second book, and really uses it as a device to get to a well-deserved savaging of the revisionist (in the negative sense of the word) Segev: Provocations

...This portrait of Israel in 1966 and early 1967 is skewed. The economic downturn was a minor recession, nothing like the American or German depressions. (Indeed, the early 1960s saw the establishment of the foundations of the modern industrial economy.) There was greater immigration to Israel than emigration. The Sephardi-Ashkenazi gap, while extant, was hardly in crisis mode (there were no riots to compare with 1959 or the early 1970s); and the same applies to the religious-secular divide--hardly a period of violence or fireworks. Palestinian terrorism was meager and trivial compared with the standards set in the 1970s and 1990s. The country's political leadership, while not flamboyant or "great," was certainly composed of capable and honest people. Israelis were no more "bored" then than in any other time. In other words, the picture that Segev paints of Israel's internal condition in 1966 and early 1967, with which he tries to "explain" the war, is essentially false...

...(As it turned out, Israel suffered less than eight hundred dead, several dozen of them civilians.) With the benefit of hindsight, Segev feels able to argue that Israeli fears were irrational, indeed paranoid: the Arabs were weak and Israel was strong, and Nasser and the others did not really mean it when they spoke of throwing the Jews into the sea.

And yet Segev himself provides the counter to this when he quotes Ben-Gurion: "None of us can forget the Nazi Holocaust, and if some of the Arab leaders, with the leader of Egypt at their head, declare day and night that Israel must be destroyed we should not take these declarations lightly." (Later Segev offers a counter to this counter by quoting King Hussein: "With the Arabs, words don't have the same value as they do for other people. Threats mean nothing." So, in the end, Israel should not have taken Nasser's threats, or moves, seriously?)

In Segev's view, to understand the Six Day War one needs to understand more than the "diplomatic and military background. What is needed is deep knowledge of the Israelis themselves." Not of the Arabs--of Nasser and his generals, who sent in their tank divisions and closed the straits in defiance of the agreements of 1956-1957; or of the Jordanians, who ignored Israeli appeals on the morning of June 5 not to open fire or, later, to stop firing artillery into downtown West Jerusalem, the suburbs of Tel Aviv, and the Ramat David air base in lower Galilee (the IDF began responding only at around noon, after Jordanian troops stormed the U.N. headquarters compound in southern Jerusalem); or of the Syrians, who rained down shells on Israel's Jordan Valley settlements starting on the evening of June 5 (the IDF assaulted the Golan on June 9-10). No, there is no need to look at or understand Nasser, Hussein, or the Syrian leadership--or the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who took to the streets of Cairo, East Jerusalem, Damascus, and Baghdad shouting "Idhbah al Yahud!", "Slaughter the Jews!"...

The idea that the Arabs have no agency in Segev's view is pretty familiar stuff. Not surprisingly, Segev was the local NPR outlet's choice for in-studio guest on the 40th anniversary of the war. Who better to help the public understand history? Well, almost anyone.

A bit ominous since that's the headline at an Arab news site: Albawaba: New ”Salman Rushdie” in Italy?. Magdi Allam's sin? He believes in Israel and thinks Palestinian terror is the source of the trouble.

The Union of Islamic Communities in Italy has urged all Muslims across the country to express their views following a new book which hails Israel and slams Palestinian resistance groups. According to a Saudi newspaper, the leaders of the Islamic community in Italy are furious about the new book which amazingly was edited by an Egyptian-born Italian writer and journalist!

Magdi Allam, 55, deputy chief editor of Italy’s most influential newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, is again at the center of the storm following his seventh book, dubbed “Viva Israele” (Long Live Israel). The subtitle of the book reads “From the ideology of death to the civilization of life: my story.”

“Long Live Israel” is the tale of his life ever since his youth under the republican regime of late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

According to Allam, Nasser is responsible for having turned Egypt - and the rest of the Arab world - into the cradle of the "ideology of death". Allam claims Nasser brought about an aggressive pan-Arabic dream based on the denial of Israel’s right to exist. The need for the destruction of Israel is the dominant theme that, Allam states, made death and destruction the core values of a once liberal Islamic culture.

Thus, the new book defends the existence of Israel and terms armed Palestinian groups as "dangerous terrorist threats." In addition, Allam wrote that during their operations in the Palestinian territories, Israeli forces have been trying to avoid hitting Palestinian civilians and only aim to defend Israeli citizens….

Furthermore, Allam added that the main cause for the Israeli – Palestinian dispute stems form the Palestinian terror.

Allam says that "Israel - along with Pope Benedict XVI - represents the residual hope for Western civilization, which, more than other civilizations, embodies the sacredness of life and personal freedom."

Allam also slams the Arab calls for the killing of Jews. In the past, Allam also criticized resistance groups in Lebanon and Iraq...

The nerve!

Adrian "Good Morning, Vietnam" Cronauer responds to a Debbie Schlussel movie review: "Good Morning, Vietnam" Personality Praises Schlussel Movie Review . . . With Bone of Contention:

Good (as usual) review of the Dengler film but one, tiny, nit-picking point if I may: we didn't lose the war in Vietnam, we lost the peace, if we lost anything. Viewed from one perspective, we politically gave up what we had already won militarily. Actually, "we" didn't do so as a country but, rather, the Dems in Congress--to their everlasting shame--deliberately gave South Viet Nam to the Communists...

[h/t: Jeremayakovka]

Well, no. Some Muslims believe so, especially those who advocate a compulsive, political form of Islam (but not solely they). Disturbingly, the folks who run the askMuslims blog at Boston Now believe the answer is yes. What's that say about the type of Islam they're proselytizing here in Boston? Miss Kelly points out that the blog is tied to Yusuf al-Qaradawi's Islam Online.

As commencement speaker at the University of Toronto this past June:

A transcript is available here, as are instructions for finding a better quality video.

Tim Butcher reports on Hamas's Magical Misery Tour: Hamas takes press on a Sweety Tour

The tour was meant to counter weeks of adverse publicity about the supposedly draconian nature of "Hamastan" - the name given to the Gaza Strip by critics of the Islamist movement since its violent takeover last month.

So for five sweaty hours, the coach from Sweety Tours took a few dozen reporters on a tour of the Gaza Strip to try to counter this image. The bus stopped at the presidential guest house - Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian national authority and Fatah leader is locked out of Gaza - to show that the gardens were being watered and the building maintained.

A great deal was made of the fact the portrait of Mr Abbas still hung in the main reception room. But then a few minutes later the bus passed a vast mural of Yasser Arafat, the former Fatah leader. The mural was pockmarked with fresh-looking bullet holes.

"We believe in freedom of speech and democracy," said Ahmed Bahar, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament and a senior Hamas figure...

Butcher's report is pretty straight-up and non-flattering to Hamas, in spite of Butcher's previous "issues." In an audio interview he even refers to the event as a "Magical Mystery Tour" and doesn't seem to be willing to be taken in by the propagandistic trip, though he continues to peddle the idea that it's Israel alone that is by choice keeping the crossings closed to nothing more than a trickle.

At Conflict Blotter:

“They want to show in front of the world that they are nice, that they are in control,” Egyptian army Col. Amr Mamdouh said.

Monday, July 30, 2007

It's another "exposing Michael Moore" movie. Can there ever be too many of these? I say no.

This one's by a guy named Kevin Leffler who went to school with Moore. Human Events has a posting on it: Shooting Michael Moore: Don't Miss It. The web site is here. The YouTube video of the trailer posted at the HE site has a horrible synching problem, so here is the trailer page at the site.

It's the revenge of the rabbit lady from Roger & Me...

Hamas took Western journalists on a bus ride 'round Gaza today in what amounts to a sort of "Magical Misery Tour": Hamas gives Gaza tour to journalists to prove Strip is safe

Hamas urged the world's media on Monday to publicize what its leader called the suffering of the people of Gaza under an international embargo, after a tour for journalists aimed at showing the Islamists had brought peace.

"Gaza today is better," Ismail Haniyeh, still calling himself Palestinian Authority prime minister, told dozens of foreign reporters who joined a bus tour of the coastal enclave that took in a prison, a church, border posts and security installations...

According to Solomonia sources close to the bus, Hamas PR people on the ride were telling media people that "we are in favor of freedom of expression" while outside the bus, the Hamas Executive Force was beating up merchants who dared to sell West Bank newspapers:

...The former deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament said human rights were secure - and condemned a brief seizure of West Bank newspapers by officials in Gaza earlier in the day.

Manuel Musallam, a priest, told reporters at his church that Hamas was "not a religious movement" hostile to the Christian minority but a "political movement" dedicated to the Palestinian people. "I am the best friend of Mr. Haniyeh," he added...

Dhimmi.

Update: A better article on the newspaper seizures and harassment of journalists: Hamas seizes Fatah newspapers

Hamas militiamen on Monday prevented the distribution of three Fatah-affiliated newspapers in the Gaza Strip and briefly detained the local agents of the dailies.

This is the first time that the newspapers, published in the West Bank, were prevented from distribution in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian journalists said thousands of copies from the three newspapers were seized by Hamas's paramilitary Executive Force on the Palestinian side of the Erez border crossing. The newspapers were taken aboard a truck to a Hamas security installation nearby in the town of Beit Hanan.

According to the journalists, six Palestinians working for the newspapers were detained by Hamas for questioning. Two of them, Hatem Kishawi and Samir Jaber, work for the Fatah-controlled Al-Ayyam, which serves as a mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority. The other four work for the PA-funded Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda and Al-Quds, a pro-Fatah newspaper owned by a family from east Jerusalem...

..."Of course we're afraid," said a local journalist. "Hamas does not accept criticism. If you write something that they don't like, you will get into trouble. Unfortunately, the situation wasn't much better when Fatah was here. Both of them don't respect the freedom of the media."...


The Pope's secretary, at least, is still a Catholic, and isn't, apparently, afraid to say that Christianity is something worth defending: Another Islam-Christian Blow-Up on the Horizon?

"While Christians respect Islam and desire to dialogue with Muslims," Pope Benedict XVI's private secretary says, "[we] must act to protect the Christian identity of Europe."

Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the Pope's secretary, was interviewed in Friday's edition of Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazine. Though the interview covered many different issues, his comments about Islamic influence in Europe, and what Catholics should do about it, may prove to be the most controversial...

..."I believe the Regensburg speech, as it is known, was prophetic," Msgr. Ganswein told the German magazine, because it countered a "certain naivete" among people who do not recognize that various currents exist within Islam.

"Attempts at the 'Islamification' of the West cannot be denied," he said, according to an English translation in the Catholic Explorer. "And the associated danger for the identity of Europe cannot be ignored out of a wrongly understood sense of respect... The Catholic side sees this clearly and says as much." True respect, Ganswein said, is shown in a dialogue with Muslims that is frank, open and honest...


Israeli researchers take first step toward live computer chip

...With the use of chemical stimulation, Ben-Jacob and Baruchi discovered that they could trigger a man-made network of neurons to imprint patterns - the same process by which the brain creates memories. This discovery marks an early but crucial step toward the invention of a computer chip with the capability to create and store information the same way our own brains do. By linking the network of neurons to software which reads the neural activity, the network and the computer can work together to carry out tasks of which computers are currently incapable...

...It's the connection between the computer and the neural network, which would communicate with one another, that creates a new kind of machine. Ben-Jacob elaborates: "The network won't replace the computer but it will do the softer cognitive functions of decision-making, interaction with the environment, and sound recognition."

According to Baruchi, biological computing might also lead to technology that Microsoft has been working to achieve, without success: handwriting recognition, made possible by virtue of the biological system's ability to detect patterns...


UK academic boycott backlash grows

The international outcry against the call by the UK's University and College Union (UCU) to boycott Israeli academic institutions has strengthened with a petition by academics reaching 10,000 signatures.

The petition, which calls on academics to show solidarity with their Israeli counterparts, raised over 10,000 signatures in seven weeks.

In response to the May 30 boycott vote, a campaign was launched by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, an organization of scholars with more than 18,000 academics and professional members, demanding the boycott be overturned. The initiative was led by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (read his JPost blog) and Prof. Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Prize laureate in physics from the University of Texas.

The petition urged scholars to stand in solidarity with "our Israeli academic and professional colleagues" and that for the purpose of any academic boycott targeting Israel, the signatories agreed to regard themselves as "Israeli academics" and decline to participate "in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded."

"Today more than 10,000 of the world's leading scholars speak together with one voice to demand academic freedom for all scholars and to declare that we are all Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott," Weinberg said.

Thirty-two Nobel Prize laureates and 53 university and colleges presidents worldwide and from across the political spectrum, along with an array of heads of academic departments and professional societies, have signed the petition...

The complete list of signatures is here.

More Totten in Baghdad: Baghdad Raid Night.

..."I suppose I shouldn't smoke," I said to Eddy.

"You got that right," Eddy said. "Snipers wearing night vision can see the tip of your cigarette from a mile away. They'll watch as you lift the cigarette to your mouth and figure out where your head is. Then BLAMMO. They're really good shots."

I kept the cigarettes in my pocket.

"We're being followed," said Sergeant Fisher.

Eddy, the rest of the soldiers, and I turned around...


Rock on: Soda Can Assault Victim Wakes to Shoot Robber

EL DORADO, Ark. — An elderly man beaten unconscious by an assailant wielding a soda can later awoke and shot the man during an attempted robbery, police said.

Willie Lee Hill, 93, told police he saw the robber while in his bedroom Wednesday night. Hill confronted Douglas B. Williams Jr., 24, of El Dorado, who struck the elderly man at least 50 times, knocking him out, police said.

Hill, covered in blood from the attack, regained consciousness and pulled a .38-caliber handgun on Williams. Williams saw the gun and charged Hill, who fired one round, police said. The bullet struck Williams in the throat.

When police arrived, officers said Williams told them, "I can't feel my legs and I got what I deserved."

Paramedics took Hill and Williams to the Medical Center of South Arkansas for treatment. Doctors later sent Williams to the Louisiana State University Medical Center at Shreveport, where he was listed in critical condition Friday.

Employees at the Medical Center of South Arkansas refused to give Hill's condition or say if he'd been discharged from the hospital Friday, citing medical privacy laws.

Officers reported finding a set of keys, two hearing aids, a CD player, an MP3 player, a Craftsman drill bit set and three pocket knives inside Williams' pockets. Police plan to charge Williams with residential burglary, second-degree battery, theft of property and theft by receiving.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Oh my. Hizballah's Professor, Marcy Newman, who previously merited a write-up by our own Emmet Trueman (see: Marcy Newman Hates the United States, Israel, Jews and...), certainly isn't afraid to let it all hang out.

Newman's blog has an Orwellian list of links right at the top entitled "Academic Freedom," carrying shortcuts to such bastions of academic freedom as the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and to Mona Baker, who infamously fired two Israelis from the staff of her academic journal. The top post on her blog right now? Should we consider a boycott of Israeli academic institutions? Yes. That only follows since "...the racist, colonialist state needs to be dissolved."

Because, you know, dissolving racist, colonialist states is serious business.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Joseph Massad and Nadia Abu El Haj cases present an interesting question: Should alumni, donors, and taxpayers - in the case of public institutions - have a voice in university hiring decisions?

Granted, the two cases are different. Joseph Massad is a mediocre scholar, though not worse than many. He is controversial because he shoots his mouth off, coming out with a lot of anti-Semitic nonsense off the cuff, in the classroom, and in the popular press.

Nadia Abu El Haj, by contrast, is a mere pseudo-scholar. She is the author of a single published book that denies the existence of the ancient Israelite kingdoms. It would be considered crank scholarship if not for the fashionable post-colonial, anti-Israel prose in which it is couched. Alumna are entitled to be outraged. And yet the Barnard and Columbia faculty are defending their right to tenure this propagandist because, well, apparently because they resent the fact that the alumnae are up in arms about her. Okay, also because a lot of them reallly like her anti-Israel politics and the cool, radical chic feeling that having a genuine Palestinian on faculty lends to the campus. Still, this fight appears to be largely about the right of university faculties to do as they please with no adult supervision.

But surely the adults, the administrators and trustees, have some responsibilities here. Barnard is not a wealthy school. And while much of the faculty harbors an irrational hatred of the Jewish State, few alumnae do. Should the fact that alumnae donations may fall be a factor in this decision?

Or, put it another way, since the two cases Sol posted about today involve Columbia. What are the ethics of accepting money from donors who would like to dismantle the Jewish State to create an endowed chair named after Edward Said, a man who worked hard to dismantle the Jewish State, and appointing as its first occupant Rashid Khalidi, a sometime PLO consultant and spokesman who works assiduously to dismantle the Jewish State?

If hiring a stridently political professor in order to get a large endowment is acceptable - and Columbia did agree to hire the highly political Rashid Khalidi in order to get that generous endowment – they why is denying tenure to Joseph Massad or to Nadia Abu El Haj in order to protect the flow of alumni donations unacceptable?

Another great report from Michael Yon on the use of UAV's and what our guys are doing negotiating at cajoling the local leadership to keep things moving: Bird’s Eye View: The Battle for Baqubah

Here's a great companion video showing one of our officers negotiating with a local Iraqi officer:


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Tishrin July 23, 2007 (Syria)
In Arabic: “The International Human Rights Award.” Israel, represented by the stereotypical hook-nosed Jew, has claimed first, second and third prizes.

And here's more El Haj commentary, from this week's Jewish Advocate [there's an editing error here as Reinharz refers to the piece by Hugh Fitzgerald without introducing him first...you'll see -- article not blockquoted for readability]:

Truth, lies and tenure at Barnard

By Shulamit Reinharz

I did not go to my 40th Barnard College reunion last month, although friends and the college development office urged me to attend. I chose not to go because I could not get an answer to a question I was asking concerning the tenure case of assistant anthropology professor Nadia Abu El-Haj.

According to information on the Web, El-Haj is a Palestinian. I was unsuccessful in my efforts to find exactly where she was born, a topic that interested me because I am not sure if she identifies as a Palestinian as a consequence of being born in what some people now call Palestine or because she identifies with Palestinians and was born elsewhere. I couldn’t find the facts.

This issue is significant because El-Haj has a strong opinion about what constitutes a fact. Evidenced by her 2001 book, “Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society,” which is based on her doctoral thesis at Duke University, El-Haj cares about facts in a strange way. As she writes on her Barnard faculty Web page, “Historical sciences generate facts.” This stands in contrast to the view that facts are phenomena that are independently verifiable. Her view is that facts are manufactured and exploited for political purposes. In other words, to her mind, intellectual work consists of constructing facts to support certain points of view. This is a completely cynical perspective on “research.” I’m not sure that ultimately El-Haj really believes it. Because if she did, she would recognize that her very book is a political treatise and thus need not be accepted as true.

The purpose of El-Haj’s book is to undermine Israeli archaeology, which she claims is bent on destroying evidence about Palestinian presence and substantiating Jewish presence. She accuses Israeli archaeologists of being dishonest, unscientific, and politically motivated.

Continue reading "Truth, lies and tenure at Barnard"

What's going on in Lee Bollinger's office? Are they doing the calculations on who they can cut -- Joseph Massad and/or Nadia Abu El Haj? I hear El Haj comes from money, not sure about Massad. That could figure in here. Revelations start near the bottom [article not blockquoted for readability]:

Barnard’s Shame and Columbia’s Dirty Deal

By: Paula R. Stern
B.A., Barnard College, 1982

When a college of international renown hires a professor of questionable ethics and scholarly practice, it is to be hoped that the college will realize its error before reaching the stage where it would offer that professor tenure. This was the case many Barnard graduates hoped to find themselves in a few months ago when protests were made over the offer to grant Nadia Abu El Haj tenure.

Abu El Haj is not an anthropologist in the tradition of Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead, scholars who went into the field, learned the language, and interacted with the people they wrote about. Nadia Abu El Haj does none of this. She has written an anthropology of the role of archaeological knowledge in Israeli society based almost exclusively on published sources in English. She doesn’t exhibit any familiarity with the vast literature in Hebrew on the subjects she wrote about, or give any evidence that she has a working knowledge of Hebrew, a critical flaw in someone supposedly determined to write a scholarly work on anthropology and archeology in Israel.

To make matters even more absurd, her anthropology of Israeli archaeology is based on a single, one-day visit to a single dig, visits to a handful of archaeological museums in Jerusalem, and a standard tourist walking tour of the Old City - Abu El Haj cites the walking tour guide repeatedly. Her great scholarly work…is limited to one book – her dissertation, hypocritically called “Facts on the Ground.”

Abu El Haj scorn for evidence-based scholarship is explicit. In her own words, she writes within a scholarly tradition that "Reject(s) a positivist commitment to scientific methods…" Rather, her work is "rooted in… post structuralism, philosophical critiques of foundationalism, Marxism and critical theory… and developed in response to specific postcolonial political movements."

Continue reading "Is Columbia Doing the Backroom Shuffle with Massad and El Haj?"

Andy Bostom has published the first of a two-part 33,000 word total essay on the history of the Jews in Turkey and under the Ottoman Empire that threatens to blow the lid off the pleasant conventional wisdom. Part 1 is out today: Under Turkish Rule, Part I

Here are a couple of lengthy snips:

British Jerusalem Consul James Finn, reported in (July and November) 1858 that both physical insecurity for Jews in Palestine, and their inequality before the law, persisted despite the second iteration of Ottoman reforms in 1856:
[July 8, 1858]…in consequence of a series of disgusting insults offered to Jews and Jewesses in Hebron, I obtained such orders as I could from the Pasha’s agent in this city…Finding these not answer entirely as might be desired, I repaired to the neighborhood of Hebron myself—and found the whole government of that important and turbulent district being administered by a very old Bashi Bozuk officer as the ton governor; and a military Boluk Bashi with five starved and ragged Bashi Bozuk man as soldiers—The rural district is left entirely to peasant Sheikhs, with one responsible over the rest. The streets of the town were paraded by fanatic Dervishes—and during my stay there a Jewish house was forcibly entered by night, iron bars of the window broken, and heavy stones thrown by invisible hands at every person approaching the place to afford help. One of the Members of the Council affirmed that they were not obliged to obey orders from the Pasha’s deputy—and another declared his right derived from time immemorial in his family, to enter Jewish houses, and take toll or contributions any time without giving account. When others present in the Council exclaimed against this he said—“Well then I will forbear from taking it myself, but things will happen which will compel the Jews to come and kiss my feet to induce me to take their money.” On hearing of my arrival in the vicinity he went away to the villages, refusing to obey the summons to Jerusalem, and I believe the Pasha cannot really compel him to come here—he being a privileged member of the Council, and recognized in Constantinople.

[November 11, 1858] And my Hebrew Dragoman [translator] having a case for judgment in the Makhameh [Muslim court] before the new Kadi [judge], although accompanied by my Kawass [constable], and announcing his office, was commanded to stand up humbly and take off his shoes before his case could be heard. He did not however comply—But during the process although the thief had previously confessed to the robbery in presence of Jews, the Kadi would not proceed without the testimony of two Moslems—when the Jewish witnesses were offered, he refused to accept their testimony—and the offensive term adopted towards Jews in former times (more offensive than Giaour for Christians) was used by the Kadi’s servants…such circumstances exhibit the working of the present Turkish government in Jerusalem.


Continue reading "Jews Under the Ottomans"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Those American labor unions that all signed on to a statement against the various British boycotts aren't leaving it at a letter to the editor, they are looking to hold Keith Sonnet, a British labor leader, accountable: U.S. Unions Organize Against British Boycott

The controversy surrounding calls by British unions to boycott Israel is threatening to spill over into a major international union’s next election.

Leaders of some of America’s most powerful unions are said to be considering whether to pull support for a top British union official, Keith Sonnet, in his bid to lead a major international service workers union, Public Services International. The American union leaders are responding to last month’s passage of a resolution proposing a sweeping boycott of Israeli goods by Sonnet’s union, Unison, which represents 1.3 million public service workers.

The group that Sonnet is looking to lead, PSI, is a global federation of more than 600 unions from around the world, but the American labor movement has traditionally wielded significant power in its ranks.

As the number of British labor unions passing Israel boycott resolutions has snowballed in recent months, American trade union officials have raised alarms over the growing phenomenon, which encompasses boycotts of Israeli goods and academic institutions. Last week, nearly every top union leader in America signed on to a statement drafted by the Jewish Labor Committee decrying the raft of boycott proposals as non-constructive.

Avram Lyon, executive director of the JLC, said that Sonnet, who is running against Danish candidate Peter Waldorff for the international union post, had given assurances to American labor leaders in advance of his group’s national delegate conference that the Israel boycott measure up for consideration would either be voted down or have its teeth taken out. But the opposite came to pass, causing Sonnet’s American counterparts to feel misled, Lyon said.

“That has raised questions among some American unions as to whether or not they will support Keith Sonnet’s candidacy,” Lyon said. “The concern is based on the fact that Sonnet put forward a resolution which American unions would consider to be divisive.”...

[h/t: Adam Holland]

Not much info yet, but at CNN: NASA finds apparent sabotage

The U.S. space agency NASA on Thursday confirmed it had discovered the apparent sabotage of a noncritical component of the international space station due to be carried up by the space shuttle Endeavour. It launched an investigation after finding cut wires in a piece of computer equipment intended to transfer data from station sensors to the ground, the agency said.

NASA said it will try to launch Endeavour on August 7 for the spacecraft's first mission in nearly five years...


...over George Galloway's travails (which appear to be pretty minor so far compared to what he deserves). Here he is writing in Slate: The Galloway Papers:

...I do not think that an 18-day suspension from the House of Commons is anything like enough punishment for what Galloway has done, first on behalf of a sadistic and genocidal megalomaniac and second to steal food and medicine from the mouths of desperate Iraqis. We ran into each other a few times on his debate-tour, and on the last occasion on which we exchanged views, when he told me that he would never debate with me again (which he has since consistently refused to do), I told him that we were not done with each other. I would, I told him, be waiting to write a review of his prison diaries...

Then there's this...amazing how all those stories about foreign leaders who supported Bush were being defeated at home have long since dried up:

...Just look at the gang that strove to prevent the United Nations from enforcing its library of resolutions on Saddam Hussein. Where are they now? Gerhard Schroeder, ex-chancellor of Germany, has gone straight to work for a Russian oil-and-gas consortium. Vladimir Putin, master of such consortia and their manipulation, is undisguised in his thirst to re-establish a one-party state. Jacques Chirac, who only avoided prosecution for corruption by getting himself immunized by re-election (and who had Saddam's sons as his personal guests while in office, and built Saddam Hussein a nuclear reactor while knowing what he wanted it for), is now undergoing some unpleasant interviews with the Paris police. So is his cynical understudy Dominique de Villepin, once the glamour-boy of the "European" school of diplomacy without force. What a crew! Galloway is the most sordid of this group because he managed to be a pimp for, as well as a prostitute of, one of the foulest dictatorships of modern times. But the taint of collusion and corruption extends much further than his pathetic figure, and one day, slowly but surely, we shall find out the whole disgusting thing.

[h/t: Adam Holland]

The Texas trial for the HLF is underway and Counterterrorism expert Matthew Levitt testified yesterday: Counterterrorism Blog Expert, Matthew Levitt, Takes the Stand in Dallas HAMAS Trial. Thought this bit about the MAS was very interesting and worth a highlight:

... The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization with representation throughout the world, “is very active in the United States,” Levitt said. It is represented in the United States as the Muslim American Society (MAS) which was founded in 1993 in Illinois and maintains branch offices throughout the United States in at least 27 cities.

In an extensive Chicago Tribune story on the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S [free registration required], "the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members. Some wanted the Brotherhood to remain underground, while others thought a more public face would make the group more influential… When the leaders voted, it was decided that Brotherhood members would call themselves the Muslim American Society, or MAS, according to documents and interviews. An undated internal memo instructed MAS leaders on how to deal with inquiries about the new organization. If asked, "Are you the Muslim Brothers?" leaders should respond that they are an independent group called the Muslim American Society. "It is a self-explanatory name that does not need further explanation. And if the topic of terrorism were raised, leaders were told to say that they were against terrorism but that jihad was among a Muslim's ‘divine legal rights’ to be used to defend himself and his people and to spread Islam.”

It should also be noted that the 1993 Articles of Incorporation for MAS, states that "Upon dissolution of the Society, and after paying or making provisions for payment of all liabilities of the Society, and in furtherance of the purposes of the Society, all assets should be distributed to the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), a non-for-profit, charitable, and religious federally tax exempt organization under section 503 (c) (3)..."

NAIT was named by the HLF prosecutors as a Muslim Brotherhood group and as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the case...


Michel Gurfinkiel asks Is Turkey Lost? On the way to answering is actually a nice concise history of modern Turkey worth checking out. As to the question, at the risk of reading too much into too little, this is highly meaningful to me:

...After eighteen months, Edelman resigned. But anti-Americanism hardly abated. In 2005, a sensationalist novel, Metal Storm, featured characters drawn from real life—George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, etc.—and a plot set in the near future that was sheer paranoia: a surprise American invasion of Turkey complete with the bombing of Anit Kabir, the majestic mausoleum in Ankara of Mustafa Kemal, the founder of modern Turkey. The book sold heavily—450,000 copies in less than a year.

Hard on the heels of Metal Storm came a movie: Valley of the Wolves, Iraq. Taking off from a popular TV serial, it depicted the U.S. presence in Iraq as a nightmare of brutality. According to the movie, the U.S. was engaging in mass murder and then trafficking in the victims’ organs. Much of the action was devoted to a supposed joint American-Kurdish operation to “cleanse” northern Iraq of its Turkmen (i.e., Turkish) minority. If Metal Storm was a best-seller, Valley of the Wolves could be the Turkish film industry’s biggest commercial success ever.

Then there is anti-Semitism. Kavgam, a Turkish translation of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, was published at about the same time as Metal Storm. Almost two years ago, as I and other European and American visitors saw on a fact-finding trip sponsored by the Nixon Center, it was on prominent display in airports, shopping malls, academic bookstores, at the archeological museum in Ankara—everywhere. And Kavgam is hardly the only example of the new anti-Semitism in the Turkish media. The worst character in Valley of the Wolves is an American Jewish doctor who supervises organ traffic from Iraq to the United States and Israel. Another recent best-seller is a book called Hitler’s Leadership Qualities. Turkish newspapers are rife with anti-Jewish innuendo and worse...

Even leaving aside the anti-Semitism (it's almost old hat and expected by now isn't it?), the movie and the book are particularly interesting as a way of getting in the psyche of the average guy. Who does he fantasize about fighting? Us.


He's gone, but not quietly. The question is, how many more "scholars" of Ward Churchill's caliber are there? I'd hazard it to be about as many as you'd expect in a system that relies on self-regulation and massive resistance to outside oversight.

National Review comments here: How Churchill’s Firing Diminishes the Campus Left

Inside Higher Ed has a good write-up: Ward Churchill Fired

Pirate Ballerina has links and pictures, here: The Party's Over...

Glenn has some good links to follow. The guy sounds like a real ass. This should be very, very interesting. Looks like TNR is getting snookered by another fabulist with aspirations to being a writer. Why fall for it? Desire. That and the fact that the dispatches must have sounded plausible (and echoingly familiar) to editors for whom Iraq = Vietnam.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Love the picture at the Muslim BrotherhoodAmerican Society web site of their press conference in support of now criminally charged Imam Masood. Sadly, the MAS is now declaring all that trust and cooperation between the Muslim Community and law enforcement that's been built up is now suppressed and killed, and all because law enforcement actually has the temerity to...enforce the laws. Imam Masood told lots of whoppers to federal officials -- big mistake. This is leading to much seething and whining: Muslim American Society of Boston (MAS Boston) Holds Press Conference to Challenge Witch Hunt Against Muslim Community Leadership. Love the picture:

NancyMurrayPressConference.jpg

(Pic leads to larger version at MAS site.) That's M. Bilal Kaleem of the MAS in the back, with pride of place give to Jew-hating ACLU-hag Nancy Murray, last seen at the lightly attended Washington anti-Israel rally -- scroll down to pic #15 on this page. I believe that's her on the right in front of the USS Liberty and Israeli Apartheid signs, and standing across from full-time smash-Israel/blame the Jews campaigner, Mazin Qumsiyeh. Prior to that she was organizing an utterly bizarre and despicable demonstration at a "celebrate Israel" family day at Gillette Stadium.

Keep up the good work, ICE.

It works like this: The US Government, under Title VI of the Higher Education Act, gives university Middle East Studies departments money. In return, one of the things the universities have to do is "public outreach." They have to provide services to the public, and one of those services is providing lesson plans and seminars for K-12 teachers. And guess who comes along and provides ready-made materials and coursework for those “outreach coordinators” at these universities?

You got it, the Saudis.

This was brought to light in an investigative series by JTA almost two years ago: Tainted Teachings, What Your Kids are Learning about Israel, America, and Islam, Parts 1 through 4, and according to Stanley Kurtz in today's National Review, it's still going on: Saudi in the Classroom -- A fundamental front in the war. A snip:

...Harvard’s outreach training prompted K-12 teachers to design celebratory treatments of the life and teachings of Mohammad and the “revelation” and spread of Islam, with exercises calling on students to “appoint imams,” memorize Islamic principles, and act out prayer at a Mosque. According to Stotsky, if Harvard’s outreach personnel had designed similar classroom exercises based on Christian or Jewish models, “People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the A.C.L.U. would descend upon them like furies.”

Instead of training teachers in the history and contemporary challenges of the Muslim world, Stotsky concluded that Harvard’s outreach program was “manipulating” apolitical teachers with a “barely disguised” attempt to “shape...attitudes on specific political issues.” The lesson plans designed by K-12 teachers who participated in these Harvard-run seminars included exercises in which students were asked to watch newscasts and spot out instances in which Muslims were stereotyped as violent or barbaric. Lesson plans proposed discussion questions like, “Why have so many groups wanted to control the Middle East?” and “How might the history of repeated invasions influence the history of people in this area?”

Stotsky was taken aback by one of the key teaching resources pushed by Harvard’s outreach program: “The Arab World Studies Notebook.” The “Notebook” has been widely denounced as a “practically proselytizing” text offering uncritical praise for the Arab world. Stotsky calls it, “a piece of propaganda.” Even the Notebook’s editor, Audrey Shabbas, acknowledges that it’s purpose is to provide “the Arab point of view.” One analysis quoted by Stotsky says that the “Arab World Studies Notebook” is designed to “induce teachers to embrace Islamic religious beliefs” and to “support political views” favored by the Middle East Policy Council (formerly the Arab American Affairs Council). The “Notebook” even claims that Muslims actually beat Columbus to the New World, supposedly sailing across the Atlantic in 889. This is the sort of history being pushed on our K-12 educators by Harvard’s federally approved Center for Middle East Studies — at American taxpayer expense...

[h/t: AJ]

Some Brit named Beaman likes Israel. He explains why in quite a nifty essay: Why I Strongly Support Israel. No need for an excerpt. You might go check it out and see if you agree with his reasons.

[h/t: Jeremy Jacobs]

There are a few constants in academe: Anything with the word "Just" (as in Justice) in the title probably isn't, and anything claiming to be politically non-partisan...probably isn't, either. No surprise that CAMERA has a look at MIT's "Just Jerusalem" contest and finds the conclusions rather likely pre-determined: MIT's Jerusalem Contest: A "Veneer" of Neutrality Can't Conceal Bias

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I had meant to link to Oceanguy's discussion of CAIR -- worth checking out -- and the fact that they kicked a Washington Times reporter out of their event at the National Press Club. Oh the irony. Of course, it was simply a rented room and the NPC actually had nothing to do with it, but CAIR certainly enjoys the cachet of using venues like that (as anyone would). The Press Club may want to think about that.

David Keene, who seems to have been the odd man out critic at the event had the comparison of the century, likening CAIR to the old Italian-American Anti Defamation League (link via Don Surber). "Don't use the term Mafia."

Not to worry about CAIR, though. According to a piece by Parvez Ahmed, circulated with today's CAIR email, Islam has no ties to terrorism (yes, that's the name of the piece).

CAIR today is, however, concerned that Rudy Giuliani believes we should be using the words "Islamic Terrorism":

At no time during their three debates have they used the words 'Islamic terrorists,'" Giuliani said of the Democratic contenders who as he spoke were debating at The Citadel military college in South Carolina. "If they do tonight, I will take credit for it."

Giuliani, an outspoken critic of attempts by the Democrat-controlled Congress to set a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq, added that Democrats were trying to ignore the continued threat from terrorism.

"We are in a war with Islamic terrorists. No matter how much avoiding you do, it's not going to go away," he said, sparking robust applause.

CAIR suggests contacting the Giuliani campaign to "express your concerns about his promotion of linking the faith of Islam to terrorism." CAIR needs to spend more time on the internal dialog if you catch my drift. (Don't tell us, tell them.)

Can American Imams be compelled to preach in English? Probably not. But we can certainly take an interest in what they're preaching and where they're coming from.

Youssef M. Ibrahim: We routinely speak of failed governments and failed societies overseas. So what are we doing about ‘failed’ Muslim communities here?

...If you know the carrier — Saudi Arabia — and the disease — jihadist Islam spread with Saudi funding through mosques staffed with Wahhabist imams in America and Europe — why blithely allow it to continue?

Yet continue it surely does. Like clockwork, every month, Saudi dollars flow in to build and staff more mosques, from one end of Europe to the other and in every American city. Because Muslim communities in America do not advertise having them, it is difficult to get precise statistics, but Saudi-trained imams originally from Egypt or Pakistan are streaming into America using visas that identify them as "religious guides."

Recently, I stumbled up to a minivan filled with six such new arrivals in front of the Beacon Theater on 75th Street — all of whom were staring at women in short skirts like children let loose in a candy shop. I spoke to them and discovered that they had just arrived from Al Azhar University School of Theology in Cairo, for years now largely a Saudi-controlled Wahhabist seminary, and they were headed to multiple mosques after being sponsored by several Muslim communities in New Jersey and New York.

They spoke no English but, as one told me, there was no need for that. "We preach in Arabic," to Arabs, he said.

It is not insignificant that President Sarkozy of France, whose 60 million citizens include some 5 million Muslims, has decreed that the only imams now permitted to staff French mosques must have been trained in France and be fluent in French.

Over the past year, France has quietly suspended scores of imams who do not meet these criteria. Many are being sent back home to Morocco or Egypt.

America should get a National Intelligence Estimate that tells us how many of the imams coming into this country have an "elemental knowledge" of America's Constitution, its Bill of Rights, and its essential values, such as freedom of speech and the rights of women...

[h/t: Sissy]

jenin-idf-aerial-after.jpg

Above is satellite image of the Jenin "refugee camp" from after the Israeli incursion in 2002. Note the localized damage despite world outrage over the supposed death and destruction at the time. More images at Global Security, from which that one came.

Compare to what's going on in the Nahr al-Bared camp in Lebanon, where, according to reports, At least 235 people have been killed and "The camp, home to 40,000 refugees before the hostilities, has been completely destroyed and it was expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild."

It would be interesting to compare satellite imagery if anyone can come up with it.

Here's an Al-Jazeera report with footage from inside the camp:

The differing world and Arab/Muslim reactions to the events (no calls to boycott Lebanon yet) is difficult for those of us who live in a "Guilt Culture," where truth and what we know it to be are paramount, to fathom. Contrast with the Arab Honor/Shame Culture where appearances are what matters -- consequently people are encouraged to make as much noise as possible and pose as much as possible to create the appearance of a reality that may or may not exist.

The differences in truth between how Israelis fight wars and deal with terrorists amongst civilians and how the various Arab armies do it matter not so much as getting everyone on the same page and to say in public the same thing -- the desired political thing whether it comports with reality or not.

New developments in Immigration Imam Case About to Become Criminal...Via Miss Kelly, Immigration officials have issued a press release, and it is quite damning: Sharon Man Charged With Immigration Fraud

MASOOD lied repeatedly, both orally and in writing, to the Immigration Service concerning facts material to his eligibility to become a Lawful Permanent Resident ("LPR") of the United States, (commonly referred to as the holder of a "green card"), for which he had applied...

...Contrary to MASOOD's repeated, sworn assertions, however, multiple pieces of evidence establish that MASOOD, in fact, remained in the United States during that period of time. Not only does there exist no record of his exit and reentry to the United States, but evidence establishes that he remained in Boston University housing, received traffic citations, and was employed in the Boston area, all during that period of time, and in fact was present in Boston for the birth of his seventh child in March of 1992. In a continuing attempt to conceal the fact that he had failed to comply with the Exchange Visitor condition that he return to Pakistan, MASOOD repeatedly told under oath a facially implausible story (with shifting details) of the circumstances under which he claimed to have returned to the United States, all in an effort to explain the absence of any record of his alleged reentry into this country.

The fact that MASOOD intentionally lied concerning his supposed return to Pakistan in 1991 to 1993 is buttressed by evidence of other material misstatements which he made to government agencies and other entities. For example, in 1999, MASOOD procured a New Hampshire driver's license, listing a New Hampshire address when, in fact, he was not a New Hampshire resident and did not live at the stated address; he, for years, lived in Boston University housing to which he was not entitled by misrepresenting that he continued to be a student when, in fact, he was no longer a student; in his application for LPR status, he falsely stated that he had never received public assistance when, in fact, his family had applied for and received benefits from the Massachusetts Medicaid program (MassHealth); and in his application for LPR status, he falsely stated that he had never been arrested, cited or charged with breaking any law or ordinance (excluding traffic violations) when, in fact, he had been arrested for shoplifting in Norwood, Massachusetts in 2000 [That case was dismissed at the time. -S].

If convicted on these charges, MASOOD faces up to 10 years' imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, up to a $250,000 fine and a mandatory special assessment of $100 on each charge.

The case was investigated by special agents of ICE New England Field Office and the FBI New England Field Division assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force...

The Boston Globe's article about the issue (and their coverage of the Muslim American Society's protest) is here: Mosque leader accused of immigration fraud.

More commentary at Miss Kelly's.

Update: From Miss Kelly, here is the full 39 page complain. Case 07-258, US Federal Disrtrict Court, Boston.

Update 2: Miss Kelly has a post sifting through the complaint and coming up with the most interesting bits. There's a lot there and it's not looking too good for the Imam, or for those trying to call this a simple witch hunt. Lots of lies.

Monday, July 23, 2007

News flash! It looks like the case of local Imam Muhammad Masood is about to go beyond a simple immigration matter, and into the criminal:

...Last Thursday, the US Attorney's Office, interrogated Imam Masood for six hours during which he was threatened with jail, "humiliation" and abandonment from the community, unless he "cooperated." Cooperation entailed answering questions about many well respected mainstream leaders and organizations in the Boston Muslim community [Like the Muslim American Society perhaps? -S], many of whom are involved in a monthly dialogue project with law enforcement agencies called BRIDGES (Building Respect in Diverse Groups to Enhance Sensitivity). This fishing expedition is an apparent witch hunt to seek or manufacture any sort of incriminating information against community leaders. The Imam did not have information which the US Attorney's office was apparently hoping for. Consequently he was informed that he will be indicted and that he will stand Monday July 23rd at the U.S. District Court 1 Courthouse Way, Courtroom 24, 7th Floor at 2:30 pm to be charged with a criminal complaint...

Miss Kelly has much more: Criminal Charges for Imam Masood?, as well as speculation that this could be about connections to his brother, terrorist Sheik Hafiz Saeed, as well as an attempt to unravel other local connections: Lest We Forget Masood's Kin...

Update 7/24/07: Case is now criminal.

The adults in our society have truly died off. In their place remain automatons incapable of making a rational, mature decision, their brains given over to check lists of rules, teachers' unions, lawyers, and a laundry list of immature boobs babbling on with platitudes and no sense in their heads. Via Joanne Jacobs and PJM: The Oregonian: Unruly schoolboys or sex offenders?

The two boys tore down the hall of Patton Middle School after lunch, swatting the bottoms of girls as they ran -- what some kids later said was a common form of greeting.

But bottom-slapping is against policy in McMinnville Public Schools. So a teacher's aide sent the gawky seventh-graders to the office, where the vice principal and a police officer stationed at the school soon interrogated them.

After hours of interviews with students the day of the February incident, the officer read the boys their Miranda rights and hauled them off in handcuffs to juvenile jail, where they spent the next five days.

Now, Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, face the prospect of 10 years in juvenile detention and a lifetime on the sex offender registry in a case that poses a fundamental question: When is horseplay a crime?

Bradley Berry, the McMinnville district attorney, said his office "aggressively" pursues sex crimes that involve children. "These cases are devastating to children," he said. "They are life-altering cases."

Last year, in a previously undisclosed prosecution, he charged two other Patton Middle School boys with felony sex abuse for repeatedly slapping the bottom of a female student. Both pleaded guilty to harassment, which is a misdemeanor. Berry declined to discuss his cases against Mashburn and Cornelison...

...The outlines of the case have been known. But confidential police reports and juvenile court records shed new light on the context of the boys' actions. The records show that other students, boys and girls, were slapping one another's bottoms. Two of the girls identified as victims have recanted, saying they felt pressured and gave false statements to interrogators...


Turkey went out to vote yesterday and came back showing the Islamic (or Islamist) AKP with increased popularity. I was watching a one hour report about Turkey on HDNet the other night (Dan Rather's new outfit). The reporter, a youngish Turkish woman, was conducting various interviews with Turks, surveying their opinions on the AKP government and the nexus of politics and religion. The Turkish economy is quite good, and the AKP has kept their Islamist program mostly sub rosa (if you believe they have one more serious than they've shown so far), which has kept them tolerable and maintained their popularity. They have to tread a careful line in any case, as the army stands ready to remove the government to maintain the nation's secular government.

This post isn't exactly about that, though. I just wanted to get down a few thoughts about something.

So I'm watching this thing and the reporter starts talking to a young hijab-clad college student about the fact that on Turkish college campuses, the hijab is banned. She, being religious in a way that she believes mandates the hijab, has found various ways around this by wearing a hat over the scarf...that kind of thing. Secularism is taken seriously in official Turkey, and represents a major fault line in the political thinking of many Turks who see this as essential to the nation's continued prosperity. This is, after all, the country which was dragged out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire by a guy, Atatürk, who went so far as to ban the fez.

One is sympathetic to this girl's plight (certainly that's the intention of the presentation, as well) -- after all, the ideal of secularism is that a female like this should be able to get an education. Here is the law of unintended consequences at work however, as her religion is an obstacle, but not in the way one might expect. Atatürk is long dead, after all, and a free society is allowing her to choose to wear the hijab...so perhaps the university should just let the rule drop...

But, like in the case of a similar situation between the French public schools and the hijab, there are implications to such a thing. The Turkish, like the French, state considers maintaining a secular political life essential. The hijab is debatable as a religious requirement (though the requirements of religion in a free society are an individual choice, regardless of the original source of the rule), and is often imposed on individuals, either through force or peer pressure. It is also used as a visible political statement -- a staking out of turf and an indicator that "we are here"...a potential beachhead in an Islamist drift. A government whose success is built on resisting this drift can make a very good argument for meddling in this matter that is, on the surface, simply a matter of personal choice.

So just to say, "It's a freedom issue to wear and worship what you will," is a gross oversimplification and ignores the implications behind such "choices."

Another example from the same program. They interviewed a business owner -- the founder of a major Muslim fashion designer (I believe it was this company, Hasema). He made what, coming from any other fashion designer I've ever seen, would have been just a typical, cute remark. Going from memory here, the hostess said words to the effect that "Mr. X says he hopes to wrap all the women in the world in his Islamic fashions..." Uh oh. It's not quite the same as a Western hat designer saying they hope to see all the women in the world wearing his hats, or his swimsuits, or carrying his bags... That wouldn't even raise an eyebrow.

But there are implications to a Muslim clothing maker saying he'd like to see all the women in the world wrapped up in his designs, seeing as there are people out there who would like to see exactly that and are trying to see it out by force. There are implications to the statement that make it a deeper one than the surface would indicate.

Another example: The Muhammad Cartoons. Some said the newspapers who didn't print the cartoons were just being sensitive, and re-printing them would have simply been a matter of giving gratuitous offense. True enough...in a vacuum. But we do not operate in a vacuum, and when you add in the fact that there are threats of violence for the simple printing of such a thing, and free press and speech are at stake, suddenly not printing the cartoons becomes a positive choice with deeper implications than the simple view takes in.

You can go on and on with examples, not limited to the War on Terror. Name your poison -- late-term abortion, funding for Iraq, gay marriage...paper or plastic. There's always "more to the issue than appears at first blush" that turns seemingly simple issues, choices, and policies into agonizing, meaning-laden debates.

What are the implications?

Selective indeed:

When Jimmy Carter used the word “Apartheid” in the title of his book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, he knew it would deeply offend many Israelis, Jews and other supporters of Israel’s efforts to make peace with its Arab neighbors. Yet he deliberately chose that deeply offensive word precisely in order to provoke. As Jeffrey Goldberg of The Washington Post said, it was a case of “bait and switch,” since in the text of the book, the word Apartheid appears only three times and Carter goes out of his way to explain that what he believe Israel is doing “is unlike in South Africa – not racism….”

Carter was cautioned by friends not to use the inaccurate and provocative word Apartheid, but he insisted on putting it in his title, knowing full well how deeply offensive it would be to so many.

Contrast Carter’s insensitivity toward his Jewish readers with his extraordinary oversensitivity toward Muslim readers of Salman Rushdie’s controversial book The Satanic Verses...

...Instead, he condemned him for his “direct insult to the millions of Muslims whose sacred beliefs have been violated and are suffering in restrained silence…”...

Conclusion:

...Jimmy Carter’s sensitivities seem to have a gaping hole when it comes to Jews. There is a term for that.

Democracy Project has a report on a lobbying group of GWoT veterans focused on getting Washington to finish the job right: Vets for Freedom. I doubt these guys will get the MSM coverage of vets peddling horror stories and tales of doom, so I'm happy to help bump their Google rank a little.

Just a reminder...at Charles Levinson's blog, in a post centered on Lisa Goldman's Lebanon jaunt, this little bit of reminder on access journalism and how things work:

...Journalists absolutely do need Hezbollah approval to report from any of the interior villages, like Bint Jbeil, in the south. Read this July 10 posting on McClatchy journalist Hannah Allam’s blog. To report from the south you need 1) A Lebanese government press ID, 2) the permission of the Lebanese army, and 3) Hezbollah approval. The first two are easy, the last one, increasingly difficult (thanks in part to Rinat and Lisa). I’ve heard from correspondents who were there as recently as last week that you can get as far east as Qana, but after that there are Hezbollah checkpoints and Hezbollah minders everywhere. If you don’t have the proper Hezbollah approvals, they simply don’t let you speak with anyone. Friends of mine came back thoroughly frustrated with Hezbollah...

What to do, oh what to do?

...I am constantly doing battle with two competing inclinations - one to preserve my body (my physical well-being) and one to preserve my soul (my moral integrity). And, right now, the urges of my body seem to be getting the upper hand...

...HOW DO I maintain a sense of justice for Palestinians whose freedoms have been compromised under Israel's 40-year occupation and continue to advocate for their human rights, when I know they are being swept up by a pan-Islamism characterized by Islamist extremism? No wonder the Israeli Left has gone underground. Many of our cherished values have gone up in smoke.

We hate the security barrier because it steals Palestinian lands, divides villages and separates families, but we sleep better knowing our children no longer play Russian roulette with their lives when they venture out in public. We deplore targeted assassinations, but when the IDF kills terrorists on their way to fire rockets into Sderot, we breathe a sigh of relief - even if innocent Palestinians are caught in the cross fire...

[h/t: Eric D.]

Two Wiesenthal Center officials make the obvious case that giving Op-Ed space for Hamas lunatics is irresponsible. The Op-Ed space is a place for advocacy, and where the testing level of claims is far lower than the news pages (as bad they are). Why elevate the ideas of murderers?

LA Times: A byline for Hamas? It's unconscionable that The Times has given editorial credibility to terrorists.

Memo to Al Qaeda's Ayman Zawahiri: Forget the mule pack; give your video cam a rest. Our nation's leading media outlets are making an offer you can't refuse: If you can keep it to 1,250 words, the next time you want to communicate directly to the American people, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and New York Times want your byline...

...This is the issue before us -- should the nation's Op-Ed pages be thrown open to everyone? Are there no constraints or red lines? Whatever happened to the basic standards that civilized people are expected to live by? Like a belief in the reverence and sanctity of all human life; an abhorrence of violence toward others, especially innocents; the desire and ability to be reasonable and avoid extremes. Has Hamas suddenly embraced any of these values? Of course not. So why is The Times conferring a journalistic honoris causa degree on terrorists whose modus operandi is to deliberately target innocent civilians of all faiths on buses, in theaters and in shopping malls?

So what will the editors' answer be? That simply because Abu Marzook can turn a good phrase, mass murderers will from now on be entitled to their point of view?

Let's be clear: This issue is not about giving ink to Hamas' views. Their statements and actions deserve real-time coverage, just the way the statements and actions of Hitler and Stalin received coverage by the most prestigious newspapers in the world's most important democracy. But such people do not deserve the status of a sagely byline, because that destroys the distinction between honorable men and women bound by basic principles of humanity and the despots and terrorists eager to destroy those values...


Sunday, July 22, 2007

No seriously. And they haven't even blamed the Mossad (yet): Hamas embarrassed over footwear folly

Who stole the shoes of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh while he was attending Friday prayers in Gaza City?

This is the question that Hamas's security apparatus has been trying to answer since last Friday.

The incident has embarrassed Hamas, whose leaders tried on Sunday to play down the case by claiming that the theft was the work of a child.

Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip accused Fatah leaders in Ramallah of exploiting the incident to defame Haniyeh.

The shoes were stolen after Haniyeh and his entourage arrived at a mosque in Gaza City for Friday prayers...

...Following the prayer, Haniyeh discovered that his shoes were missing. His nervous bodyguard immediately began searching for the missing shoes and all worshipers were required to remain inside the mosque until the search was over.

"It was a very embarrassing situation," said a Palestinian journalist who was present at the scene. "Hamas sent reinforcements to the area and a frantic search for the shoes began."

The shoes were discovered minutes later in the possession of a Palestinian child who admitted that he had stolen them, a Hamas official in the Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post...

According to the official, the boy was released immediately without punishment. "We didn't take the case seriously because this is not the first time children have stolen shoes of worshipers during the prayers," he said...

...Another Hamas official told the Post he did not rule out the possibility that Fatah activists were behind the theft.

"These Fatah people are doing their utmost to discredit Hamas," he said. "It's possible that the boy was sent by some Fatah activists to steal the shoes to embarrass Hamas...

Priorities are important. It's all about the shoes.

Honest Reporting has a new report examining the ways, sometimes subtle, in which the BBC slants their news coverage: 6 Month Analysis of the BBC: The Subtle Bias. For instance:

  • Headline selection for stories in relation to violent incidents is inconsistent. 15% of stories about Palestinian violence named the aggressors while 60% of articles about Israeli operations accused Israel directly.
  • Greater attention is paid to Palestinian voices and opinions than Israeli ones. 19 out of 23 articles and picture series capturing the "man on the street" perspective were from the Palestinian viewpoint.

Some detail. For instance, in the section titled "Headlines and Grammatical Style in "Hard News" Articles":

Other headlines that describe Palestinian-initiated violence were either written without naming the aggressor at all, or written in the passive tense: "Gaza unrest gains own momentum" (May 16), "Gaza erupts in renewed violence" (May 17), "Threatened at a Gaza roadblock" (May 18), and "Fresh violence hits Gaza Strip" (May 19). In many cases, passive language described the event in the opening paragraph ("At least 20 people have been killed"). The two reported cases (in May, 2007) of Palestinian attacks against Israelis featured similar headlines: "Israeli dies in Gaza rocket raid" (May 21), "Casualties in Jerusalem shooting" (May 26). Technically, these articles are not incorrect. If an Israeli died after a rocket attack, it is not wrong to use a headline such as the one above.

However, in the vast majority of articles reporting on Israeli actions, the headlines were more direct: "Israel launches raids into Gaza" (May 17), "Fresh Israeli air strike on Gaza" (May 19), "Israel backs tougher Gaza action" (May 20), "Israel hits Hamas politician home" (May 21), "Israel strikes at Hamas in Gaza" (May 23), "Israel renews strikes across Gaza" (May 26), and "Israeli raids follow PM's warning" (May 28). While all these headlines appeared during the month of May (a month in which there was a great deal of reporting on violent attacks), the pattern is consistent.

In fact, during the first six months of 2007, out of 26 articles reporting on violent attacks perpetuated by Palestinian groups (on either Palestinians or Israelis), the group responsible for the violence was mentioned in only 15% of the cases. By contrast, in 38 articles where an operation was carried out by Israel, Israel was directly named in 60% of the headlines.


nahool_killers.jpg

Palestinian Media Watch has a new report on Nahoul's continuing adventures and more: Blood libels on Hamas TV (not yet online, in full below):

The promotion of hatred of Jews through their depiction as cold-blooded murderers is a recurring theme on Hamas TV. Over the weekend at least 2 broadcasts presented these images.

One was during the latest episode of the children's program with Nahool the Hamas Bee, in which Nahool twice reminds the children that the Jews are guilty of murder...

The following are excepts:

Nahool: “You and we will liberate the sad Al-Aqsa that is waiting for us. Yes, we will liberate Al-Aqsa from the filth of the criminal Jews, who killed my grandfather, and killed Farfur, and history will bear witness to that…”

Continue reading "The Nahoul Effect -- Hamas's Killer Jihad Bee"

I just changed the text font here to Geneva from the wonderful, all-purpose, but "I'm getting sick of staring at it," Verdana.

I also allowed underlines on links without hovering them (the usual web method). I've always liked the clean look of no underlines which to me make the text read as it's intended, but I've always wondered if people missed some of the links I put in due to the subtle color I use (something I may also change).

Feedback is always welcome. There are a lot more people than me looking at this place, and feedback takes the guess-work out of the design decisions that keep people coming back.

New flash, Boston Globe discovers that kids of non-English-speaking immigrants tend to end up speaking English unless forced. My favorite part was when the author tried sneaking in the idea that it's a matter of national security: Immigrant parents struggle to keep their children bilingual. My daughter speaks a second language thanks to the tireless efforts of my wife to make it so, but I would never ask other tax payers to pay for that, nor would I jeopardize my own child's future with English mastery.

The children of immigrants assimilate. That's the way it is.

That Jeff Jacoby, he's so tricky:

DID YOU hear about the religious fundamentalist who wanted to teach physics at Cambridge University? This would-be instructor wasn't simply a Christian; he was so preoccupied with biblical prophecy that he wrote a book titled "Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John." Based on his reading of Daniel, in fact, he forecast the date of the Apocalypse: no earlier than 2060. He also calculated the year the world was created. When Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning," he determined, it means 3988 BC.

Not many modern universities are prepared to employ a science professor who espouses not merely "intelligent design" but out-and-out divine creation. This applicant's writings on astronomy, for example, include these thoughts on the solar system: "This most beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and domination of an intelligent and powerful Being . . . He governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done."

Hire somebody with such views to teach physics? At a Baptist junior college deep in the Bible Belt, maybe, but the faculty would erupt if you tried it just about anywhere else. Many of them would echo Oxford's Richard Dawkins, the prominent evolutionary biologist, who writes in "The God Delusion" that he is "hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. . . . It subverts science and saps the intellect."...

Yet Cambridge hired this guy? Hmmmm...

Cinnamon Stillwell on a certain San Fran grocery coop:

...It seems freelance writer and Sephardic Jew David Alexander Nahmod got a taste of the sort of "open mindedness" and "diversity" San Francisco is famous for when he had comments such as "Jews need to be killed, it's the only way to get them off Palestinian land" and "You’re just a stupid Jew" hurled at him by a woman working at the checkout line of, you guessed it, Rainbow Grocery.

When Nahmod tried to complain to customer relations, he was told by the charming employee to "leave him alone or he'd 'whoop' him. So Nahmod took his discrimination complaint to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and, if it pans out, it looks like Rainbow Grocery will be the only one getting whooped around here. Especially since the reaction thus far of Rainbow's employees has been anything but professional...

I'm sure it's just Zionists they don't like.

I guess I'd call this a bad review: Answering the call of jihad

Here we go again: yet another American "scholar" who apologizes for an Islamist terrorist group that exists first and foremost to murder, maim and destroy. With Hezbollah: A Short History, Augustus Richard Norton, a Boston University professor of international relations and anthropology, has joined the ranks of dozens of US academics who inexplicably teach the kinder and gentler side of terrorists.

Norton, a former observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, states in his prologue that he seeks to provide "a more balanced and nuanced account" of Hizbullah, which he calls a "complex organization." Of course, there is little that is complex or nuanced about a group that receives an estimated $100 million a year from the radical Islamic regime in Iran to carry out violence, and has used violence as its raison d'etre dating back to the 1980s.

Indeed, Hizbullah exists to further the violent aims of Iran, to demonize and attack the US and to destroy Israel. Norton neglects to state this unequivocally and, for that reason, he should be publicly shamed...

...Norton's book tries to explain away this violence. He writes that the term "terrorist" is a "rhetorical bludgeon" used to "dehumanize radical or revolutionary groups."...

[h/t: Eric D]

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Report: Iran to provide Syria with $1b for new weapons

Iran will reportedly fund, at a price of $1 billion, new Syrian fighter jets, tanks, missiles against naval craft and will aid in Syria's nuclear and chemical weapons research programs. In return, Syrian President Bashar Assad has reportedly promised Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to cease the pursuit of peace talks with Israel in exchange for Iranian support of Syrian interests in Lebanon.

The sensitive details from the two leaders' meeting in Damascus earlier in the week were related to the Lebanese Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat by an anonymous Iranian source involved with the discreet meeting, and were brought to light on Saturday...

...The report went on to say that aside from economic, cultural and scientific cooperation, Iran will help to fund Syria's purchase of Russian and North Korean weapons. These weapons reportedly will include 400 advanced Russian T-72 tanks, 18 Russian Mig 31s, as well as eight M-8 helicopters and other military equipment.

In addition, Iran will reportedly help Syria build factories that would manufacture medium-range missiles, and will also supply Syria with Iranian-made tanks and armored personnel carriers. The Syrian navy will also reportedly be rearmed with Chinese-made C-801 and C-802 missiles, which are presently being manufactured in Iran.

The same type of missile struck an IDF Navy ship off the Lebanese coast last summer during the Second Lebanon War, killing four IDF sailors.

On the diplomatic front, Ahmadinejad reportedly promised Assad to help topple Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and to push sway on the Lebanese parliament with the aim of restoring pro-Syrian influence there. Assad, for his part, agreed not to enter peace negotiations with Israel.

Should we send in a dream team of Jimmy Carter, Nancy Pelosi, and John Kerry (or maybe just these guys), to straighten out this big misunderstanding, or is this just inevitable given the nature of the regimes in Iran and Syria and the way such leaders draw their legitimacy...legitimacy they'd bleed out because of the societies and expectations they've created amongst their followers if they ever actually sincerely pursued a peaceful course? You know what I think.

Update: Meanwhile, Amir Taheri notest that the Iranian economy is in the tank. Which brings the thought that a lot of the economic pressure and saber-rattling is having the effect of forcing Iran to spend massive money in war preparations while choking their economy from bringing in wealth -- think Soviet Union without the mass to continue for decades. Ideally, you could get a regime change without firing a shot.

Missing WWII Sailor is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Fireman 3rd Class Alfred E. Livingston, U.S. Navy, of Worthington, Ind. He will be buried on Saturday in Worthington.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Livingston was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma when it was attacked by Japanese torpedo aircraft and capsized in Pearl Harbor. The ship sustained massive casualties. Livingston was one of hundreds declared killed in action whose body was not recovered. In the aftermath of the attack, some remains were recovered from the waters of Pearl Harbor. One set of sailor’s remains was recovered and thought to be associated with the USS Arizona losses. However, when efforts to identify the sailor failed, it was inconclusive what ship he was assigned to and he was buried as an unknown in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as The Punchbowl.

In 2006, a Pearl Harbor survivor and researcher, contacted the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and suggested that the biological and dental information on file for the unknown sailor may be correlated with Livingston’s personnel file. JPAC’s analysts studied the documentation and found enough evidence to support the researcher’s findings that Livingston was actually recovered after the war even though he was originally listed as one of the hundreds of unrecoverable servicemen from the attack on Pearl Harbor. In February 2007, the grave for the unknown sailor was exhumed...


An article about the far-left's potential to push more Jews over to the Republicans: Left could push pro-Israel voters to GOP. Mostly run of the mill stuff that readers here will be familiar with, but what's most interesting are the comments which are full of people taking issue with the premise -- that the Democrats are at risk of losing some of their Jewish support -- by making the argument in favor of less support for Israel. There's a contradiction in there somewhere.

Friday, July 20, 2007

That's the Reuters headline, not mine. Freaky.

A man with an unusually tiny brain managed to live an entirely normal life despite his condition, caused by a fluid buildup in his skull, French researchers reported on Thursday.

Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed that a huge fluid-filled chamber called a ventricle took up most of the room in his skull, leaving little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue.

"He was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant," Dr. Lionel Feuillet and colleagues at the Universite de la Mediterranee in Marseille wrote in a letter to the Lancet medical journal.

The man went to a hospital after he had mild weakness in his left leg. When Feuillet's staff took his medical history, they learned he had had a shunt inserted into his head to drain away hydrocephalus -- water on the brain -- as an infant...

...So the researchers did a computed tomography (CT) scan and another type of scan called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They were astonished to see "massive enlargement" of the lateral ventricles -- usually tiny chambers that hold the cerebrospinal fluid that cushions the brain.

Intelligence tests showed the man had an IQ of 75, below the average score of 100 but not considered mentally retarded or disabled, either...


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Oh man, check it out. First, this is a debate on democracy between a liberal Egyptian intellectual and an Islamist. The liberal is in Egypt and the Islamist is in...London. Funny how harboring these people hasn't bought the UK much good will or safety.

But the best part is when the Islamist starts raving about how far Atatürk's Turkey has fallen because in the West people eat...you gotta watch: MEMRI TV: Egyptian Liberal Sayid Al-Qimni and London Islamist Hani Al-Sibai Debate Secularism and Fundamentalism in the Arab World

Following are excerpts from a debate between Egyptian liberal Sayid Al-Qimni and London Islamist Hani Al-Sibai, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 10, 2007:

Sayid Al-Qimni: The ballot box alone does not constitute democracy. The ballot box is just a box made of glass, and nobody knows what goes on inside. People put a piece of paper in it. By no means does the ballot box constitute democracy. We are the prey over which two types of [predators] compete: Ruling families and military governments, on the one hand, and Islamic dictatorships, on the other hand. These two types of dictatorships compete over us, the prey.

When the mufti of the government bans a certain book, the mufti of the [Islamist] groups bans a movie. The former places a ban on words, and the latter places a "ban" on an entire person, by killing him. The women wear a uniform like soldiers. You see them in the street, and they all look like soldiers. The government whips anyone who goes to the police station to file a complaint. The Islamists legitimize whipping. If you legitimize whipping, why are you angry when the government does it? How can you be angry at the government for whipping you, when you are the ones legitimizing the whipping? Whipping is part of Islamic law...

...As you've said, these people issue fatwas about saliva, about the urine of camels, about the urine of the Prophet, and so on... Look, all these people, this entire process, all the candidates, the people who won the elections, the people who helped them succeed – they all belong in the madhouse.

Hani Al-Sibai: Hamas cleaned up the filth and dirt that had existed in Gaza. Then they plotted against it. They want the elections to give rise to Mahmoud Abbases and Muhammad Dahlans...

...What has become of Kemal Ataturk's Turkey? Go to Europe, and you will see. Most of the Turks here are drug dealers, outcasts. Moreover, the English here have a custom. On Christmas, they eat what they call "turkey." Imagine, they call it "turkey," and they serve it as food at the table. This shows the kind of hatred that is deeply rooted in the West – they serve the Turkish, Ottoman, Muslim man as food at the table, for entertainment and as a sign that they have slaughtered him....


It's OK, though. He thought he was killing a Jew. The trouble here is the guy now goes to jail only to be put on the "grievance list" of prisoner/heroes: Life sentence for Palestinian who murdered Italian peace activist

Court sentences Ashraf Hanaisha to life in prison after convicting him of murdering Angelo Frammartino in August 2006. Hanaisha confessed to stabbing Frammartino, who was in Jerusalem establishing a summer camp for Palestinian children, saying he had thought the 24-year-old Italian peace activist was a Jew

The Judea Military Court on Thursday sentenced Ashraf Hanaisha to life in prison after convicting him of the murder of Italian peace activist Angelo Frammartino, to life in prison.

Hanaisha, a resident of the Jenin area who was affiliated with Islamic Jihad, confessed to stabbing 24-year-old Frammartino after mistaking him for an Israeli Jew.

The indictment filed against Hanaisha states that he decided to carry out the attack following the deaths of his cousins. On August 10 2006, he headed towards Jerusalem to realize his plan.

After asking passersby to direct him to a Jewish area where he could find work, Hanaisha spotted Frammartino walking along Sultan Suleiman street with three Italian friends.

Hanaisha trailed the four and when they stopped near a bus station, he took out a knife from his pocket and began stabbing Frammartino in the back. The knife remained imbedded near Frammartino's right shoulder while Hanaisha fled the scene.

Frammartino managed to remove the knife from his shoulder but then collapsed immediately afterwards and paramedics who arrived at the scene were unable to resuscitate him and he died of massive blood loss, just two short days before he was scheduled to return home...


What's really happening in Iraq? Nowhere better to find out than on Michael Yon's site: 7 Rules: 1 Oath

Today marks D+30 since the start of Operation Arrowhead Ripper. The initial goal of Arrowhead Ripper was to clear Baqubah of al Qaeda, and then attempt to “jump start” the city back into civic life, which had all but ceased while the terrorists were in control. Though relatively minor clearing operations are still underway, there is little combat in the city.

Today Colonel Steve Townsend, the American commander of the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, presided over a meeting with Iraqi Army officers and former insurgent leaders. The insurgent leaders who seem to be sincerely working toward peace are now collectively referred to as “the Baqubah Guardians.” I was allowed to attend the meeting, but was—understandably—not permitted to photograph or videotape the proceedings...


It's not just reporting what we see on an airline or a subway that we have to worry about, it's also writing about it. Robert Spencer discusses the case of Rachel Ehrenfeld and the legal tourist Saudi Sheik: Battling censorship

One of the most potent weapons that global jihadists have to advance their cause is one of the least-remarked: censorship. And Rachel Ehrenfeld, founder and director of the American Center for Democracy, stands today as one of the primary targets of this tactic — and, by her ongoing resistance, one of the foremost defenders of the freedom of speech against encroaching attempts at legal intimidation that, if successful, will effectively silence the anti-jihad resistance.

Billionaire Saudi financier Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz sued Miss Ehrenfeld in the U.K. for libel: in her book, "Funding Evil," she wrote that he was involved in funding Hamas and al Qaeda. Mr. bin Mahfouz denied that he had knowingly given any money to either. Taking advantage of British libel laws that place the burden of proof on the defendant, rather than the plaintiff, Mr. bin Mahfouz sued not in the United States, where Miss Ehrenfeld lives and published her book, but in Britain, where neither he nor Miss Ehrenfeld live and where his entire case depended upon a handful of copies sold in that country mostly through special orders from Amazon.com, and the appearance of one chapter of the book on the Internet, where it may have been read by British readers.

Britain's libel laws have given rise to the phenomenon of wealthy "libel tourists," who sue there on the slimmest British connection in order to ensure a favorable ruling...


Nice little interview by Ayaan Hirsi Ali with an anti-American Canadian interviewer:

I keep imagining John Kerry sitting in the same chair spending all his time apologizing, and here's this newcomer who does a better job representing America than people who have lived here all their lives.

[via LGF]

IfYouSee.jpg

Excellent photoshop from Right on the Right.

Debra Burlingame:

...We disarm ourselves when we succumb to political correctness - which encourages us to second guess our common sense and look the other way. It is an outrage that Pelosi and Reid would allow individuals to be punished when they come forward to protect us all.

Andrew McCarthy:

...In the senate, the measure fell short by three votes of the 60 needed. By the way: Barack Obama and Sam Brownback, showing real leadership as they run for the White House, did not bother to vote. Nor did Dianne Feinstein, though she is a member of the Judiciary Committee and frequently has lots to say on national security issues. Three votes were needed on an issue that pitted the American people against the netroots, and those three were nowhere to be found. Profiles in courage all.

All Republicans in the Senate except Brownback voted for the measure. Hillary Clinton, who is running for president and obviously is not suicidal, broke with her party and voted with the Republicans. So did Senators Bayh, Conrad, Dorgan, Landrieu, Lieberman, Nelson (of Nebraska), and Schumer. The remaining 39 Democrats were all nays. Call them the "Death Wish Caucus," doing the bidding of CAIR, which is backing the Flying Imams and their alleged right to sue Americans for reporting potential terrorist activity.

Update: Hot Air has video of Peter King discussing what's going on...blind partisanship, BDS, and bowing to special interests like CAIR.

Cox & Forkum:

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

An update on 'Josef Goebbels in a collar': Hundreds in Poland condemn priest's words as anti-Semitic

More than 700 people in Poland, including a former prime minister and foreign minister, signed an open letter condemning statements about Jews by a right-wing Roman Catholic priest who runs a controversial radio station.

A magazine had reported that Rev. Tadeusz Rydzyk, during a lecture earlier this year at a journalism school, described Jews as greedy and criticized President Lech Kaczynski for donating land in Warsaw for a Jewish museum.

Hundreds of people - including former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and former Auschwitz inmate and Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski - signed the letter, saying Rydzyk's comments revealed his contempt for Jews and fellow Christians...

...The letter, posted on the Web site of the Krakow-based Center for Culture and Dialogue, calls on Roman Catholic Church leaders to bring him in line with church teaching that anti-Semitism is a sin...


Good:

A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit filed by former CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband against Vice President Cheney and top administration officials over the disclosure of Plame's name and covert status to the media.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates said that Cheney and White House aides cannot be held liable for the disclosure of information about Plame in the summer of 2003 while they were trying to rebut criticism of the administration's war efforts levied by her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. The judge said such efforts were certainly part of the officials' scope of normal duties.

"The alleged tortious conduct, namely the disclosure of Mrs. Wilson's status as a covert operative, was incidental to the kind of conduct that defendants were employed to perform," Bates wrote in an opinion released this afternoon...


What are the Democrats trying to do here? Play to their far-left base? This is outrageous.

Andy McCarthy: Flying Imams -- Are Democrats Trying to Sink Pete King's Amendment?

In November 2006, six Islamic leaders were removed from a U.S. Airways flight in Minneapolis after they were observed acting suspiciously-including not sitting in their assigned seats, asking for seatbelt extenders although not needing them, and making anti-American statements. The men were questioned by authorities and then cleared. However, in March 2007, with the help of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the imams filed suit — not only against the airline but against the heroic "John Doe" passengers who reported their suspicious behavior.

Congressman Pete King (R., NY), the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, sprang quickly into action, concluding that the lawsuits were cheap attempts to intimidate everyday Americans from taking action to help protect our country. Congressman King introduced an amendment to protect passengers and commuters against frivolous lawsuits such as those filed by the imams. The language was overwhelmingly adopted by the House in March, 304-121, as an amendment to H.R. 1401, the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007...

...I am reliably informed that House Democrats are attempting, under the radar screen, to strip the King Amendment from the legislation based on an alleged technical violation of Byzantine House rules...

Also see The Washington Times: Democrats want 'John Doe' provision cut and Frank Gaffney: Keep the King Amendment!

Update: The Democrats have killed the effort. Michelle Malkin has a Senate roll call. No surprise, both our Massachusetts disgraces voted against it.

Nicholas Van Zandt has a look at jury selection and lists the defendants, including CAIR official, Ghassan Elashi: An Insider's View of the Holy Land Foundation Trial. This is going to be very interesting and important.

If you'd like to see real checks written to the Holy Land Foundation, click on some of the graphics in this post -- thousands of dollars from the Islamic Society of Boston to the HLF. Ah, I can hear the objection now, the Holy Land Foundation wasn't an official terrorist funnel at that time, you say? But it's a good thing they are official so now, or we'd be arguing that one man's funding of terrorism is another man's funding of freedom fighters -- and some even in the Jewish Community would be justifying that viewpoint for fear of offending -- as past ISB spokespeople have made it clear they don't even think Hamas is a "terrorist" group in other than the strictly technical/legal sense. Everyone's known for a long time what freewheeling, unaccountable money sent to "Palestine" has been used for.

Of course, perhaps it's all just Islamophobia.

Steve Emerson is also keeping an eye on this case, of course: HLF’s P.R. Blitz: “Islamophobia” and Apple Pie. His description of the way the defendants' families are being used reminds me of another jailed terror-master, Sami Al-Arian, and his supporters' attempts to use his family to garner sympathy.

There's a hearing in Washington on the matter. Reports Andy Bostom at American Thinker:

The bicameral Congressional Human Rights Caucus (CHRC) will hold a landmark hearing on Thursday July 19th regarding the hundreds of thousands of Jews forced to flee their communities in the Arab Muslim nations as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Oriental Jews suffered profound violations of their basic human rights under the Islamic regimes throughout North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf Region. This persecution -- including pogroms and expropriations -- caused their subsequent flight despite longtime residences in these countries. The Congressional Human Rights Caucus, under the auspices of its Chairman, Congressman Tom Lantos, will hear testimony from legal experts on the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries as well as from "living witnesses'" -- Oriental Jews who will testify as to their plight in, and flight from, the Arab countries where they were born.

The July 19, 2007 congressional hearing on Jewish refugees has an immediate, practical goal of providing US legislators with preliminary information before voting on House Resolution 185 and Senate Resolution 85. Under the proposed legislation, the US president would be required to instruct all official representatives of the United States that "explicit reference to Palestinian refugees be matched by a similar explicit reference to Jewish and other refugees, as a matter of law and equity." The historical legacy of this mass Jewish exodus elucidates the bare minimum equity provided in these resolutions...

Bostom then goes into detail on the anti-Jewish pogroms which started in the early 1940's and led eventually to the creation of the Jewish refugee problem. Excellent resource.

Simon Deng is now out of the hospital, according to the folks at the American Anti-Slavery Group (whose site seems to be offline at the moment) [previous items here and here]:

It's always difficult to see a friend in pain, especially when he has been a source of strength for so many. But when I visited Simon this weekend in the hospital, I was heartened to see for myself how high his spirits are. The wisdom in his eyes is deeper than ever after this experience, and yet, for most of the time I spent with him he was smiling and talking animatedly about the many old friends who have visited him these past two weeks--some of whom he hadn't seen in 20 years.

Simon returned home from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon; he called me and asked that I thank everyone on his behalf for all the support, prayers and love that have been sent his way:

"Thank you for all of your prayers. Your prayers have kept me going, and they mean a lot to me. Your loving support has gotten me out of the hospital and to where I am, giving me the energy to reach a full recovery."


Continue reading "Update on Anti-Slavery Activist Simon Deng"

Wow. What would we do without academic studies?

Most often Islam and related concepts and symbols are linked to terrorism and political violence abroad, the researchers say. During the period studied last February, there was little coverage of Islam as a religion and a culture.

At Tundra Tabloids:

Excuse the sarcasm, but these researchers have bananas for brains. Ever since the Iranian revolution which brought the Ayatollah Khomenie to power --especially the fatwa that was placed on the head of Salman Rushdie-- the world has been forced to deal with the phenomenon of radicalized, jihadist Islam.

OF COURSE Islam and its symbols are linked to terrorism, the only people who are currently involved in spreading an ideology --through terrorist acts-- around the world....are Muslims. I find it incredible that these Finnish researchers would be baffled over the connection...

Muslim political "activists" have had a tendency to make their own news on a regular basis for some time now. That kind of reporting tends to happen more often (and is quite a bit more important) than puff-pieces on food and culture.

Next thing you know, someone will be writing an entire book saying there's no liberal media bias.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Via Judith Apter Klinghoffer, here is a new one-hour documentary on this phenomenon.

For background, here is an interview with director Brooke Goldstein. NY Sun article, here. I'm about fifteen minutes in, and although readers will not be pleased with the framing that seems to propagate the myth that Ariel Sharon triggered the second intifada (it was planned before), this looks to be an important piece of work.

Klinghoffer has comment and more, here.

Here is the film:

[Update Feb. 6, 2011: Film now available here.]

Update: OK, I watched it. Get past the intro and this is an incredibly important film that should be seen widely. One watches these stories and as some of the people face the camera, you can almost feel pity -- you want to reach out and heal this with a little human contact...then they keep talking and the pity and sympathy drain away like blood on sand.

This was obviously filmed before Farfour the murder mouse made his appearance, as he would have been a natural include that never shows. Seeing these kids getting even more radicalized and indoctrinated in prison gives you the shivers when you imagine Israel doing prisoner releases as a way to ease the path the peace.

There are bonus videos available.

M. Zuhdi Jasser takes on Keith Ellison and his "Reichstag" talk: Congressman Ellison Carries the Islamists’ Water

I particularly liked this turn of phrase (in bold):

...Within days of his victory in Minnesota’s 5th District, he gave a speech at the North American Imams Federation in November 2006 as Congressman-elect Ellison. This is the same federation behind the ridiculous Islamist lawsuit against U.S. Airways and the reporting John Doe passengers. During his campaign he welcomed a fundraiser from Islamists on his behalf on August 25th, 2006 featuring James Yee and Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Ellison then traveled to Florida for a fundraiser sponsored also by known CAIR leadership including Parvez Ahmed (CAIR Board Chairman) and Ahmed Bedier (CAIR-FLA executive director)...

Well said here:

...With domestic plots of radical Islamists thwarted in Fort Dix and more recently at JFK airport, and then just this month in London and Glasgow, where are Congressman Ellison’s priorities? As an individual who has clearly not shied away from the Islamist collectivization of his politics and the Muslim community (ummah), he thus cannot conveniently separate his stance on Islamism from his politics. He has, in only six months, carried his Muslim identity into CAIR, the Imam Federation of North America, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Circle of North America, and now MPAC. These are all Islamist manifestations of what are in reality Muslim political parties in the United States.

Whether from ignorance or hateful political hyperbole, Congressman Ellison deserves censure of his colleagues. Some Muslims are working assiduously to depoliticize sermons which contribute to radicalization. Additionally, so too should Muslim politicians de-link their public Islamic identity from their politics. This is especially important when they have the dangerous predilection toward the unsubstantiated dissemination of extreme propaganda like Mr. Ellison exhibited...


Here's a very good piece appearing in today's Wall Street Journal written by the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review on the outrageous destruction that's been continuously perpetrated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: Biblical Destruction by Hershel Shanks (in full)

Within the last few days, a trench two-feet deep -- starting from the northern end of the platform where Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock sits -- has begun working its way toward the southern end of the Temple Mount. The work is being done without any regard for the archaeological information or treasures that may lie below. Destruction is particularly great in places where bedrock is no deeper than the trench. Some of the digging is being done with mechanical equipment, instead of by hand as a professional archaeological excavation would be conducted.

I don't know who are worse: the Muslim religious authorities digging up Jerusalem's Temple Mount, or the Israeli authorities who are allowing it to happen.

That the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust that serves as custodian of the site, should wish to install new electric and telephone lines is understandable -- provided that the necessary trench is first dug as a professional archaeological excavation. That is the required procedure everywhere in Israel before work can be undertaken at sites with archaeological significance. At the Temple Mount, even more care is required. This is the holiest site in the world to Jews, where the deeply religious fear to tread lest they step on the Holy of Holies: Solomon's Temple and the Second Temple built by Herod the Great once stood on this site. The site is sacred to Muslims as well: Known in Arabic as the Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, it is presently graced with the magnificent Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.


Continue reading "Biblical Destruction on the Temple Mount"

Foreign policy favorite explains why he agreed to join Rudy Giuliani's Foreign Policy team as senior Middle East advisor: I join Team Rudy:

I agreed to come on board for a simple reason: I believe that Mayor Giuliani gets it. He understands perfectly what is at stake in the Middle East, he sees precisely the forces arrayed for and against us, he knows this will be a long contest, and he has the resolve to see the United States prevail. I don't see that same depth of understanding in any of the other candidates...

Also, Giuliani has written a piece today for PJM: Better Judges, Better Courts, which also sounds the right notes:

As President, I will nominate strict constructionist judges with respect for the rule of law and a proven fidelity to the Constitution – judges in the mold of Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito and Chief Justice Roberts...

...To reduce the impact of the Trial Lawyer Tax, we should reform the system by adopting rules that discourage frivolous lawsuits, such as “loser pays.” The ideal would be the English Rule, in which the losing party pays the winning side’s legal fees. This may prove to be too much of a change for our society, but we should at least shift the burden of proof to the losing party to show good-faith basis for their lawsuit. And Judges should also be able to quickly dismiss frivolous lawsuits...

Sounds good to me, too. No Solomonia endorsement yet -- it's way too early, and there are other good candidates -- but we're looking good so far.

Actually quite an interesting example of cooperation if it comes off: Jerusalem Seeks Return of Ancient Tablet

Jerusalem's mayor has asked the Turkish government to return a 2,700-year-old tablet uncovered in an ancient subterranean passage in the city, sugggesting that it could be a "gesture of goodwill" between allies.

Known as the Siloam inscription, the tablet was found in a tunnel hewed to channel water from a spring outside Jerusalem's walls into the city around 700 B.C. _ a project mentioned in the Old Testament's Book of Chronicles. It was discovered in 1880 and taken by the Holy Land's Ottoman rulers to Istanbul, where it is now in the collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski made the request in a Thursday meeting with Turkey's ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, Lupolianski spokesman Gidi Schmerling said Friday. Lupolianski suggested the tablet's return could be a "gesture of goodwill" from Turkey, Schmerling said Friday.


Continue reading "Turkish officials to Mayor Lupolianski: "The tablet with Siloam Inscription will be returned to Jerusalem""

The guys at Pundit Review did a great job interviewing the father of Murtha-smeared Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt the other night. Listen and read here: Darryl Sharratt, father of exonerated Haditha Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt on Pundit Review Radio. Maybe John Murtha has a lawsuit in his future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Really enjoyed this Glenn and Helen podcast with Orson Scott Card, discussing his latest novel and some of the issues facing our politics today.The Glenn and Helen Show: Orson Scott Card on Empire and Division in American Politics. Recommended. (I also recommend downloading the audio to listen on your own, or use the player on the right, here on this page. The embedded player on the PJ page won't let you skip around if you need to.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

In Hamas gulls the media, again, Melanie Phillips takes note of the latest entry in Tim Butcher's string of rotten, tendentious reporting (a blot on an otherwise good British paper): Israel 'is breaking law with Gaza ban'. Readers understand where the fault for the problems in Gaza and the crossing closures lies, and Phillips provides the reminder link. Let's get to the heart of the matter. Butcher:

...Sari Bashi, the director of the Israeli human rights group, Gisha, said the country was inflicting "collective punishment" on the 1.5 million Palestinians by closing the main commercial crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip at Karni.

After Hamas routed Fatah security forces in May, Israel has kept the Karni crossing closed. The reason given is that to open it would expose Israeli workers to a security risk.

"This amounts to the implementation of a policy of collective punishment which is in breach of international law because it involves the intentional inflicting of suffering on a civilian population," Miss Bashi said...

Snore. Such rote denial of reality can only stem from a strategy. So who is Sari Bashi and what is Gisha (like the color scheme)? From here:

Gisha will promote long-term development of Palestinian society by changing Israeli policies to facilitate the free movement of people and goods necessary to invest in human and economic resources.

She might want to start changing Palestinian society by....changing Palestinian society and the policies of the terror gangs and tribal overlords that run it. Israelis aren't going to stop protecting themselves for the convenience of terrorists.

Gisha, whose name in Hebrew means "access," will bring the claims and narratives [Oh, the horror of the "narratives!"] of Palestinian institutions and individuals before Israeli courts (through litigation) [demopaths abusing and stressing the system] and before Israeli public opinion (through public information) [propaganda], to demonstrate the common Israeli-Palestinian interest in allowing young people to develop the skills they need to build a peaceful, prosperous society.

You'd have a greater effect if you tried swatting Nahoul first. I'll leave off fisking the rest of this. You can do the math yourself -- lots of projection and refusal to face facts...the biggest problems facing the Palestinian Arabs are the internecine violence, the looting, the lack of civil society building and the terror thugs and murderers that make checkpoints and the rest necessary in the first place. Anyway, we've gotten to the gut of it: "will bring the claims and narratives of Palestinian institutions and individuals before Israeli courts (through litigation)."

Abuse and stress the courts, do propaganda, of which, press conferences are an integral part. Along comes Oxfam, another highly-politicized NGO, and Tim Butcher to report the thing with brain-dead credulity -- just what's needed to provide Bashi's dog and pony show the credibility it needs to sling a little more BS on the pile.

Even the UN says:

Power outages have continued over the course of the last week and are now affecting most areas of the Gaza Strip. These cuts are expected to worsen unless there is resolution to the capacity deficits at the Gaza power station. Efforts are underway to deploy a technical maintenance team to service turbines at the power station.

Kerem Shalom has been subject to regular attack by Qassam rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian militias which resulted in the crossing being closed. Six rockets and 22 mortars were fired towards the crossing, including 10 mortars on 10 July.

More of the truth is here: Main Gaza goods crossing reopened, and here: Israel reopens Karni to avert Gaza flour shortage, and here: Israel opens Gaza commercial crossing for trial run, and even the UNRWA blamed Hamas: UN: Hamas must secure crossings:

Hamas's failure to secure the passages into the Gaza Strip drew criticism from an unlikely source on Thursday, John Ging, who heads the United Nation's Relief and Works Agency's operations in the Strip.

"It is very clear the responsibility lies with the Palestinians," Ging told The Jerusalem Post by telephone from Gaza, on a day when Palestinians fired mortar shells at two of the three open passages into Gaza.

Such activity, he said, "directly impacts on the humanitarian plight of the Palestinians living in Gaza."...

Gisha is funded in part by the Dutch Foreign Ministry, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and George Soros' Open Society Institute.

Not really, but the story by Mike Seccombe is about a recent Steve Emerson talk delivered out on Martha's Vineyard and that's the title it's given (and the tone matches). Ah well, can't have a little truth interfering with the perfect days of people who literally live on an island: Hebrew Center Lecture Promotes Extreme Views

The White House, the American Civil Liberties Union, that "idiot" the British Prime Minister, the United Nations, the FBI, CIA, State Department, New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, CNN, and the Internal Revenue Service.

It's not often you hear them - and a lot of other governments and organizations as well - lumped together as part of the same problem.

But they were on Wednesday night when self-made counterterrorism expert Steve Emerson addressed the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center Summer Institute, as the first of their speakers for 2007...

Damn, wish I coulda been there.

All the above-mentioned parties were, to some degree or other, put forward as dupes of an international Islamic terrorist movement by Mr. Emerson. Titled Defending the Homeland, his talk might equally have been called The End of Hope.

Not everyone he mentioned came out of it badly. He enumerated some half-dozen Islamic leaders around the nation and the world whom he did not consider extremists. But then he said they had no constituencies. And he lauded the Fox News network as intellectually honest.

Sounds about right. What's the problem?

Given Betsy Sheer's stated intent as the new chairman of the summer institute to bring more controversy to the speaker series, the first night could be counted as a success.

She introduced Mr. Emerson as being neither shy and retiring nor tactful, and he lived up to the billing. He was combative with questioners and unambiguous in his pronouncements.

He also had requested no press coverage.

Given that this piece appears in the Vineyard Gazette, it looks like he didn't get any.

...He said he first got into the business of counterterrorism on Christmas Day 1992, when he happened upon a meeting in downtown Oklahoma City of thousands of Islamic activists...

You sure that wasn't Kansas City? Check the comments to this post for video of that one -- a meeting of the Islamic Association for Palestine, the precursor to CAIR. It is truly is shocking.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

memrinahoul.jpg

Holy crap, even the little Jihad host looks horrified.

MEMRI TV:Nahoul the Bee Replaces Farfour - Hamas Mickey Mouse - and Vows to Continue on His Path of Martyrdom and Jihad

On Hamas Al-Aqsa TV, Nahoul the Bee Replaces Farfour the Mickey-Mouse Character, Vows to Continue Farfour's Path of Martyrdom, Jihad

Following the "martyrdom" of Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV's Mickey Mouse-like character Farfour [Farfur] at the hands of an Israeli soldier on the Pioneers of Tomorrow children's show, the show introduced a new character, Nahoul the Bee, who vowed to continue in Farfour's path of "Islam, heroism, martyrdom, and the mujahideen."

The following are excerpts from the Pioneers of Tomorrow show featuring Nahoul the Bee, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on July 13, 2007.

Saraa, child host: Who are you, and where did you come from?

Nahoul the Bee: I am Nahoul.

Saraa: Nahoul who?

Nahoul: I'm Nahoul, Farfour's cousin.

Saraa: What do you want?

Nahoul: I want to continue the path of my cousin Farfour.

Saraa: How do you want to do this?

Nahoul: I want to be in every episode with you on the Pioneers of Tomorrow show, just like Farfour. I want to continue in the path of Farfour – the path of Islam, of heroism, of martyrdom, and of the mujahideen. Me and my friends will follow in the footsteps of Farfour. We will take revenge upon the enemies of Allah, the killer of the prophets and of the innocent children, until we liberate Al-Aqsa from their impurity. We place our trust in Allah.

Saraa: Welcome, Nahoul...


And I mean to the last detail.

Hey, I know the whole Islamic Society of Boston drama is a little complex -- the lawsuits, the sweetheart land deal, the double-dealing city employee, the Middle East connections to radical American and Jew haters... But really, if you don't have the time or the cranial capacity to digest the thing, wouldn't it be better to remain silent altogether? Oh sure, I could understand a random blogger or two having a partisan go at the thing from time to time, but don't we expect more from a major MSM outlet like The Christian Science Monitor? Hahaha! I jest, I jest.

Staff writer Jane Lampman (seen here holding out anti-Zionists like Sabeel's Naim Ateek and ICAHD's Jeff Halper as some sort of antidote to Christian friends of Israel), took up the task and landed four online pages detailing the background of the case: Boston mosque rises above the fray. OK, not "detailing," exactly, more like "making a hash of."

For real information on the case:

- The Silencing

- Defending Against the Legal Jihad -- A Conversation with Attorney Jeff Robbins

Lampman's piece is one of singular garbage, riddled with sins of omission so obvious they can only be the intentional product of a reporter on a mission. This is wonderful, because I haven't done a real paragraph-by-paragraph fisking in a long while, and I was looking for just this type of opportunity to crack my blogging knuckles and get down to it. It's long, I know, but aw heck, pixels are cheap.

I happen to have recently acquired a stack of materials from the case -- checks from the Islamic Society of Boston to Hamas front group The Holy Land Foundation, bank statements showing massive transfers to the ISB's Bank of America account from groups and individuals in Saudi Arabia, as well as statements showing millions deposited into their "secret" New Hampshire account during a period they were supposedly hard up for cash. I have liberally sprinkled samples from this stash of documents into this entry, and each one may be looked upon as a little cyber-"kick me" note taped to Lampman's back. In fact, I have so much of this stuff I will likely create a future post just to aggregate it -- and not all of it, either, since scanning it all would take way too much time. Believe me, you'll get the picture. Let's get to it:


A check from the Islamic Society Boston to the Holy Land Foundation in the amount of $8680.00 for "Palestine"

More than 2,000 people gathered in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood last month for a highly symbolic moment – the capping of the minaret on a new mosque. A joyous occasion, the event sparked greater emotion than usual because construction of the Islamic Society of Boston's Mosque and Cultural Center had been stalled for more than two years – and had seemed in jeopardy. Controversy over allegations that the mosque had ties to terrorism had mushroomed into lawsuits and poisoned relations among the city's Jewish and Muslim communities.

The lawsuits have now been settled, thanks in part to interfaith efforts for more than a year to bring the litigants together.

Settled? More like dropped outright. The defendants in the case refused to agree to anything, and, in fact, The David Project's efforts to get the City of Boston to release its paperwork on the matter continue. As we'll see in the rest of the article, Lampman makes a major issue out of the "interfaith" groups that flitted about the periphery, but they never had any discernible impact on the matter, other than the negative one of providing moral cover for this Muslim Brotherhood-connected project. The defendants never paid them any mind. This struggle is not about faith, it's about Islamist politics.

Continue reading "Christian Science Monitor Gets Islamic Society of Boston Exactly WRONG"

I was reminded of Franck Salameh's description of politicized Arabic language classes at Middlebury -- Arab Nationalism Run Rampant at Middlebury -- while reading this article on a new federally-funded Arabic language class at Charlestown High School: Speaking up. It sounds like a very good idea. We need more Arabic speakers.:

Arabic words for teacher, student, and homework decorate metal classroom doors. The 28 letters of the alphabet dot rows of orange lockers in the dimly lighted halls. The fourth floor of Charlestown High School, a five-story brick fortress that abuts two housing projects, has been transformed into a slice of the Middle East for five weeks.

Speaking halting Arabic, students use Iraqi dinars to buy granola bars and chewing gum in a makeshift dukan. They occasionally feast on kebabs , falafels, and grape leaves as Lebanese music fills their classroom. They watch sexy dancers in Egyptian music videos performing moves they are surprised to see on something other than MTV.

For more than five hours a day, six days a week, the 29 Boston public school students are learning Arabic and studying Middle Eastern history, geography, and culture as part of a national initiative to ramp up the number of Arabic speakers. The new, federally funded program, which is in only eight schools nationwide, is shattering many stereotypes of the Middle East that the students gleaned from coverage of the war in Iraq.

Saturated by images of Muslims and Arabs as terrorists since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the students say they have the unique opportunity to adopt more expansive views of a volatile, oil-rich region that will only grow in importance...

...On July 7, the students visited the Islamic Society of Boston, a mosque in Cambridge's Central Square, where they sat in a circle on the carpet and learned about Islam from two mosque members. Peberlyn Moreta, 16, said she imagined that the women would be veiled head to toe, and was surprised to see only their heads covered...

Language...great. Culture? I'm all for exploding stereotypes, but just telling kids that "they're just like us, so don't worry" isn't preparing them for anything realistic. It is a huge mistake. Then there's this:

...Across the hall , another group of students watched the film "Divine Intervention," a 2003 comic tragedy about love on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli border.

They giggled at the repeated scenes of a Palestinian woman holding hands with her lover. But the students quickly turned somber when their teacher, Lama Jarudi, delved into why some people martyr themselves in suicide bombings...

Oh my, would I like to hear the reasons given as to why...considering what's implied about Jarudi's background:

Jarudi, also an economics teacher, said she has received mixed feedback from family and friends about teaching Arabic.

"They fear that I'm helping Americans train more spies," said Jarudi, who lived in Lebanon until age 9. "I feel quite the opposite. Anyone who learns the Arabic language inherently has to understand the culture a little bit."...

Hopefully she's not assuring them that she's not training new spies by telling them instead that she's indoctrinating the American kids. There isn't enough here to tell for sure, of course.

George Galloway's past is finally catching up with him (took long enough): Galloway to be suspended from Commons over Iraq

GEORGE GALLOWAY, the MP who campaigned against the Iraq war, is to be suspended from parliament over his links to the United Nations oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

The parliamentary standards watchdog will rule this week that Galloway failed properly to declare his links to a charitable appeal partially funded from money made by selling Iraqi oil under Saddam Hussein, according to a source close to the inquiry. The one-month suspension for Galloway, often referred to as “Gorgeous George”, is one of the most severe given to an MP.

Galloway, who was expelled from Labour, is now an MP for the Respect party. He may also be asked to apologise to the Commons for his behaviour but will launch a robust defence of his conduct. He denies any wrongdoing...

...In 1998 Galloway founded the Mariam Appeal, which campaigned for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq. The appeal, which paid Galloway’s wife and funded international travel for the MP, received almost £450,000 from Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian businessman who was also a trustee of the appeal. It subsequently emerged that more than half of this money came from the proceeds of Iraqi oil sales. An investigation by the American Senate alleged that the Mariam Appeal was used by the Iraqi regime to finance Galloway.

However, the MP strenuously denies that he was complicit in any such arrangement and claims he is the victim of a smear campaign. He says he had no idea that the money donated had come from Iraqi oil sales.

The Mariam Appeal, which raised more than £1.4m, has never filed any accounts and the parliamentary authorities have been unable to account for some of the expenditure.

[h/t: Adam Holland]

Saturday, July 14, 2007

In reading about 2008 presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's recently announced foreign policy team, I was quite impressed with the lineup. I was particularly pleased to hear of the inclusion of Middle East studies professor (one of the good guys) Martin Kramer, whose work has become very inspiring to my own at Campus Watch.

Of course, the announcement also resulted in a flurry of the usual anti-Semitic...I mean, anti-Zionist, suspects blogging away about "Giuliani, the Likud Candidate." But Rudy's awareness that the GWOT and hatred towards Israel and Jews are inexorably linked certainly does not disqualify him in my book. In fact, he's one of the few Republican politicians to have made that connection explicitly clear on a number of occasions.

Continue reading "Rudy and The Jews"

Several months ago, I wrote a column for SFGate titled "Will Franken: Comedy, Not Political Correctness" about a San Francisco Bay Area comedian whose work I very much admire. I would classify Franken more as an independent thinker than anything else, but his hawish and accurate take on radical Islam combined with his satirical approach to the suicidalism and irrationality of Western liberalism definitely appeals to someone with my political proclivities.

Here's an excerpt from my article on the subject:

When it comes to comedy in San Francisco, stale Bush jokes and nefarious Rove references all too often are the order of the day. For those in search of something different, comedian Will Franken (no relation to Al Franken) is a breath of fresh air. I went to see Franken's one-man show, "Grandpa, It's Not Fitting," at The Marsh theater last week and was blown away.
Continue reading "Comedian Will Franken Takes Center Stage in San Francisco"

Friday, July 13, 2007

Kobayashi Maru: Fire the Police to Promote Public Safety: The Logic of 21st Century Liberal Reactionaries

...So in Iraq we remove the only force even attempting to keep the NYT's own long list of terrible things from happening and... what? The UN will come to the rescue? Tell that to the Rwandans, or countless others whose last flickering vision on earth--as their blood seeped out into the ground from a machete wound, or as they pitched forward into a mass grave from a shot to the back of the head--was of a light blue helmet keeping a careful, peaceful, un-biased watch, with nothing but words to back up their indignation and concern.

If this is what passes for logic at the NYT then it's a strange one indeed. Strange, that is, if those subscribing to said logic want to call themselves 'progressive' or regard themselves as 'enlightened'--as the paper and its readers tend to like to do. It's a logic in which humanistic, and yes liberal principles are completely turned on their heads in favor of something small and frightened and selfish and more than a little ashamed of itself...

Yeah, well, what do you expect from the newspaper that buried the Holocaust on the back pages?

R.G. Combs takes note of the current fighting in Lebanon: Where are the dead children this time?

...A few thousand civilians stayed? Look at the photo above and the others at the Reuters story linked above. That kind of bombardment of a densely-populated area has been going on for days. Don't you suppose the "more than 20" reported killed is the tip of the iceberg? Why are the AP and Reuters not even bothering to provide an accurate count of the reported civilian casualties, much less an estimate of actual civilian casualties?

Why are civilian casualties barely worth noticing this summer? Last July, when Israel's precision strikes against Hezbollah occasionally produced civilian casualties, AP and Reuters cranked out an endless series of breathless stories and photos documenting every last corpse and grieving woman. Where are the "green helmet man"? Why are AP and Reuters so much less interested in civilians killed by Lebanese than civilians killed by Israelis?...

Charles Johnson: Hama Rules in North Lebanon

...And if this were Israel attacking a Palestinian camp with heavy weaponry and wiping out hundreds of people, imagine the screams of outrage we’d hear from media and “human rights” groups. When it’s Arabs killing Arabs, the silence is deafening...

A lengthy examination of "Realism" and Middle East policy at Augean Stables: On Just What Not to Do: The Honor-Shame Logic of Walt-Mearsheimer.

As a quick comment, the W/M thesis has a disturbing superficial appeal, but as pointed out in the linked piece, we'd stop being America the moment we sold out friends and stopped considering principle in our decision-making. The contrarian will point out that we did during the Cold War, and still often do, things which, on the surface, appear as sacrificing American values. The truth is, however, that we did what we did because we felt we had to in the short run in standing up for our principles in the fight against Communism. The easier path may indeed have been a withdrawal into ourselves and into isolation, hoping the world would simply take care of itself. Life doesn't work that way. Large nations make horrible hermits.

Yesterday on the moderated Islamic Society of Boston/Muslim American Society email list, came an invitation to Sabeel's upcoming Boston conference. This one was sent by the execrable Karin Friedemann (look for comments by hubby Joachim Martillo in the comment thread here to get a sense of what this duo is all about). Friedemann has been a regular to the list lately, actually, and has been ensconced within the community, even offering paid positions for those who will assist her in her "reporting."

Those misguided souls who have assisted in providing cover for this group currently in leadership at the new Mosque will be pleased to note the politics your help is providing a base of support for. Guests at the Sabeel "Apartheid Israel" event will include Sabeel founder Naim Ateek, a Christian throwback who has used traditional deicide imagery to bash Jews, Alison Weir, proprietor of the anti-Semitic "If Americans Knew" web site, John Dugard, who Eye on the UN called, "The UN's Spokesperson for Suicide-Bombers", Jeff Halper, the "one man NGO," Ali Abunimeh, of Electronic Intifida (who was just at the same "dismantle Israel" event as Joseph Massad), David Wildman, of the Methodist Church whose "Biased Divestment Report 'Borders On Anti-Semitism'" according to the ADL, and Desmond Tutu, who has traded in his prior credentials in fighting apartheid for finding it where it doesn't exist.

BTW, yes, I am aware of Jane Lampman's laughable Christian Science Monitor piece on the mosque. Crystal ball says an in-depth fisking is in the future.

Biblical Archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer has some interesting comment on the recent Temple Mount digging along with maps: Digging the Temple Mount - how not to do it!. A snip, but see link for maps:

It was reported today that the Islamic Wakf is digging large trenches on the Temple Mount. This is, of course, a very sensitive area, as the bedrock or any remains of the Herodian pavement would be located about 1 meter (3 feet) below the surface. Zachi Zweig, a Jerusalem archaeologist, protested that the Israel Antiquities Authorities allowed this to go ahead without archaeological supervision, which indeed is outrageous. Zachi observed that “Grey earth was removed from the dig, which indicates that it is archaeologically significant. In addition, signs of ancient architecture was exposed beneath the current platform slabs. It should be mentioned that the bedrock level at this location is very close to the current platform.”...

Speaking of Columbia's own, appears Joseph Massad was in Spain the other day, discussing ways the Jewish State could be dismantled and substituted with a Utopian land of democratic (Karl Marx version) ideals...of course if this crew only gets through the first half of that, they'll probably be satisfied. In fact, mighty curious that there are no states within a 1000 mile radius (or probably anywhere, frankly) that live up to the standard these people yap about. A press release at Electronic Intifadah: Statement: One country, one state. Bonus appearance by ex-Israeli, current Brits Ilan Pappe and Oren Ben-Dor on the list of participants.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Here's a call to Israeli readers to help some (non-Jewish) newcomers: MITZVA - Refugees from Darfur

As of last Monday night some 45 refugees from DARFUR have arrived in Jerusalem and are in urgent need for donations of –

Mattresses, Sleeping bags, sheets etc.

If anyone can spare these items, or anything else that might help them spend their nights in Jerusalem
-please call:

050-324 1522

*For more information, please contact the number above.

Simon Shocket
050-324 1522
simon_shocket@yahoo.com

[h/t: Stephanie Gutmann]

Of course, it's all just a ploy by the Zionists to ruin Sudan's reputation.

International condemnation! The European press aflame! Riots across the Arab World! Incident a "stain forever!"

Yeah, right: Palestinian 'collaborator' found dead in Hamas prison

A Palestinian man detained by Islamic Jihad members in the Gaza Strip last week on suspicion of "collaboration" with Israel has been found dead in a Hamas-controlled prison, sources in Gaza City said Wednesday.

This is the first case of its kind since Hamas took full control over the Gaza Strip last month.
They said the man, Fadel Duhmush, was caught after being secretly filmed by Islamic Jihad activists as he infiltrated the Gaza Strip with the help of IDF soldiers.

The two-minute film, which was posted on the Islamic Jihad Web site, showed an IDF jeep approaching the security fence along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Duhmush is seen dressed in an IDF uniform as he gets off the jeep and approaches the fence, escorted by two soldiers.

Before jumping over the fence, he is seen changing from his IDF outfit into civilian clothes. The soldiers then collect the military uniform and leave the area.

Islamic Jihad officials in the Gaza Strip claimed that Duhmush was a former member of the group recruited to work for the Israeli security services.

They said it was the first time that a "collaborator" had been caught "red-handed."

Duhmush was being held in the main prison in Gaza City, where he was reportedly subjected to brutal torture during his interrogation, the sources told the Post. They said the circumstances of his death remained unknown.

A spokesman for Islamic Jihad claimed that the 31-year-old Duhmush had committed suicide in his prison cell.

The spokesman said his body was discovered early Wednesday morning and was transferred to Shifa Hospital because the victim's family refused to bury him out of fear for their lives.

A Palestinian journalist in Gaza City said Duhmush had been handed over to Hamas a few days after he was captured by Islamic Jihad members. "I heard from people who saw the body that he had been brutally tortured in the Hamas prison," he said.


The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put up a useful resource, here. Better late than never...

A very brief video-fisking of Norman Finkelstein at Brandeis. The creator appears to be getting a hang of the editing software more than anything else (thought the concept is solid).

Leads to much thrashing in the YouTube comments.

60 years ago yesterday, the Exodus 1947 left Marseille, France for Palestine with a cargo of 4515 Jewish war refugees:

[It] arrived at Palestine shores on July 18. The British Royal Navy trailed the ship from very early in its voyage, and finally boarded it some 20 nautical miles (40 km) from shore. The boarding was challenged by the passengers (the ship was in international waters where the Royal Navy had no jurisdiction), and so the British soldiers used force. Three shipmates, including 1st mate William Bernstein, a U.S. sailor from San Francisco, died as a result of bludgeoning and several dozen others were injured before the ship was overtaken. The British then sailed the ship into Haifa port, where its passengers were forcefully removed to three deportation ships.

The passengers were shipped back to, or at least toward, France. Nota bene:

...When the deportation ships arrived at Port-de-Bouc near Marseilles on August 2, the emigrants refused to disembark, and the French refused to cooperate with British attempts at forced disembarkation. Realizing that they were not bound for Cyprus, the emigrants conducted a 24-hour hunger strike, refusing to cooperate with the British authorities. That night an anti-Jewish riot broke out in Liverpool in which Jewish-owned shops were smashed and there were random attack on Jews. Over the next few evenings attacks spread from Liverpool to Manchester and London with the authorities forced to place police guards in Jewish areas across Britain. Within a few days The Times reported that attacks on Jews were now taking place in daylight as well as at night. the Mayor of Liverpool appealed for calm claiming that "not only property owned by Jews is being damaged..." (The Times page 4, August 5th 1947)...

(Sound familiar? It's the same thing the Nazis said to reign in Kristallnacht.)

After three weeks, the ships were sailed to Hamburg, Germany which was then in the British occupation zone and where the emigrants could be forced off the ships and back to DP camps in Lübeck-Pöppendorf. Although most of the women and children disembarked voluntarily, the men had to be carried off by force...

...Then Lt. John Donaldson [6], who served in the British 6th Airborne Division that sent a detachment to escort the deported immigrants, is quoted (Maariv, October 17, 2005) as saying that the escorting soldiers never returned to their units in Palestine. Apparently, the ordeal had such an emotional impact on them that a near mutiny erupted among them. The British army decided not to file any charges and closed the matter quietly, in order to prevent a political uproar in the UK.

The ship's ordeals were widely covered by international media, and caused the British government much public embarrassment, especially after the refugees were forced to disembark in Germany...

BTW, one may recall Columbia's Joseph Massad writing: "Exodus tells the story of the Zionist hijacking of a ship from Cyprus to Palestine by a Zionist Haganah commander."

Maybe the 60 year anniversary is a good time to review the history just a bit.

Israel Matzav has video from the site of the digging on the Temple Mount: Where is the outrage?

From the archaeologist who shot the video:

This video was filmed on the third day of the construction of a trench in the Dome of the Rock exterior platform (The location of the biblical temple). The bedrock and the archaeological remains at part of the location of the trench are just 2-3 feet deep. The trench itself at some points reached the depth of 2.5 feet.

The video was taken at the end of this construction after the trench was refilled again.

The police prevented us from picking up any artifacts or from even bending over the soil to examine the artifacts closely. In the video a police men is sent over Dr. Eilat Mazar to make sure she won't pick up any archaeological artifacts, all at a time while a small tractor maneuvers the earth with no supervision.

Outrageous.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

memriarafataids.jpg

From one terrorist to another [click link for video]...

MEMRI TV: PFLP General Command: I Was Told by Abu Mazen's Team that Arafat Died of AIDS

Following is an excerpt from an interview with Ahmad Jibril, Secretary-General of the PFLP General Command, which aired on Al-Manar TV on July 5, 2007:

Ahmad Jibril: When Abu Mazen came to Damascus with his team, I asked them: "What happened to the investigation into the death of Abu Ammar [Arafat]? The Israelis killed him. He was my colleague ever since 1965 and used to sleep at my home. He and I followed the same path." Is it conceivable that when Rafiq Al-Hariri was killed, all hell broke loose, even though he was just a merchant in Saudi Arabia, who later entered politics, whereas the death of Yasser Arafat, who for 40 years had been carrying his gun from one place to another, is not investigated? Is this conceivable? They were silent, and then one of them said to me: "To be honest, the French gave us the medical report that stated that the cause of Abu Ammar's death was AIDS." I am not saying this, they did. Now they pretend that they miss Yasser Arafat, and complain that [Hamas] entered his house in [Gaza] and so on... I say to every honorable member of the Fatah movement that he should be happy that we got rid of the plague, which had been imposed upon them and upon the Palestinian people. The Fatah movement now has an opportunity to renew itself.


Worse than you think:

LONDON, England (AP) -- Female genital mutilation, commonly associated with parts of Africa and the Middle East, is becoming a growing problem in Britain despite authorities' efforts to stamp it out.

The Metropolitan Police, Britain's largest police force, hopes a campaign beginning Wednesday will highlight that the practice is a crime here.

To make their point, police are offering a 20,000-pound (euro29,500; US$40,000) reward for information leading to Britain's first prosecution for female genital mutilation, Detective Chief Superintendent Alastair Jeffrey said.

In Britain, the problem mostly involves first-generation immigrants from Africa and the Middle East.

Police say they do not have comprehensive statistics about the number of victims. But midwife Comfort Momoh, who specializes in treating them at London hospitals and clinics and who works with police, told the news conference she treats 400-500 victims every year.

Arranging or carrying out the procedure -- in Britain or abroad -- is a criminal offense punishable by up to 14 years in prison, but no one has been prosecuted since it was banned under British law in 2003, Jeffrey said. Police estimate up to 66,000 girls in Britain face the risk of genital mutilation.

"The timing of this campaign is for one good reason: so we can get in before the summer holidays, a time when young girls are taken abroad and subjected to genital mutilation," he told a news conference on Tuesday...

...Authorities believe the number of genital mutilation cases peaks in the summer, because the extended holiday gives girls more time to recover -- thereby making it easier for those responsible to cover up their actions.

Female genital mutilation usually involves the removal of the clitoris and other parts of female genitalia. Those who practice it say it tames a girl's sexual desire and maintains her honor.

It is practiced by Muslims and Christians alike, deeply rooted in the Nile Valley region and parts of sub-Saharan African, and is also done in Yemen and Oman. Through migration, the practice has spread to Western countries like Britain.

There's video.

Muslim Dunkin' Donuts Owner Can Sue Over Pork, Appeals Court Says

LOS ANGELES — A discrimination lawsuit filed by a Muslim Dunkin' Donuts franchisee who was not allowed to renew his contract with the chain because of a refusal to sell pork products can proceed, a U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The decision reversed an Illinois federal court judge's 2004 ruling that rejected Walid Elkhatib's argument that Dunkin' Donuts discriminated against him based on his race by making the sale of breakfast sandwiches with bacon, ham or sausage a mandatory part of his franchise agreement.

According to court papers, Elkhatib, a Palestinian Arab, has been a Dunkin' Donuts franchisee since 1979, before the company began selling any pork.

Once breakfast sandwiches were introduced in 1984, Elkhatib's Chicago-area Dunkin' Donuts outlets sold them without bacon, ham or sausage for nearly 20 years. The company did not object, even providing him with a sign that said "Meat Products Not Available."

In 2002, however, Elkhatib was told he would not be able to relocate a store or renew his franchisee agreements due to his failure to carry the full product line.

Elkhatib sued Dunkin' Donuts and its former parent company, Allied Domecq, later that year, claiming that the chain's refusal to renew his franchises constituted racial discrimination.

In an opinion Tuesday, U.S. Circuit Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote that because three other Dunkin' Donuts franchisees in the area were allowed to continue operating without selling breakfast sandwiches for reasons other than the owners' religious views such as space or lease restrictions, that there was sufficient evidence to take the suit to trial...

Who cares? DD has a right to determine how its brand is used. Seems to me they were nice to let the guy do what he wanted in his current locations for as long as the franchise agreement lasted. Maybe they decided they make a lot of money off the sandwiches and don't want this guy's stores (plural, apparently) taking spaces a full-service shop under different ownership could bring in. If you have dietary restrictions, or insist on restricting other peoples' diets (as in this case), you just have to accept that there are certain roads that are closed to you. Time to change the signage, pal.

Relations between the Catholic Church and the Jews are mostly good these days. There are individual exceptions. The Wiesenthal Center alerts: Father Rydzyk, Jew-Hating Media Mogul Leverages Antisemitism to Cause Political Crisis in Poland father_tadeusz_rydzyk.jpg

Once again, antisemitic priest, Father Tadeuscz Rydzyk (pictured) is leveraging Jew-hatred to promote his extremist agenda in Poland. Speaking to university students, the media mogul who heads Radio Maryja has created a major political crisis by seeking to scapegoat Jews, and by denouncing Poland’s President, Lech Kaczynski, as a “fraudster who is in the pockets of the Jewish lobby.”

Rydzyk went on to accuse the tiny Polish Jewish community of “grafting $65 billion from Poland" under the pretext of “Jewish pogroms” in the 1930’s saying, “They [the Jews] will come to you and say, 'Give me your coat! Take off your trousers! Give me your shoes!'"...

...Three million of Poland’s estimated 3.25 pre-World War II Jewish population, the largest Jewish community in the world, were murdered in the Nazi Holocaust. The Jewish Community’s property was never returned after World War II by the Communist regime. Current efforts to address the Restitution issue have led to Rydzyk’s outrage.

Father Rydzyk’s extremism was previously criticized by Pope Benedict XVI. His radio station has hosted antisemites and Holocaust deniers. Join the Wiesenthal Center’s call to the Catholic Church to dismiss this “Josef Goebbels in a collar.”

Click here to sign and forward a petition asking for his dismissal.

Remarkable what they put up with:

Arabs living in Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood will only sell their homes to other Arabs, going so far as placing signs in the post-'67 Jewish neighborhood - named after Ze'ev Jabotinsky.

One sign, on a building at 15 Shlomo Street, reads: "For Sale/Rent to Arabs Only." Next door, at 17 Shlomo Street, lives the family of Sasson Nuriel, who was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists in September, 2005.

Contacted by Arutz-7, the home's owner at first denied speaking or understanding Hebrew or English, though eventually admitted, in fluent Hebrew, that he had placed the sign. "In the State of Israel, Arabs and Jews live equally. We want to be equals and we can therefore sell the house to whoever we want," he said. He declined to give his name, but insisted that his right to sell to "Arabs only" would even stand up in court.

Aryeh King, who conducted a survey of Arabs moving into Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods due to the construction of the Partition Wall says at least 120 Arab families had moved into Pisgat Ze'ev as of December, 2006...

...In 2000, Israel's Supreme Court required the Jewish town of Katzir, in the Galilee, to allow Muslim Arabs to move in and build their homes there, ruling that limiting who can purchase land there would constitute discrimination.

[h/t: Doda]

In fact, there's material here not only for education-oriented busy-bodies, but also for reporters and human rights groups, as well. In this article about the growing military dictatorship being run by Mahmoud Abbas:

...Earlier this week, some 150 Fatah gunmen stormed a number of schools in Nablus and drove out hundreds of students who were taking high school matriculation exams.

The gunmen were protesting against Abbas's refusal to allocate secret halls for them so that they, too, could sit for the exams, without risking being arrested or killed by the IDF. The gunmen were later allowed to sit for the exams in special halls.

One of the teachers said most of the gunmen cheated.

"They opened books and copied the answers word by word," he said. "We were afraid to stop them because they were carrying M-16 rifles."

PA security forces have detained more than 100 Hamas supporters in Nablus over the past three weeks. All the detainees are being held without trial or questioning and are banned from meeting with their lawyers.

Unconfirmed reports that some of the Hamas detainees have been tortured sparked a wave of protests in the city and other parts of the West Bank.

Citing "security concerns," PA policemen banned reporters and photographers from covering Tuesday's demonstration outside the PA lock-up. A university student who was suspected of using his mobile phone to take a picture of the event was beaten and taken into custody.

In a related development, Palestinian journalists complained that the PA had banned the Hamas-affiliated Falasteen newspaper from being distributed in the West Bank. The paper is based in Gaza City.


I remember when I fell out of a tree as a kid. The pediatrician made a house call. Why fear a physician coming to you? Perhaps when he's an Islamist... Andrew Bostom explains: Face facts: Radical docs like al-Zawahiri are fixtures in many terrorist organizations

As we continue to learn the terrifying details of the foiled U.K. bombing plots - and the six doctors allegedly involved in them - some suggest that the notion of Muslim physician-terrorists is a total anomaly, a perversion of not only the medical creed but of the ethic of Islam.

On the first count, they are correct. On the second, the truth is more complicated. Doctors who justify the murder of innocents are disturbingly common in radical Islam. And there's a case to be made that the Koran itself encourages their crimes...


I put in the question mark because there's not quite enough info in the article to be sure of how this was done, and I'll wait for some of the UK discussion to wake up to it, but this sounds good. Sounds like a bit of a kludge, though. The executive has put through a motion that they will not take action on the previous boycott motion. So the previous stays on the books, it simply goes nowhere. Not exactly an ideal solution, and the moral force of the previous vote still stands (it was going nowhere in practice anyway):

The UK's National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has put forward a motion effectively overturning the decision to call for a boycott of Israeli goods, taken at its annual delegates meeting in April.

The union's National Executive Council has forwarded a motion, tabled by union general-secretary Jeremy Dear and seconded by its president Michelle Stainstreet, that calls to put the row over the Israel-boycott call and for members to unite behind the union's key workplace priorities.

The executive council has committed to continuing to work with Israeli journalist unions and has stated it will take no action on the boycott motion.

The motion "strongly reaffirmed" the sovereign role of the union's annual conference in setting National Union of Journalists policy and rejected any allegations that the union was anti-Semitic or racist, reaffirming the union's commitment to fighting racism in all its forms.

The Stop the Boycott Campaign, a coalition of academics and Jewish and non-Jewish groups across the UK, welcomed the decision to drop the boycott call.

"This is an honorable decision and a victory for common sense," said campaign co-director Jeremy Newmark. "It shows that the NUJ leadership are attuned to the wishes of their membership, and should serve as an example to the leaders of other trade unions. This is a shot in the arm for the anti-boycott movement in the UK and the beginning of a backlash against the extreme positions of the pro-boycott camp."

"This is a vindication of the members of the NUJ who do not want their union to boycott Israel," Lorna Fitzsimons, chief executive of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre said. "This vote is instructive to all the trade unions whose conferences are voting to boycott Israel - the rank and file do not want it."...

Harry's Place has more.

DoD: Marine Missing In Action From Korean War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Pfc. Domenico S. Di Salvo, U.S. Marine Corps, of Akron, Ohio. He will be buried July 12 in Seville, Ohio.

In late November 1950, Di Salvo was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, of the 1st Marine Division then deployed near Yudam-ni on the western side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. On Nov. 27, three Communist Chinese Divisions launched an attack on the Marine positions. Over the next several days, U.S. forces staged a fighting withdrawal to the south. Di Salvo was lost on Dec. 2, 1950, as a result of enemy action near Yudam-ni. He was among several in his company buried by fellow Marines in a temporary grave near the battlefield.

During Operation Glory in 1954, the North Korean government repatriated the remains of U.S. and allied soldiers. Included in this repatriation were sets of remains associated with Di Salvo’s burial. That year, U.S. officials identified five of these individuals. One repatriated individual could not be identified at that time and was buried as an unknown in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (The Punchbowl) in Hawaii.

In November 2006, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) exhumed remains from the NMCP believed to be those of Di Salvo.

Among other forensic tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the JPAC used dental comparisons in Di Salvo’s identification.


Let the international outrage begin! (haha)

Committee protests dig at Temple Mount

The Waqf Muslim religious trust is digging a ditch from the northern side of the Temple Mount compound to the Dome of the Rock as a prelude to infrastructure work in the area, generating protests from archaeologists.

The dig has been approved by the police, but the Israel Antiquities Authority declined to respond to the Waqf's excavations and would not comment on whether one of its archaeologists had approved the move.

The Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, an apolitical group comprised of archaeologists and intellectuals from the left and right, criticized the use of a tractor for excavation at the Temple Mount "without real, professional and careful archaeological supervision involving meticulous documentation."

Speaking for the committee yesterday, archaeologist Eilat Mazar said: "There is disappointment at the turning of a blind eye and the ongoing contempt for the tremendous archaeological importance of the Temple Mount."

At the beginning of the year, Israeli excavations near the Temple Mount, part of a plan to rebuild the Mugrabi bridge walkway, led to violent protests from Arabs in Israel and around the world.

Arutz Sheva has photos of this continuing outrage:

templemountedig.jpg

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Also at Volokh, David Bernstein: The Israel Lobby and the Anti-Israel Lobby. The whole thing is worth reading, of course, but I'll skip right down to where he makes it clear for the learning impaired:

...To avoid any inadvertent subtlety, the point is that if no "Israel lobby" existed, American Middle East policy would not be dictated by neutral, nonideological considerations of American national interest, but by the concerns of the "anti-Israel lobby," who have ideological and self-interested reasons to be anti-Israel, just as is in the rest of the world. M & W themselves have made it clear in their "Israel Lobby" paper and elsewhere that they harbor a distaste for Israel quite apart from what they consider to be America's national interest ("Viewed objectively, [Israel's] past and present conduct offers no moral basis for privileging it over the Palestinians.") If Mearsheimer and Walt don't come up with a good reason why friends of Israel should leave the field to the anti-Israel lobby, including M&W themselves, I can't see much of a point to their book.

Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy:

Sasha Volokh is right to point out that not all left-wing criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic or otherwise biased, even in cases where the critics attack Israel while ignoring other government that are guilty of similar offenses to a much greater extent. As Sasha puts it:
For instance, one might think that only Israelis are sane, basically rights-respecting, and receptive to basic Western values — so that one can appeal to Israelis' basic principles in arguing that they're acting wrongly. Or one could believe that only Israel — and not Sudan or China — has a healthy enough democratic culture that this sort of treatment will change its policies. In other words, far from being an anti-Semitic policy, the boycott could be an act of deep respect for Israel, essentially saying: "Only you guys aren't savages; we think you might actually listen."

But I am skeptical that this distinction really does account for the vastly disproportionate focus on real and imagined Israeli offenses in many left-wing quarters. The problem is that even other liberal democracies don't get even a fraction of the criticism that Israel gets when they enact comparable policies.

Consider the case of France, which doesn't get so much as a tiny fraction of the hostility directed at Israel, even though most of the accusations typically made against Israel could just as easily be leveled at the French government. The French comparison is far from the only example of anti-Israel double standards. But it has the virtue of highlighting that double standard with unusual clarity because the main arguments used to defend the double standard in other cases simply don't apply to France. The French surely accept "basic Western values," and have a "healthy democratic culture" at least as much as the Israelis do. Let's consider the bill of indictment that left-wingers could make against France were they so inclined:...

He goes on to detail them. Well done.

Of course criticism of Israel, even unfair criticism, isn't necessarily anti-Semitic. What the "pure logic" examination offered by Somin and Volokh misses is that people's reaction to ideas is not solely in the real of pure logic and courtroom argumentation. People read more into it...they sense the sub-text.

There is a reason that so many leftists encounter such a robust and, to them, baffling, reaction to what they may, in many cases, perceive as run of the mill criticism. Well, several reasons, but I'll pick one. It is that many of us see standing next to them (in some cases quite literally), or behind them and their ideas, real anti-Semites, or those who would prefer to see the Israeli state dissolved -- otherwise known as genocide. That's what we read into it quite clearly, and that they can't see that -- either because they're naive, or willfully blind, or using evil people for what they perceive to be a virtuous purpose -- drives us to distraction.

This is one of the reasons that we so often hear the complaint that "the debate" is so much more vigorous inside Israel than outside it, where criticism is more often taken as something wicked, with wicked motives. That's because it is more often so. Israelis arguing with Israelis are far less likely to have genocide or racial hate as a motive. It can be (they isn't always, surely) a "cleaner" debate. Not so outside. One's a family argument within the family. The implications are far different when one or both participants aren't blood.

I was going to "have at" this silly reprint of AP/Hamas propaganda by Diaa Hadid which made it into the Boston Globe and many other outlets, but Meryl's done that and more, here: Lies, damned lies, and blaming Israel.

The terrorists are mortaring the crossings and there's no coordination on the Arab side of the border, but AP sends out this nonsense about Israeli closures causing all this misery? Someone's not keeping up with current events...or the author has an agenda. Who's Diaa Hadid anyway?

Here's an article on Hadid (I think it's a pretty safe bet it's the same person) from when she was a wee tike just a few short years ago: My Israel, my Palestine. Here are some of the operative bits:

During 2001 two young Australians, Diaa Hadid and David Kramer, headed to Israel to gain a better understanding of the region. As a scene of escalating violence unfolded before them, they were forced to question and re-evaluate many of their beliefs.

Well, Kramer (the Jew, who, the article reminds us repeatedly, ended up living in an ULTRA-Orthodox neighborhood) re-evaluated. Hadid, well...

She only arrived in Israel a month ago, but her belief in the cause of the Palestinians runs deep. She is certain that the bombings in America will mean further hardships for an already suffering people...

...During their time away they experienced two very different Israels. Hadid, the Palestinian Israel; Kramer, the Jewish. Hadid assisting a non-government organisation (NGO) called Ittijah; Kramer, studying Judaism in an Ultra-orthodox sector of Jerusalem...

...In her role as Ittijah's public relations officer, Hadid spent much or her time helping member organisations with fundraising, liasing with foreign embassies and assisting on jobs that required English language skills. The tension of the conflict invaded every aspect of her life...

...Thanks to Ittijah's expanded duties Hadid found herself working long hours, often until three in the morning. She was no longer fundraising but instead spent her time writing daily press releases, giving interviews, fielding emergency calls and helping to organise the delivery of aid...

...The intensity of Hadid's involvement over the last nine months has had a strong impact on her views. When she first arrived in the Middle East, Hadid expressed a desire to make more Israeli friends. Now she has trouble separating the personal from the political.

"I can't look at Israelis anymore. I can't separate your average Israeli citizen from the occupation, I don't want to be friends with them, I don't want to talk to them," says Hadid...

..."To this day I'd never say that I am anti-anybody. But did my objectivity get thrown out the window? Yes. Because I had an Israeli gun pointing at me, not a Palestinian one," says Hadid...

NGO-Monitor describes Ittijah as:

* Ittijah has received funding and support from sources, including the Ford Foundation, the EU, and NGOs such as the New Israel Fund and Christian Aid. Ittijah is part of the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO).

* Played a prominent role at Durban. According to its website, "Ittijah's international profile was brought under the spotlight at the Durban World Conference against Racism in 2001, where Ittijah gathered, facilitated and directed the vision and position of the Palestinian NGOs inside Israel on racism, particularly Israeli-state racism towards Palestinian citizens, and the apartheid the State practices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

* Has joined a number of Palestinian NGOs in rejecting anti-terror clauses in funding agreements, specifically USAID and the Ford Foundation.

The "Durban Strategy" is based around boycotts, divestment, sanctions and a concerted effort to demonize and delegitimize Israel. Discover the Networks has more on the group.

From Palestinian Arab propagandist straight into the arms of the AP. What else would you expect?

Monday, July 9, 2007

A Tufts Fletcher School editor rejects a review written by Harvard professor Sara Roy on a new book about Hamas for too "one-sided"...in favor of Hamas:

...Your review was evaluated by several of our editors and an external editor for objectivity. Unfortunately, they disagreed with my decision to publish your review for the following reasons: despite their agreement with many of your points, all reviewers found the piece one-sided. This one-sidedness dissuaded readers from reading the piece to the end; ultimately, this last point is the most important. Although I found your arguments valuable, if readers consistently feel this way, I am unable to move forward with a piece...

A common flaw in the academic world: Many who study a subject or region become its advocates. All the more serious when you've been living in Gaza studying Hamas. The reviewer found the book, Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad by Matthew Levitt insufficiently nuanced and too tough on Hamas.

Roy once used the occasion of "a Holocaust memorial lecture to suggest that Israelis are Nazis" and delivered what must be described as a fawning introduction to Norman Finkelstein during a recent visit to Brandeis.

Good luck on those Palestinian Authority reforms. I hope Salaam Fayyad has his life insurance paid up: Al Aqsa Brigades demands Abbas to remove Fayyad from his post

The Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh movement, issued a press release of Friday evening rejecting statements of the assigned Palestinian Prime Minister, Salaam Fayyad, and demanded president Mahmoud Abbas to remove him from his post.

Fayyad, who is heading the “Emergency Government” in the West Bank, said that he will not allow the existence of what he described “armed militias” in the Palestinian territories.

The brigades said in its statement that Fayyad is providing Hamas with a free service and giving it an alibi to attack the emergency government and its policies, since such statements indicate that this government is against the resistance.

The brigades also stated that Fayyad said in an interview with the CNN that the resistance brought miseries to the Palestinian people, and added that “now the truth is clear to us, Fayyad is America’s man in Palestine, he is the first Palestinian Prime Minister who carries an American citizenship”.

Moreover, the brigades demanded president Abbas to remove Fayyad from his post and appoint a national figure, and demanded Fayyad to apologize to the Palestinian people, the martyrs, the wounded and the detainees.

The brigades said that it will not stand idle while the Israeli occupation continues its invasions and violations, and called for the unity of all Palestinian factions and armed groups.

If the PA won't pay them, I bet someone else will:: Many Al Aqsa Brigades members resign from the security force

The leader of the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Brigades in Nablus, Alaa Sanaqra, along with several other brigades' members, submitted their resignation from the security forces on Thursday, as a result of what they called "internal differences"...

Via Norm, the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign reports: Jafar Kiani Stoned on July 5, Mokarrameh Ebrahimi in Eminent Danger

Jafar Kiani was stoned in Aghche-kand, a small village near Takistan, Ghazvin, on Thursday July 5th. His partner, Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, could have a similar fate if we do not act now!

Jafar Kiani and his partner, Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, have been in prison for more than 11 years for an adulterous relationship and having two children. The couple’s children live in prison with their mother...

...According to the Iranian law, the judge who has issued the sentence would have to be present in person to throw the first stone. Some unofficial sources have reported that only a few of the villagers participated in the stoning and the sentence was mostly carried out by the officials and the related service men.

The judiciary officials have so far neither confirmed nor denied the stoning of Jafar Kiani. Silence seems to be the current policy of some judiciary officials, including Hassan Ghasemi, the Head of Judiciary Office in Ghazvin, who has told the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign activists to contact Alireza Jamshidi, the official Iranian judiciary spokesman, for answers to their questions.

The Stop Stoning Forever Campaign is asking all citizens of the world to raise their opposition to stoning and try to save the life of Mokarrameh Ebrahimi from stoning...


The American Anti-Slavery Group emails an update on Simon Deng's condition (previous: Anti-Slavery Activist Simon Deng Hospitalized): simon.jpg

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support that met the news of Simon Deng’s accident last week. On Simon’s behalf, many thanks to all who have sent your best wishes over the last week. We at AASG feel heartened to have so many joining us in our thoughts and prayers for Simon’s speedy recovery.

Simon had surgery this morning to repair his lung. Simon is continuing to recover, though we still do not know how long he will remain in the hospital or when he will return to work.

We also learned this morning that the accident was not a hit-and-run as we originally believed; a police report was filed on the scene and the driver has taken responsibility for their actions.

Many of you expressed interest in helping Simon further by making a contribution. You may do so by clicking here or by making your check out to Simon Deng and mailing it to:

American Anti-Slavery Group
198 Tremont St. #421
Boston, MA 02116

Once again, thank you for all the best wishes, thoughts and prayers. We will continue to forward emails, cards and contributions to Simon, so please feel free to respond to this email or send a card to our office.

Another British labor union,the Transport and General Workers Union (TWGU) has voted to boycott Israeli goods, only this time, the Histadrut, Israel's labor federation has severed ties in response. The process of the measure sounds familiar:

...Doreen Gerson, executive vice chairwoman of Trade Union Friends of Israel, said: "The vote was extremely rushed, as time had run over and there was not enough time for discussion, and the many delegates who wanted to speak against the motion were denied the opportunity."

Ahead of the vote, Eric McDonald, secretary of TGWU's Birmingham branch, which proposed the boycott motion, compared Israel to Nazi Germany...

Meryl has more.

No need to imagine, Meryl Yourish and Michael Totten are noting that Syrian troops have already gone three kilometers into Lebanon and set up positions, they have ordered their nationals out of Lebanon, removed checkpoints on the Golan and made other, more definitive, threats.

Totten:

If Israel sent the IDF three kilometers into Lebanon and started digging trenches and building bunkers it would make news all over the world. But Syria does it and everyone shrugs. Hardly anyone even knows it happened at all.

Syria can, apparently, get away with just about anything. I could hardly blame Assad at this point if he believes, after such an astonishing non-response, that he can reconquer Beirut. So far he can kill and terrorize and invade and destroy with impunity, at least up to a point. What is that point? Has anyone in the U.S., Israel, the Arab League, the European Union, or the United Nations even considered the question?

Also see: MEMRI: Possible Eruption of Violent Crisis in Lebanon After July 15

Brinksmanship from Damascus. And why not?

Update: Speaking openly about it: MEMRI TV: Former Lebanese Minister and Syrian-Ally Wiam Wahhab: Opposition Forces in Lebanon Debate Whether to Take Over the Rule in July or Wait until September. Victory Is in the Opposition's Pocket.

For those of you who can't get enough IDF cheesecake, an online military supply company, Zahal has put up a forum with a selection of hi-res wallpapers you might enjoy. Oh yeah, and there's pictures of tanks...and stuff, also.

dt15.jpg dt11.jpg

brinton1.gif

Just criticism of Israel, right?

Judeosphere and South Dakota Politics have the story of former Senator Jim Abourezk, artist Tim Brinton and the Christian Science Monitor.

[h/t: Soccer Dad]

Finally! We get to see what the co-protagonist of the late Steven Vincent's book, In the Red Zone, "Layla," now known by her real name, Nour al-Kal. Nour was with Steven when he was killed, and suffered multiple gunshot wounds herself. After a year and a half of lobbying, Lisa Ramaci, Steven's widow, managed to secure asylum for Nour enabling her to come to the US. Here's the New York Times story about Nour's arrival: In Grief, a Bond and the Resolve to Help

Judith attended a panel discussion centered on "fixers" which Nour sat on on the very day she arrived in New York. She has a report with video, here: Fixers on the Front Lines. Sound quality is such that I wasn't able to understand much, unfortunately, but I was fascinated with watching Nour and how she conducted herself in front of an audience on her first day in America. I think I see what the hype was about.

Welcome.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Contrary to much popular opinion, Premillennial Dispensationalists, such as most American Evangelicals and Christian Zionists, do NOT believe that they have a role in hastening the Second Coming. When Jesus comes, only God knows, and He will be the one to usher in the millennium. The more scary prospect can be those with a "postmillennial" outlook who believe that THEY will create the conditions necessary to bring Jesus back.

Now imagine that there are people who believe they have in their hands the power to bring to earth the final days...and they're willing to kill you to achieve it. Now imagine they're designing programming for your kids and actually have been in the business of strapping bombs on people...from this perspective Hamas becomes a sort of Islamo-postmillennial coercive fantasist group.

Palestinian Media Watch reports that Farfur may be dead, but his spirit lives on. Chilling:

Farfur may be dead, but his message continues. A week after the children’s program Tomorrow’s Pioneers showed the Mickey Mouse lookalike being beaten to death by an actor portraying an Israeli interrogator, the show was back on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV. The squeaky-voiced mouse was gone, but Friday’s program continued to preach hatred and praise Shahada – death as a martyr for Allah.

This week’s messages came from the young viewers, who phoned into the show, expressed their views to the child host, Saraa’ and demonstrated how well they have absorbed the violent lessons of the show and possibly children’s programming.

One young caller proclaimed:
"Awake oh children, awake to action, your destiny is one, and it is to become a Shahid [Martyr] for Allah.”

Later in the show, a nine-year old girl paraphrased the Hadith (Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad) that has been broadcast numerous times by Fatah and Hamas religious and educational leaders – that the Hour (of resurrection) is dependent on Muslims’ fighting and killing the Jews.

Shahad, 9 years old, on the phone:
Saraa’: What would you like to share with us?
Shahad: The Noble Hadith.
Saraa’: Go on.
Shahad: The Prophet [Muhammad] said: The Hour [Resurrection] will not
take place until you fight the Jews, they will be east of the river and you to the west, and the rock and the tree will say: Oh, Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and fight him!
Saraa’: Thank you very much, Shahad.
[Al Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 6, 2007]


Confederate Yankee has a follow-up on his "calling out" of the AP with regard to their willingness to accept dubious massacre claims and accept well documented ones like the one presented to them through the work of Michael Yon: AP Responds to DecapiGate

Substandard (to put it mildly): In China, dubious ways of raising fish

WUGONG LAKE, China -- Near the banks of the catfish farm he owns is Zhu Zhiqiu's secret weapon for breeding healthy fish: the medicine shed. Inside are iodine bottles, vitamin packets, and Chinese herbal concoctions he says substitute for antibiotics.

Zhu's fish farm, in a village on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, sends 2.7 million catfish fillets each year to the United States through a Virginia importer. Despite his best efforts -- he has dozens of employees clearing trash from the water each day, and the fish are fed sacks of fish meal more expensive than rice -- Zhu's fish sometimes get sick. Then he brings out the drugs.

"It's standard practice," he said. "Everyone uses them to keep fish healthy."

Chinese exporters like him have seized much of the US market, accounting for 22 percent of all imports, because their fish are cheaper to raise.

The fish are being raised, however, in a country whose waterways are an ongoing problem, tainted by sewage, pesticides, heavy metals, and other pollutants. The situation is worse in the southern part of the country, where Zhu's farm is and where industrial runoff accumulates.

Like other fish farmers throughout the world, catfish growers in China turn to a variety of potions. But the extent to which they use traditional Chinese medicine, which cannot be tested for as easily in the Western countries that import fish, is unusual. Zhu says he uses only safe and legal drugs, but it was clear that some of his competitors have not been so scrupulous.

The competitors spike the water with banned substances to keep their farmed fish alive. Batches of seafood traded recently at the Shanghai fish market, for example, carried the tell-tale greenish tinge of malachite green, a disinfectant powder that has been banned in China because it is a suspected carcinogen but is still commonly used.

Illegal substances such as malachite green keep showing up in Chinese seafood shipped to the United States, provoking a partial US ban on such shipments earlier this month. It was the latest development in an ongoing global awakening about the risks of Chinese-made products, from toys tainted with lead paint to pet-food ingredients containing a deadly industrial chemical.

Using illegal disinfectants and antibiotics "is a lazy way of raising fish," Zhu said. "But it is extremely effective."

Many of the "Southern-style" catfish fillets on US grocery shelves these days are indeed from the south -- of China...

...Chinese imports make up about 5 percent of all catfish sold in the United States, but that figure is growing . In 2004, China sent fewer than 100 containers, at 20 tons each. By 2005, 200 containers were sent, and in 2006, 500 were shipped.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Remember Alan Hart, the stupid/clever UK journalist that thought it possible that, had Alan Johnston been killed, it just might have been Israel that done it? Yeah? Well now that everyone's known for some time who had him, and Hamas -- who's likely to be blaming the next solar eclipse on the Israelis -- even THEY haven't blamed the Mossad...Alan Hart thinks there's still a chance...a CHANCE, mind...that it was the ZIONISTS who put the dogmusher clan up to doing the deed: Reflections on Alan Johnston's Kidnapping and Release

...Question: Does what we know today enable us to be any more certain about who, really, was responsible for Alan's abduction? I say NO!

On the face of it, I seem to be wrong. Alan was abducted by a Mafia-like, Palestinian extended family or clan. For what purpose? Apparently to have Alan as a bargaining chip in a power struggle with Fatah and Hamas.

That is one possible explanation. But in the Middle East nothing, absolutely nothing, is ever what it seems to be. (I think it was Lebanon's last murdered president who once said, "Believe nothing of what you read and only half of what you see." He was speaking about events in his own country, but what he said holds good, generally speaking, for the region. My own rule of thumb for interpreting Zionist statements is to assume they mean the opposite of what is stated).

In my assessment, any attempt to establish the truth about who, really, was responsible for Alan Johnston's abduction must recognise a fact of life – that Palestinian and other Arab groups such as the one that kidnapped the BBC's man are easily penetrated by outside agencies ranging from Israel's secret services to Al Qaeda.

It is by no means impossible that Alan Johnston's kidnappers were acting, knowingly or not, for an outside agency. If so, which one? And for what purpose, actually?

Mind you, he's not actually saying it was the Israelis that instigated it, he's just "asking questions" (and, btw, you can never trust a Zionist). Some people are just too clever to accept the world of the obvious. They need other -- on some level psychically comforting -- explanations.

Adam Holland (from whom, the link) notes: "What a horse's ass!"

That about sums it up.

...an Israeli Bedouin town. Very interesting, at Maggie's Farm:

...The mosque is Ali’s dessert for me. Later, A. confesses to me his disappointment in Ali’s membership in the Islamic Movement and this particular mosque. He says how Ali was always so broad-minded, well-educated; how could he join such a radical group? We park at the now-inevitable marble steps. While the mosque is new, as we ascend, I notice shoddiness; cracked steps, misplaced stones, weeds emerging. Ali knows people. While the mosque is closed, someone appears from the right with a key; opens the doors, disappears. This is a religious emporium, perhaps costing millions. Clad in marble, it is a copy of a famous Turkish mosque known as the mosque of cupolas; has nine cupolas in a circle and central massive cupola from which is suspended an oversized candelabra from Egypt...

...The money for this place comes from the city treasury in large part. Yes, he says almost apologetically, those funds are supposed to be for civic projects – sewers, roads, trash pick-up – but there are only two youth centers built by the city and the mosques are now being used for youth centers; there is a daycare built into the back of this mosque. During the day, sometimes, they put playground equipment on the plaza of the mosque, the very plaza we found empty on both entrance and exit. He wants to show me a prized Quran...

Not just you and me with a different language. A totally different value system, a totally different way of doing business and government...

How did I miss posting this yesterday?

Police searched the home of Dominique de Villepin, the former French Prime Minister, yesterday as judges appeared close to charging him with conspiring to implicate Nicolas Sarkozy, now the President, in a corruption scandal. Criminal charges are thought likely after examining judges unearthed new evidence that appears to put Mr de Villepin, 56, close to the heart of the so-called Clearstream affair.

The scandal, under investigation since 2005, involves forged bank records that suggested falsely that Mr Sarkozy and other senior figures had received big bribes in the sale of French warships to Taiwan.

Mr de Villepin was serving as Foreign and then Interior Minister and Mr Sarkozy, his rival for the future presidency, was Finance, then Interior Minister.

The affair poisoned the already strained relations between Mr de Villepin, the protégé of Mr Chirac, and the President’s mutinous subordinate, who was intent on succeeding him.

Investigating judges and police arrived yesterday afternoon at the expensive Paris apartment building where Mr de Villepin lives.

They were acting on material that was extracted last week from erased data on an intelligence officer’s computer. This added to evidence that Mr Chirac had been briefed on the affair at the time, according to leaked judicial transcripts. Two weeks ago the former President refused to obey a judicial summons for questioning over the case. His lawyers argued that he was immune from inquiries into any acts undertaken during his presidency...

What did I tell you? Communist dictatorship, dabbling with Capitalism = do not take internally: Suspicious toothpaste is ordered off shelves, Antifreeze product may be in tubes from China

Inspectors from Boston and 11 other Massachusetts cities and towns have confiscated about 160 tubes of toothpaste that may contain a chemical used in antifreeze, part of a widening national campaign to eliminate tainted products made abroad.

State and federal authorities said they have no proof that anyone has been poisoned by toothpaste contaminated with diethylene glycol, a substance that Chinese manufacturers have used as a cheap substitute for the sweetener glycerin. Still, state authorities said, they ordered local health agencies to scour store shelves for potentially tainted toothpaste, knowing that long-term exposure to diethylene glycol may cause kidney and liver problems.

"Suffice to say, this chemical is not allowed in toothpaste in the United States, and we obviously feel it's unhealthy," said Tom Lyons , a Department of Public Health spokesman.

Deaths in Panama, Haiti, and China have been blamed on diethylene glycol found in pharmaceutical products such as cough syrups. The risk posed by tainted toothpaste is believed to be low, FDA representatives have said, because the amount of diethylene glycol in toothpaste would be small, and people generally spit toothpaste out, rather than swallowing it...


Reverses ruling that found program illegal

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court yesterday reversed a district court ruling that President Bush's warrantless surveillance program was illegal, delivering a major victory to the administration in one of the most significant constitutional disputes to arise in the war on terrorism.

By a 2-to-1 vote, an appeals court in Cincinnati ruled that a group of plaintiffs, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, had no legal standing to challenge the National Security Agency's surveillance program. Because the decision to dismiss the case was based on that legal technicality, the court did not take a position on the legality of the program.

Still, the decision erased the only judicial repudiation of the White House's claim that Bush has the wartime power to bypass a law that forbids the government from eavesdropping on Americans' phone calls and e-mails without a judge's permission. Last August, a federal district judge in Detroit had ruled that the warrantless spying program was illegal and must be shut down.

Moreover, yesterday's decision bolstered the administration's position in this and similar cases that any courtroom discussions of the program would jeopardize "state secrets," and so lawsuits challenging the program must be dismissed -- an argument that the district judge in Detroit had rejected in her ruling last summer...

...ACLU legal director Steve Shapiro called the ruling "deeply disappointing."...

...Last August, District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor agreed that they had standing to sue, then ruled that the program was illegal...

...The legal analysis by Taylor -- whom former President Jimmy Carter nominated to the court -- was controversial from the beginning. Many legal specialists on both sides of the NSA surveillance dispute had predicted that her judgment might not stand on appeal.

Some had also predicted that the appellate court might instead dismiss the case on the grounds that it was moot after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced in January 2007 that the warrantless surveillance program had been changed...

Yes, but it was a useful political football for people who in Congress who want to pose as serious about protecting America while letting someone else take the political heat for what has to be done to actually do so. Here's some reaction at Malkin's site back when Taylor made her original decision.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The American flag.

'The U.S. flag has always represented imperial or colonial interests in violent ways.

'I often feel as afraid and suspicious when I see people sporting American flags--especially the really large ones that take up entire back windows or bumpers on SUVS. Or the current student body president of Boise State's flag which takes up one entire office wall.'

Her flag of choice is the keffiyeh that is the symbol of Palestinian terrorists whose slogan might as well be: Kill the Jews.

Marcy_Newman_reduce.jpg
Marcy Newman

Leila_Khaled_cover_crop.jpg
Leila Khaled

Continue reading "Emmet Trueman: Marcy Newman Hates the United States, Israel, Jews and..."

Adam Holland notes the strange case of the anti-Semitic Polish priest, Rev. Henryk Jankowski, who'd like Mel Gibson to film his life story: Luxury-loving anti-Semitic priest wants Mel Gibson to film his life story. Jankowksi, "erected a model of the charred barn from Jedwabne [where approx. 1600 Jews were burned alive by their countrymen] in his church to symbolize efforts to blame Poles for the crime."

And speaking of Jedwabne, Holland notes this Norman Finkelstein tie to the event 66 years later: Norman Finkelstein on Jedwabne. Quoting from a lengthy must-read at Christian Aid Watch: The innocence of remembering: Norman Finkelstein on Jan Gross’s Neighbors. Here are a few operative snips:

Jedwabne is a small town in Poland. In 1941 it had around 3000 inhabitants of whom roughly half were Catholic Poles and half Jews. A few days after German troops entered the Soviet-occupied half of Poland in which Jedwabne was located, members of the Polish population drove the town’s Jews into the town square, herded them into a nearby barn, and set the barn alight. One man managed to escape from the barn; a dozen or so people had fled from the town and hidden in the surrounding countryside; a few, by a grotesque irony, saved themselves by taking refuge with the German police; seven were hidden by a Polish farmer’s wife for the rest of the war. The remainder of the town’s Jewish population perished. The perpetrators were plainly aware that the German authorities would not object to their action, but the evidence shows overwhelmingly that they were acting on their own initiative, and not on German orders. The town’s Catholic priest turned away the Jews who appealed to him for help, and did nothing.

This is a synopsis of a little book which I read recently, entitled ‘Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland’, by Jan Tomasz Gross (Princeton, 2001). (A review by George Steiner in the Guardian gives a fuller account)

My emotional response to this tale may be taken as read. Indeed, it is hard to conceive that more than one response could be possible. Such, nevertheless, is the case. When I had finished the book I googled it out of curiosity, and came across a review by one Norman Finkelstein. This is, to put it mildly, a remarkable document, and it is worth examining it closely for what it reveals about its author.

Finkelstein is an important figure among people interested in knowing ‘how far they can go’ in their anti-Zionism without convicting themselves of anti-Semitism. He provides them with a benchmark which reassures them that they can in fact go rather a long way...

...One thing becomes clear in the first couple of sentences. He is very, very angry with Jan Gross. In fact, it’s hard not to conclude that he’s far angrier with Gross than with the perpetrators of genocide in Jedwabne. Without having a single criticism to make of the book’s factual accuracy, he sets out to discredit its author. After six paragraphs of denunciation of Gross, Finkelstein finally makes a grudging acknowledgment that he has told a true story and that it needed to be told...

But Gross contributes to "The Holocaust Industry" you see (by writing compellingly about the Holocaust), so he must be destroyed. Finkelstein's behavior is pathological. More.

Six of Seven San Diego non-profits receiving Homeland Security grants were...

If you've been to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum, you know the rules: no bottled water, no cell phones, no photography. No guns, no knives. Caustic material and explosives are forbidden. No animals, either.

For the next six months, the museum will house 27 (though no more than 15 at a time) of the oldest known biblical texts, making for the largest-ever public display of the scrolls.

To beef up security before the scrolls' arrival, the museum was awarded roughly $80,000 by the Department of Homeland Security's Urban Area Security Initiative for nonprofit institutions considered to be at "high risk" for a terrorist attack. Of the seven San Diego nonprofits awarded a grant in 2006, six were Jewish organizations, the seventh being the museum, which spent the money on security cameras and door locks.

Dave Dalton, head of security for the museum, said that although it's been busy ("busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs," as he put it), there've been no threats...


Not my usual fare, but some of these are quite good: Islamic Nursery Rhyme Contest (warning (or promise): page contains some nudity). Example:

'Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle,
the jihadi jumped over the moon,
the little dog laughed to see such a sight,
as the jihadi came down and went boom.'
by Mike H.

Confederate Yankee is calling out the MSM for giving full coverage to an Iraq atrocity story that didn't happen (heads floating in the river), while ignoring the well-documented massacre Michael Yon reported about: When Does a Massacre Matter?.

An unnamed, but, we're told, prominent journalist writes in to Instapundit:

Yon's story doesn't get attention because it is humiliating.

It is humiliating because it is obvious that we media – and our allies in the state department, the legal trade, the NGOs, the Democratic Party, the UN, etc., - can’t do squat about such determined use of force.

Our words, images, arguments and skills can’t stop the killing. Only the rough soldiers and their guns can solve the problem, and we won’t admit that fact because the admission would weaken our influence and our claim to social status.

So we pretend Yon’s massacre – and the North Korean killing fields, the Arab treatment of women, the Arab hatred of Israel, etc. - doesn’t exist, and instead focus our emotions and attention on the somewhat-bad domestic things that we can ‘fix’ with our DC-based allies. Things such as Abu Ghraib, wiretapping, etc. When we ‘fix’ them, then we get status, applause, power, new jobs, ego, etc.

Please don’t be surprised. We media are an interest group not much different from the automakers, the unions, and the farmers.

Glen also points to this story at Hot Air, of NBC getting it absolutely wrong on body armor.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

How do they do it? Hamas' hidden economy

MILITARY insurrections cost money. To take over the Gaza Strip last month, Hamas had to pay salaries, procure weapons, manufacture rockets, buy help from local crime families, bribe opponents, print leaflets and banners, produce media propaganda and even order up Hamas hats and bandanas.

How did Hamas fund this Gaza coup? What of the international "economic siege" that Hamas complained of against its government? Wasn't Hamas so strapped for funds that its leaders resorted to smuggling suitcases of Iranian cash into Gaza across the border with Egypt?

Part of the answer lies in — or rather under — the city of Rafah, on the Egyptian border. Smuggling tunnels, operated primarily by Gaza clans more interested in profit than ideology, run between houses on either side of the border. Egyptian and Israeli authorities have discovered tunnels dug as deep as 98 feet below ground in an effort to avoid sonar detection. Some tunnels include air ducts, electricity and lighting, and even rails and wagons to help smuggle heavy objects. Even when the mouths to the tunnels are found and sealed, the midsections remain intact and new openings are dug to reconnect them.

For a few thousand dollars, groups like Hamas rent tunnels for a night or more to smuggle in weapons and other material, according to Israeli and Egyptian officials and press reports. Hamas was able to smuggle and pay for the weapons, despite the international sanctions regime, through a variety of means — in a textbook example of the seamless cooperation between its military, political and charitable wings...

An Israeli journalist emails in some musings...quote:

First note this bit from the very interesting Conflict Blotter blog:

...Armoured cars filled with cash were allowed into the Strip yesterday to make sure banks had adequate supplies of currency to meet the expected demand for hard currency withdrawals...

These armored cars are delivering cash - Israeli shekels - into Gaza. The Palestinians (West Bank and Gaza) are using the Israeli monetary system.

Is there some law that makes Israel provide its own sovereign currency to Hamas-controlled Gaza?

Here is what goes on here: Hamas gets millions of euro from Iran in cash and smuggles it into Gaza. See: Hamas smuggled $66m. in 8 months, Hamas minister carries millions of dollars into Gaza, and Hamas Slips Millions Through Border.

What can they do with this money in Gaza? Nothing. To buy goods in the Gaza market one needs Israeli shekels. So they put the millions of dollars and euros in the Gaza bank.

Now, would the bank want to keep them? No way. They may be robbed or the bank safe may be blown up (either by Israel or the locals) and the money does not earn any interest.

So the Gaza banks have this constant need to ship out dollars and euros -- not in wire transfer but real hard cash -- and exchange it for Israeli shekels.

The question is:

Why should/is Israel taking part in this?

Why not stop delivering Israeli hard currency into Gaza and instead let the local banks find another way to deal with the smuggled cash? Would they need to smuggle it back into Egypt? (If they would do that -- one should wonder why they had to bring it via Egypt into Gaza the first time.) Clearly the involvement of the Israeli banking system is something that raises questions here.

If Israel can stop providing cash to Gaza the currency in circulation will be damaged over time, the ability to get new cash into Gaza harder - if they will start using Egyptian lira instead it would at least be clear that they have closer ties to Egypt than to Israel and it may be a good reason for Egypt to stop the cash smuggled today from Egypt into Gaza.

Or maybe Hamas can start printing their own money? It would set them apart from the West Bank.

Related Update: July 15: Despite blockade, Hamas pays full wages to fighters

Your agenda-journalism doesn't protect you when the bad-guys show up (whether or not you believe in bad guys): Johnston: Kidnapping 'was surreal'

...At one point the leader of the group, his face still hidden by the kefiyeh, talked to him, a conversation that sapped his morale. "Some people in the Western world have stereotypical views of Arabs from the Middle East and sadly this man lived up to this stereotype. No matter when I gave him my speech about working in Gaza for three years to help put across the Palestinian story, he said I was a Westerner and that was that in his eyes and I was worthy of punishment. He had a very black and white view of the world."...

No joke: Palestinian civil servants say draw Hamas gunfire

GAZA, July 5 (Reuters) - Palestinian civil servants said they came under gunfire from a Hamas-led force as they tried to report for work on Thursday, which Hamas has decreed a day off.

Dozens of employees arrived at their offices in Gaza to find entrance doors chained and Hamas's Executive Force threatening to arrest them, witnesses said.

No one was hurt in the incident in the Hamas-controlled territory.

"The (Executive Force) fired into the air first and then when employees did not (leave), they fired on the ground, near women employees," said Finance Ministry worker Mesleh al-Kilani.

"Yes, they fired," many of his colleagues shouted.

Guidelines for the working week by President Mahmoud Abbas's emergency government set Sunday to Thursday as working days with a Friday/Saturday weekend.

But the Hamas-led government, which Abbas dismissed after the Islamist movement seized Gaza in a civil war three weeks ago, has set a Saturday-Wednesday working week...


Some good behind-the-scenes stuff by Avi Issacharoff: Analysis: Lucky for Johnston, Hamas kept its promise

The morning after its victory in the Gaza Strip, Hamas was surprised to find fleas in its bed. Only six months ago it was still collaborating with the Army of Islam, the "institutional" name taken on by the bandit Doghmush clan.

Hamas used the Doghmush gunmen as contract killers against Fatah (in the murder of Mousa Arafat), for the launching of Qassam rockets against Israel while declaring it was adhering to a cease-fire and, of course, for the abduction of Gilad Shalit.

The leader of the Army of Islam, Mumtaz Doghmush, used to spend time with the heads of the Hamas military wing, Ahmed al-Ja'abari, Ahmed al A'ndur and others...

...etc... Musing: One wonders how far democracy would have gotten in America if, instead of Republicans and Democrats, we had Republicans, Democrats, Hatfields and McCoys. A hardy "good luck" to democracy in the Middle East outside of Israel.

CAMERA takes off on the Arnold Roth email (for the record, the email wasn't written solely to me, but was one of many I find circulating to draw from on any given day) in order to highlight the New York Times' history of giving more sympathetic and detailed coverage to terror's perpetrators, rather than its victims: New York Times Publishes Photo of Smiling Terrorist

[This parody (the "quotes" aren't real, m'kay?) was originally written 45 minutes after the announcement that the BBC’s reporter, Alan Johnston, had been abducted in Gaza in March of this year. It is a guest posting written by noted intellectual gadfly, J.M. Jabeau.]

The Catch & Release Gaza Two-Step

In the latest incident of kidnapping in the Palestinian territories, Alan Johnston of the BBC, was grabbed from his car in Gaza today. More than a dozen journalists, including two Fox News employees, Steve Centanni, a reporter and Olaf Wiig, a cameramen, had been abducted and then released, most within a few hours. Centanni and Wiig, however, were held nearly two weeks. It was revealed that the two were freed only after they took the Shahada oath, the first pillar of Islam uttered by the convert:

La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah.
(There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God).

Nothing further than recitation of this oath in public commits the speaker to membership in the ummah, or community of the faithful.

The Fox Newsmen have been the only abductees to have taken this coerced profession of faith.

Now, political scientists at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, have published a study, in which they claim to be able to directly correlate the data from kidnappings of westerners to what they refer to as the “II” index. “II” stands for “Islamophobia Index.” Karen Sondergaard of the University’s Lippman Center for Political Research says that “Islamophobia is a well-researched politico-psychopathological condition that can easily be diagnosed through forensic research mainly focused on how many repulsive Jews the subject has come into contact with.”

Compiling data ranging from the subject’s sex, age, magazine subscriptions, previously written articles, favorite foods, the number of Noam Chomsky volumes lining their bookshelves and the volume of tears shed over the death of Yasir Arafat, researchers have determined a scientific method of determining how long an abductee will remain in captivity.

For example, Kate Burton, an aid worker and a graduate of the London School of Economics, works at the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza. Kidnapped along with her parents, Ms. Burton said, upon her release , “I could not say a bad word about her captors, who always asked ‘whether they needed anything.’ Ms. Burton and her parents were released 6.5 hours after their abduction, posing for the cameras in their kafiyyas.

“I directed my captors to the work I’ve been doing in Gaza for the past year and to the little Jewish doll that I always carry punctured with long pins.” Researchers assigned Ms. Burton an II index rating of 1.7.

Spanish photographer Emilio Morenatti of the Associated Press was similarly kidnapped in October of 2006 and released the same day. Morenatti said after his release, “I really thought I had bought it when they found out I photographed some Jewish kids during the Feast of Purim but later when my captors did a little research into the Associated Press, I could see them smiling and slapping each other on the backs, muttering something in broken English like “AP is good guys, you betcha”.

Today’s incident involving Alan Johnston brings a new twist to the catch & release game practiced by Palestinians: The discovery of an audio tape. Never before have we heard first hand the back and forth threats, pleadings and demands of hostage and captors. The Alan Johnston tapes are certain to become as famous as the Hindenburg footage or the Zapruder home movies.

Here are a few excerpts from the two hour recording:

Tariq: Ahmed, why we take this man?
Ahmed (evidently): Because he is valuable.
Tariq: Why valuable? How much money we get?
Ahmed: Not just money, stupid. He is valuable to show the world that we are merciful.
Tariq: What about the money?
Ahmed: He is Beeb. They are the richest news organization in the world. Have you seen today’s exchange rate for the Euro?
Tariq: I’ll have to call our accountant.
Ahmed: Never mind that. Take it from me, he’s money in the bank. And besides, The Beeb will do anything to prevent public opinion from casting an unfavorable light on us “militants”.
Tariq: Wait a minute. We are the soldiers of the Abdul Khader Sword of the Prophet Brigade, aren’t we?
Ahmed: Stop. Saeed and Fawzi used that name last week. We’ll have to come up with something new today. What about “The Army of Islam”? Wait – Has anyone already used that one?
Tariq: I got it, I got it, but If the Brits are so favorable to us, how do you expect them to believe that we’ll cut off his head if we don’t get what we want? (sounds of Johnston weeping in the background along with garbled cries of “How could you have grabbed me? We all love you at the BBC. Fuck the Jews, fuck the Jews”)
Ahmed: Hakim, shut that moron up.
Tariq: Hold on, shouldn’t we make him say the Shahada just to make it look good.
Ahmed: No way. What’s the point? Do you think he’ll report things straight if he doesn’t mumble the oath? He’s ours anyway. Look at him, he just pissed his pants. And when we let him go after we get the dough re mi, he’ll tell the world we were the best buddies he’s ever had. He will feel our pain.
Tariq: I think he should say it anyway.
(Johnston’s voice): “Let me say it, let me say it, PLEASE!)
Ahmed: Ok, ok. (towards Johnston) Hey you, Scotsman, repeat after me, “La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah.”
Johnston: La la la la Allah bla bla
Tariq: What the hell was that?
Ahmed: Who cares, he said it didn’t he?

--

45 minutes 115 days after his kidnapping, Alan Johnston was released, unharmed, from a damp basement in Gaza City after Hamas routed, beat and threatened the Dagmoush clan, widely thought to have ordered the kidnapping.

Before his release, University of Michigan researchers assigned an II index rating of 9.5 to Alan Johnston, the worst score so far for any abductee. The research institute was quoted as saying they would have to seriously revise their indexing methods.

Post release notes:

Alan Johnston thanked his BBC colleagues, Hamas and the thousands Palestinians who demonstrated, signed petitions and supported him throughout his ordeal. He did not once refer to or thank Steve Centanni or Olaf Wiig of Fox News.

In spite of being physically roughed up, psychologically battered by continual death threats including being rigged with an explosive vest, Mr. Johnston never once used the word “torture”.

He concluded his brief interview following his release by stating that his sojourn among The Army of Islam would in no way affect his “perfectly objective” reporting.

Mr. Johnston was whisked away to Israel’s King David Hotel for a proper Zionist recovery.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Well, well, we had a good day at Canobie Lake Park. Spent over five hours there. Quite a cross-section of humanity. Anyone who thinks America is a racist place would do well spending a few minutes taking in the mix of people at a place like that.

When we got home I grabbed a nap, got up, went for a popsicle only to discover that our Kenmore refrigerator was on the blink....funny, because Sears called just this morning to ask if we wanted to re-up our service plan for our stove -- yes, they called on the 4th, and on my cell phone no less. I said no, but now I found myself making a desperate call to Sears service to try to save our full fridge. Why do these things always happen on holidays? Guess what? They told me the earliest service date they had was in eight days -- the 12th. I kid you not. Good thing I never bothered with a service plan for the fridge. How completely useless would that be?

I then opened the local yellow pages and called a local appliance service. The guy walked me through the simple process of unplugging the thing and plugging it back in -- yeah, just like a computer. Guess what? The thing came back on. AND the guy will be here tomorrow to take care of replacing the computer panel that probably caused the trouble. Freakin' computers. They're everywhere.

So then the wife decides our daughter was too tired and we probably shouldn't bother going to the local fireworks display, and it's going to rain anyway. So I get permission to go to see a movie. Transformers. You want a review? Two words. Awe Some. So glad I went. This one is definitely worth seeing on the big screen. Great escape film, great fun.

Hope you had a good 4th.

Emphasis on the Independence. (Take that, Europe!)

Here's the Declaration. Here's the original.

As I noted last year:

Click the image above to go to the National Archives page. I particularly like this page with the original rough draft showing cross outs and corrections made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

We'll be off to an amusement park.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

There's been some interesting stuff going on in the continuing saga of the various mainline Protestant denominations and their anti-Israel divestment initiatives. I've covered this phenomenon regularly in the past, but things have been relatively quiet lately, with most of these initiatives either defanged or overturned entirely. That doesn't mean all is quiet, however.

Remember that the professional class of most of these denominations is generally hostile to Israel and the American Jewish establishment, while this feeling shrinks rapidly the lower down the hierarchy one goes until it's often reversed entirely once one gets to the people in the pews who are often embarrassed by some of the obsessions of the folks who try to speak in their names.

So let's take a look around, starting with the Methodists, touching the Presbyterian Church(USA) [PCUSA] and finishing with the United Church of Christ [UCC].

New England Conference of the United Methodist Church

First, the ADL say a new call by the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church "borders on anti-Semitism."

...A report by the Divestment Task Force of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church recommends divestment from 20 companies, "identified as supporting the Israeli occupation in Palestine." The report says that "ending the Israeli occupation is a stated goal of the United Methodist Church."

"This call for divestment by the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church borders on anti-Semitism," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The authors of the report must be living in a bubble to ignore ongoing attacks on Israel and Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza to issue such an outrageous, biased report that focuses only on Israel."

Mr. Foxman added, "While this Methodist task force has busied itself researching divestment, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah perpetrated war against Israel, and rocket attacks targeted Israeli cities and towns in the north and the south. Yet the Methodists seem to believe that they need to teach Israel a lesson."...

The ADL press release goes on to laud a "shift" in the UCC's position, but that may be premature, as we will see shortly. There is a detailed page about divestment at the NEUMC (New England United Methodist Church) web site here that shows an adoption of boilerplate Arab propaganda -- "This month marks 40 years of Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation. Three generations of Palestinians have been denied their freedom." for instance.

A perceptive reader who looks at the lengthy report (90 page PDF) may note cooperation and mutual sourcing between the UMC, the Episcopal Church and the PCUSA, demonstrating once again how these efforts are all of a piece. The site also contains a list and statements by "Jewish" organizations and individuals in support of divestment [PDF]. Readers who recognize many of the names (Jewish Voice for Peace, Ilan Pappe, ICAHD, Norman Finkelstein...) will be forgiven for thinking this attempt at self-justification falls flat.

Their list of Organizations Deserving Support [Word Doc] will also strike as uninspiring, including, for instance, ICAHD, the World Council of Churches [As an aside, note also: ADL Calls World Council Of Churches Anti-Israel Global Initiative "A Biased Action"], Jewish Voice for Peace, and Sabeel.

Continue reading "Round the Bases on Church Divestment"

Disturbing stuff here: 11 Hamas men arrested for operating in East Jerusalem

The Shin Bet security service and Jerusalem police recently arrested 11 Hamas operatives on suspicion of running Hamas facilities in East Jerusalem, and for recruiting young people under the guise of engaging in religious and social activities, according to a Shin Bet investigation which was made public on Monday.

The suspects, 10 of whom have Israeli identity cards, were planning to have the recruited youths carry out terror activities and set up groups that would later become terror cells, the Shin Bet said. They said part of the plan was to gain a foothold in the Temple Mount...

...Hamas is also involved in construction work at the Temple Mount, along with the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, according to the Shin Bet investigation. Security officials said the construction is not being coordinated with Israel and violates the status quo. Hamas is also running tours of the Temple Mount meant to strengthen young people's connection to the site, and has set up religious and social welfare centers in East Jerusalem, the Shin Bet said...


The David Project has posted video from last month's presentation detailing their defense against the Islamic Society of Boston/Muslim American Society lawsuit. Video quality is good, but sound is ambient and echoey, unfortunately. Crank your speakers. Presentations by David Project head Charles Jacobs and attorney Jeff Robbins have been posted so far, as has the transcript of Robbins' lengthy speech.

Defeating the Islamic Society of Boston Lawsuit: Why It Happened and What It Means

I've been wondering what Daniel Pearl's father, Judea, thought of the new film about his son and daughter-in-law, especially given CAIR's exploitation of the movie for its own purposes. It must be a difficult position to be in, since I'm sure he wants to conduct himself in a dignified manner at all times, as well as wanting not to be too hard on the people who made the film, whether or not he likes the final product. Here he is at The New Republic in a restrained but still critical piece: Moral relativism and A Mighty Heart.

I used to believe that the world essentially divided into two types of people: those who were broadly tolerant; and those who felt threatened by differences. If only the forces of tolerance could win out over the forces of intolerance, I reasoned, the world might finally know some measure of peace.

But there was a problem with my theory, and it was never clearer than in a conversation I once had with a Pakistani friend who told me that he loathed people like President Bush who insisted on dividing the world into "us" and "them." My friend, of course, was taking an innocent stand against intolerance, and did not realize that, in so doing, he was in fact dividing the world into "us" and "them," falling straight into the camp of people he loathed.

This is a political version of a famous paradox formulated by Bertrand Russell in 1901, which shook the logical foundations of mathematics. Any person who claims to be tolerant naturally defines himself in opposition to those who are intolerant. But that makes him intolerant of certain people--which invalidates his claim to be tolerant.

Continue reading "Judea Pearl on A Mighty Heart"

Terrorism has nothing at all to do with Islam, yet clerics in Islam's holiest place provide the ideological backbone for it: Saudi clerics warn against Palestinian concessions

Several key Saudi clerics this week urged Palestinians not to give up jihad against Israel, in a sign of their opposition to the U.S.-allied Saudi government's policy of backing President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.

Arab governments led by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have given their backing to a new government without the Islamist movement Hamas. Abbas formed the cabinet last month after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in fighting with Fatah.

The United States and Israel opposed the Hamas-led government because Hamas refused to renounce armed struggle against Israel or recognise the Israeli state.

"Maintain the way of jihad and preaching which has spread among the Muslim Palestinian people. Support it and beware of it easing up, and ward off the danger of those who are laying in wait," said a June 30 statement published on Islamist Web sites.

The document was signed by 16 clerics who are leading figures in Saudi Arabia's powerful religious establishment, including Abdel-Rahman al-Barrak and Nasser al-Omar...

...the clerics said: "It is our right to help them (Muslims) financially and morally and giving alms is a great moral virtue ... we warn against letting down our brothers in Palestine and in Gaza in particular."

Ah, men of peace. Saudi funding of domestic institutions should be either shunned or, where it infiltrates, subject to extra scrutiny and criticism.

Who does Gordon Brown think he's fooling? Well, I suppose if you're a politician, doing the politically correct thing is rather natural. Melanie Phillips: The strategy of consensual dissimulation

People in Britain are shocked — shocked! — that medical doctors are suspected of involvement in the al Qaeda terrorist attacks on Britain over the past few days. The shock reflects the deep unreality of public discourse up till now. People have persisted in believing that Islamic terrorism could be explained by poverty, deprivation, alienation and so forth, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Now they are horrified that doctors, whose calling is to save life, can be bent on mass murder...

...On BBC Radio Four’s Today programme this morning (0755 approx), the reformed Islamist extremist Hassan Butt patiently spelled out to presenter Jim Naughtie that Islamist terrorists carry out their acts of mass murder as an expression of religious faith and fervour. They do it, he said, ‘for the pleasure of God’. Far from being acts of despair, these terrible atrocities are acts of religious exultation.

If we don’t understand, even now, that what we are facing is a religious war, a jihad against the unbeliever and backsliding Muslims across the world we cannot possibly hope to defend ourselves against it. Yet while former Islamist extremists such as Hassan Butt and Ed Husain are urgently telling us the truth, Gordon Brown’s new administration is shutting its ears and embarking on a suicidally stupid and cowardly strategy. Astoundingly, it has decided to deny the religious element of this jihad altogether, to redefine Islamic terrorism as mere criminality and to ban all terms that call this horror by its proper name. From the Daily Express today, we learn:

Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word ‘Muslim’ in connection with the terrorism crisis. The Prime Minister has also instructed his team – including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – that the phrase ‘war on terror’ is to be dropped. The shake-up is part of a fresh attempt to improve community relations and avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more ‘consensual’ tone than existed under Tony Blair…

Political Correctness and the unwillingness to cause discomfort are an obstacle to survival, since it is only through plain speaking that we can come to discuss and understand a problem. Real problems will never be solved with using real words, not speaking in code.

The rest of Phillips' piece is here. Two pieces by Phillips and Richard Littlejohn linked by LGF, here.

There's been lots of talk about the various forms such a thing might take, particularly after the fall of Gaza: Eyeing Jordanian involvement, U.S. now rethinking the two-state solution. Frankly, the most hopeful note (as far as being the guiding principle one hopes takes hold) comes at the end:

...Other scholars suggest even more provocative ideas, such as that of Edward Luttwak, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In a recent article and during a conversation with Haaretz, Luttwak urged decision makers to 'leave the Palestinians alone.'

He believes that there will be no solution to the crisis until the Palestinians understand that they need to adopt 'realistic solutions' and cease toying with 'dreams.' It is best, he says, to let the Palestinians become accustomed to the fact that if they do not help themselves, they will get nothing.


Stephanie Gutmann was once again inspired to write some long replies in the thread following Michael Totten's post about The Nut Job Media Circus that we agree are worth their own posting as a guest blog here, slightly edited to stand alone (previous: Stephanie Gutmann: Picture Posers). Gutmann:

A previous commenter said, "Think of how the history of the ME would be different if the media did not stage it for us." and it's absolutely true that it would have been...different.

I don't think the second intifada would have happened if Clinton hadn't already been in the neighborhood being tailed by the world's press contingent. He put Arafat under a media spotlight; Arafat couldn't deliver and was, for the first time in a long time, in the dog house as far as world opinion went, so, with the help of the press already in the area, he launched a media assisted war against Israel. He used the news coverage of the second intifada to fuel and accelerate the conflict. Think of the effect of Al-Dura, which might of course have been completely staged. Much of the "news" out of the territories is STIMULATED by the presence of cameras. There are now countless anecdotes of riots (like the one on September 30th, 2000, aka Al Dura day) that didn't start until the press was fully in place.

So why this collusion? Why aren't the press hoards in Kashmir or Chechnya or the Sudan? The worst most cynical part of this is that IT IS EASIEST to get the kind of sexy war story they want (an up/down, good/bad, weak/strong narrative and nice, eye-catching blood filled pix) while placing your people in Israel. The foreign press's bureaus are located on pleasant, tree-lined streets in the modern, progressive cities of Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv. And the Israeli government is there to assist the press: with briefings, regular daily email bulletins, translations, parties, seminars. They even intervene when reporter's equipment gets hung up in customs; they help to find apartments, nannies....They even (I do not lie) provide the foreign press with Christmas trees during the Christmas season...(I can supply the email from the government press office to prove this!)

Further, the craft of photography is tailor-made to be manipulated. Panning out would ruin so many news photos. As Michael J. Totten points out in the beginning of his post, the Rage Boy shot is taken as a close-up. That's because you can imbue any piddly-ass demonstration with great cosmic significance if you wade into the center of a knot of people and crouch down to make them appear larger. Suddenly you (the photographer) are in an epicenter of rage, while we, poor news consumers, are lost in the photo as well; we have no way of evaluating the breadth of the rage. Is it an important demonstration, the beginning of a world awakening, or a small bunch of exhibitionists such as one can find in any major city on virtually any day of the week?

This, the fudging of size, was the central distortion in the coverage of the so-called Jenin "massacre" in 2002 -- when the IDF moved into the Jenin refugee camp to battle the jihadists who had been using it as a base from which to stage a really terrible (a suicide bombing inside Israel nearly everyday in March 2002) campaign of terrorism.

All photos by the foreign press enclosed us in destruction -- rubble, collapsed buildings, twisted pipes, broken baby strollers. The accompanying copy told of a Jenin that had been "destroyed." The combination of copy and image suggested a scorched earth campaign by the Israeli military which naturally would have included the killing of any humans in the path of their tanks and armored Caterpillar tractors -- thus the use of the word "massacre" in press and human rights organization statements.

No one was able to cut through this noise to point out that the IDF assault had been on one small section of the city of Jenin -- the refugee camp. (Also that civilians had been given time to evacuate, that the insurgents left inside had been given much time to prepare for the IDF, that they had done so by mining and trip-bombing most of the camp area, and that much of the destruction was caused by Palestinian bombs.)

Much too late in the process (as was the history of the Israeli PR operation) Israel's government press office was able to get an aerial photo taken from a helicopter of the town of Jenin into circulation. It showed a town of Jenin lying below relatively untouched while a small portion, the refugee camp area, or about one fifth of the town, was indeed fairly pulverized.

If photographers really wanted to give us useful information about demonstrations they would go up on a rooftop, to a fourth story window, up a lamp post even, to show us the size of the crowd. But both photographer and writer have an interest in making whatever they've been sent to cover as important as possible. Freelance photographers live by selling dramatic shots; writers live by getting into print. Even staff writers on major newspapers must continually demonstrate their usefulness by "getting into the paper" as often as possible. Newspaper editors and publishers get committed to story lines ("to following a story") sometimes even before a story's begun, and those stories are thus committed to following a certain dramatic arc. A newspaper editor who has sent his reporter out on a story does not want to hear "not much happened today; I think this thing may be dying down" when she comes back.

As an editor I know once put it, "Why are we covering this then?" It was not a real question but more of a warning: On the order of, "We are covering it so you better find some news."

American and Iraqi troops roll into an Iraqi village occupied by Al Qaeda. They find a carnal house. Michael Yon has an important photo essay...and a description of the stench.

Photo-15.jpg

Bless the Beasts and Children

...While that was happening elsewhere in Baqubah, we stood around the stinking graves of people who had gotten a close-up view of al Qaeda-style justice. The villagers’ bodies were rotting in the heat before us...

[via Michael Totten]

Update: Yon has an important update to the story.. A snip:

...for those publications who actually had people embedded in Baqubah when the story first broke and still failed to cover it, their malaise is inexplicable. I do not know why all failed to report the murders and booby-trapped village: apparently no reporters bothered to go out there, even though it’s only about 3.5 miles from this base. Any one of the reporters currently in Baqubah could still go to these coordinates and follow his or her nose and find the gravesites...

Monday, July 2, 2007

The American Anti-Slavery Group reports that their well-known activist and former Sudanese slave, Simon Deng, has been hospitalized:

On Thursday evening, AASG Associate Simon Deng was hit by a car while he was on his way home from work in New York. The accident was a hit-and-run; the driver has not been apprehended. He broke several ribs and experienced some internal bleeding. Simon is still in the hospital, but he is conscious and we expect him to recover. We don't yet know how long he will stay in the hospital or when he will be able to return to activism with AASG or his job as a lifeguard on Coney Island.

AASG associate CJ Lonoff wrote us after visiting Simon this weekend, “The good news is that through all of this awfulness, he is our Simon Deng. His spirits are good and he is upbeat, even though he is obviously experiencing discomfort and pain.”...

...In lieu of gifts or flowers, please address any cards or contributions to Simon Deng and send them to: 198 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116. If you would like to send Simon an email, please respond to this message [Note, that means send an email, don't leave a comment, he won't see it. -S]. We will forward all correspondence to Simon promptly and keep you updated in the coming weeks.

Simon has touched so many lives as he has worked to raise awareness about slavery in Sudan. Thank you in advance for helping us send as much light and love his way during this difficult time.

I first saw Simon Deng (I didn't get his name then) way back three years ago at the March for Darfur. March to protest Kofi. Here he is on Fox just a short time ago.

MEMRI has more of the transcript (and video) of the Farfur snuff video: Farfour, Hamas' Mickey Mouse Character, Is 'Martyred' in the Final Episode of the 'Pioneers of Tomorrow' Children's Show on Hamas TV

"These are the Documents Proving That the Land is Ours… Make Sure You Don't Give up the Land, Farfour"

Farfour's grandfather: "I want to give you something in trust before I die, and I want you to safeguard it, Farfour."

Farfour: "What is it this trust I am supposed to safeguard, grandpa?"

[...]

Farfour's grandfather: "This land, which was [occupied] in 1948, is the land I inherited from my fathers and forefathers. I want you to protect it. It is a beautiful land, all covered in flowers and olive and palm trees. I want you to protect it, Farfour."

Farfour: "What is this land called, grandpa?"

Farfour's grandfather: "The land is called Tel Al-Rabi'. But unfortunately, the Jews called it 'Tel Aviv' after they occupied it."...

This is interesting, since of course, Tel Aviv is one of those places which was built ground-up from desert, but anywhere Jews have built something...why hocus-pocus, guess what, there just happened to be an Arab village there first. An emailer explains:

Rabia means spring in Arabic. Aviv means spring in Hebrew. Tel -- in both Arabic and Hebrew -- means a mound of where an old village used to be.

The place called Tel-Aviv was established on sand dunes outside Jaffa.

When it grew north (about 8km), it reached two Arab villages called Sheikh Mounis and Jamousin ( a village established by people from Jordan) -- both are close to the Yarkon River in north of today's Tel-Aviv. There was also a small German colony called Sharona. There are clear historical records by General Allenby how his forces bombed Shiekh Mounis and conquered the village. There are aerial photos of the whole area taken by the Germans prior the British occupation in 1917 -- they show the sand dunes and emptiness. (Parts of Jamousin are in the edge of the photos.) I have seen those photos but don't have a link to them.

BTW, Arabs have never settled on sand dunes. This is why when the settlers came to Gaza they took the then-empty sand dunes area.

In any case there is a Palestinian urban legend that Tel-Aviv was established on an Arab village called Tel-Rabia. This carries no historical evidence so far. In fact the historical evidence as late as 1917 show there was nothing in most of the place where Tel-Aviv is now.

Yet this myth is widely belived and is now repeated by Hamas Farfour charater..

Let's give the show's host the last word:

Host, Saraa, a young girl: "Yes, my dear children, we have lost our dearest friend, Farfour. Farfour was martyred while defending his land, the land of his fathers and his forefathers. He was martyred at the hand of the criminals, the murderers, the murderers of innocent children, who killed Iman Hijo, Muhammad Al-Dura, and many others."

Top Palestinian journalist seeks asylum in Norway

A prominent Palestinian journalist from the Gaza Strip has sought political asylum in Norway, Palestinian journalists said Saturday.

Seif al-Din Shahin, the correspondent for the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel network, left the Gaza Strip together with his family, they said, noting that he had received many death threats over the past few months.

Shahin's request has yet to be approved by the Norwegian government. Several other Palestinian journalists are also reported to have fled the Gaza Strip out of fear for their lives.

Earlier this year, masked gunmen set fire to the offices of Al-Arabiya in Gaza City, causing heavy damage to furniture and equipment. Although no group claimed responsibility, Palestinian journalists blamed members of Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

The group was also responsible for beating Shahin in two separate incidents in 2001 and 2004. The second assault followed Shahin's live broadcast of a rally held on Fatah's anniversary. The report angered Fatah leaders who had instructed Shahin and other journalists to report that tens of thousands had participated.

In 2003 he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority security forces because of his reporting. Al-Arabiya's offices in Ramallah have also been attacked by Fatah gunmen on a number of occasions...


Reuters makes it look as though it's Fatah "guarding" the Philadelphi Route, but buried in this article about the fact that Hamas has started launching rockets into Israel again, comes this note:

...Meanwhile, in opposition to the orders of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, some 150 members of the National Security organization, originally a Fatah-affiliated group, and some volunteers, were deployed along the Philadelphi Route, along the Gaza-Egypt frontier, "to keep order."

In practice these are troops that have deserted to the ranks of Hamas, and were joined by others - Hamas supporters wearing uniforms of the National Security organization.

The new force is commanded by an officer in the National Security, whose identity was not readily available, but who announced to his men that their role would be to maintain law and order along the border with Egypt...


Interesting story on Rosner's blog at Haaretz:

...Leahy, truth must be told, was not going to hurt Israel financially. It would have gotten the aid one way or the other. However, he did try to downgrade it in many other ways, some very technical, some symbolic. One example: he sought to change the word Shall to Should wherever the bill says that Israel "Shall" get money. This might seem insignificant to people unfamiliar and not attuned to the legislative process, but it is not. Status symbols that have been in the bill for quite a while now are a serious business. And friends of Israel, in the committee and outside of it, reacted in astonishment to this bold trial by Leahy to use his power and introduce such changes at the last minute...

Quality is difficult to control overseas.

China Central Television (CCTV), the state television station, first raised public worries over the quality of domestic soy sauce by uncovering a substandard workshop in central China's Hubei Province, where piles of waste human hair were found. The hairs were treated in special containers to distill amino acid, the most common substance contained in soybean sauce.

Human hair is rich in protein content, just like soybean, wheat and bran, the conventional and legally accepted raw ingredients for the production of soy sauce.

My wife keeps coming to me with these horror-stories of Chinese production techniques. Thought I may as well start posting some of them.

With Hizballah:

BAGHDAD - Iran is using the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah as a "proxy" to arm Shiite militants in Iraq and Tehran's Quds force had prior knowledge of a January attack in Karbala in which five Americans died, a U.S. general said Monday.

U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner said a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq. Bergner said Dakdouk served for 24 years in Hezbollah and was "working in Iraq as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds force."

The general also said that Dakdouk was a liaison between the Iranians and a breakaway Shiite group led by Qais al-Kazaali, a former spokesman for cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Bergner said al-Kazaali's group carried out the January attack against a provincial government building in Karbala and that the Iranians assisted in preparations.

Al-Khazaali and his brother Ali al-Khazaali, both captured in March, have told U.S. interrogators that they "could not have conducted it (the Karbala attack) without support from the Quds force," Bergner said.

Documents captured with al-Khazaali showed that the Quds Force had developed detailed information on the U.S. position at the government building, including "shift changes and defense" and shared this information with the attackers, the general said.

U.S. officials at the time of the Karbala attack said it was unusually sophisticated, with the attackers dressed in U.S. uniforms to get close to the building, and suggested Iran may have had a role in it...


What the troops are up against:

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2007 – Taliban terrorists continue to use innocent civilians as shields, NATO officials in Afghanistan said today.

Afghan and American soldiers under International Security Assistance Force command participated in Operation Ghartse Ghar in Helmand province yesterday. The goal was to clear Taliban forces from both sides of the Helmand River in the village of Haderabad.

After battling enemy forces most of the day, Afghan and coalition forces came under heavy fire from enemy small arms, medium machine guns, 82 mm mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Afghan and coalition forces identified several enemy positions during this exchange, including mortar positions, observation posts, compounds and a trench system. They returned fire and called in close-air support. All enemy positions were destroyed in the engagement.

Though Afghan and coalition forces appear to have fired at clearly identified firing positions, said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force 82, there are reports of civilian casualties.

"After our forces surveyed the area, there are reports of some possible civilian deaths," Belcher said. The troops found the remains of innocent civilians who were killed in firing positions in a trench line.

"We are deeply saddened by any loss of innocent lives," Belcher said. "Insurgents are continuing their tactic of using women and children as human shields in close combat with friendly forces."...


Sunday, July 1, 2007

I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie: Servicemembers Get Sneak Preview of 'Transformers'

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2007 – Under the cover of darkness in the nation's capital last night, servicemembers from all branches deployed into theater -- the movie theater.

About 600 military personnel and family members attended a sneak preview of "Transformers," the summer science fiction action-adventure film set for national release July 3.

Audience members cheered as virtuous Autobot transformers fought in concert with their U.S. military allies against the depraved Decepticons, while the clash between good and evil played out in stunning images and bone-rattling sound.

"That was without a doubt the best movie I have ever seen," Army Staff Sgt. Mario Youngblood, dressed in his combat uniform, said as he emerged wide-eyed from the theater. The soldier, who grew up watching the early animated version, said the film did justice to the "Generation 1" Transformers of his youth.

"Transformers" features servicemembers from various branches fighting side-by-side in the thick of the action, depicting joint military operations.

"Obviously, the military has never fought giant robots, and hopefully we never will. But the way this film is structured, if we ever had to do it, this is probably how we would do it," said Army Lt. Col Paul Sinor, a public affairs officer with that service's Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.

During one battle scene, members of a joint special operations force are attacked by a Decepticon in the desert of a Middle Eastern country. Using a common cellular phone, the Army commander on the ground dials the Pentagon and tosses the phone to his Air Force combat controller, who directs an Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft to their position. Operators on the AWACS then call in AC-130 Spectres and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft for air support...

BOOYA!

In other movie news, I finally got to see the new Fantastic Four movie. I was really looking forward to seeing that one, too, what with the Silver Surfer and all. Sucked. On pretty much every level except effects, and even those were kinda cheesy at times. The surfer effects were cool. He looked good. Other than that...lame story, lame pacing, lame acting, lame characters...lame.

On the other hand, say what you will about Mel Gibson, the man knows how to make a film. I rented Apocalypto the other day and that movie rocked. Unique setting, cool story, fabulous immersive visuals. Particularly timely since I just finished reading 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus which hits a lot of that history, all of which is far more interesting and complex than most of what we're usually told. It's nice to see a film like this in which the "Indians" are the heroes and the villains and the white guys barely make an appearance.

Palestinian Media Watch has the video of the "Death of Farfur," and it's even sicker than you imagine when you actually see it. Wait for the phone calls from children at the end.

Hamas TV Mickey Mouse beaten to death by Israeli - becomes Martyr in final episode

The Hamas satellite TV channel has responded to the international controversy over its hatred-spouting Mickey Mouse clone by having the character beaten to death by an Israeli and becoming a Shahid, martyr for Allah.

Al-Aqsa TV broadcast Friday the final episode of the children’s program Tomorrow’s Pioneers, starring Farfur, the Mickey Mouse lookalike whose teachings about world Islamic domination, violence and hatred outraged the world after PMW made them public in May.

Without apparent regard for the sensitivities of their child viewers, the show’s creators killed off the character in a particularly violent way that allowed them to continue the show’s rabidly anti-Israel messages.

In this last episode, the squeaky-voiced Farfur receives land documents from his grandfather. The episode ends when an Israeli investigator tries to force Farfur to give up the key and the papers that his grandfather had given him. When Farfur refuses, the Israeli continues his brutal attack and beats Farfur to death.

Although Farfur’s death is not shown to the child viewers, the hostess of the show, Saraa’, sadly announces his death to the children:

“Yes, our children friends, we lost our dearest friend, Farfur. Farfur turned to a Martyr while protecting his land. He turned into a Martyr at the hands of the criminals, and murderers, the murderers of the innocent children."

PMW reported the existence of the Mickey Mouse knockoff and his hateful messages in May, prompting worldwide outrage. The New York Daily News dubbed the character “Terror Mouse,” while Walt Disney’s daughter Diane described it as “pure evil.”

Despite promises by the PA that the show would be suspended immediately, it remained on the air for another week, and was then suspended during the violence in Gaza. This final episode, which includes the killing of Farfur by Israel, enabled Hamas to remove the program while continuing its hate messages...


Nothing to fear, all the archives are still here. It's just that for technical reasons, I've decided to start in with a new installation and archive all the rest. All the old archives are still there (so no permalinks should be broken), and the search box will search this new installation, the old archives, and the "Headlineblog" -- the little entries in between the main ones. I'll figure a way to browse the archives later.

I'll also be adding back in the last day or two worth of posts -- blog is experiencing technical difficulties at the moment -- so check back later, please.

Update: I've been laboring hard to sort of integrate the old archive and the new. To browse entries prior to today, use the Archives drop-down on the right. Here's a link to the June archive. Here are the last few entries:

West Bank Preachers Told to Lay Off Fatah but Keep Sticking it to the Jews
SEC Adds Software Tool for Investors Seeking Information on Companies’ Activities in Countries Known to Sponsor Terrorism
Facebook and All That
Arabizing the Natives with Wal-Mart Islam
Ahmed Mansour's Brother is Jailed in Egypt
Goodbye Brown
'You sounded like Daniel Pipes!' No Job for You!
Cartoons in the Arab Press on the Hamas Takeover in Gaza
Jim Ogonowksi for Congress
'She is my mother still'

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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