Monthly Archives: March 2011

Gleanings, 08.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

CAMERA: With the Media Focus Gone, Egypt’s Transformation Continues (MUST READ)

Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood have begun to advance their political vision over the past weeks … Qaradawi has praised Hitler for his genocide against the Jews and expressed his hopes for another one this time to be carried out by Muslims … Meanwhile Ynet, the Jerusalem Post and others report that the appointment of new Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Elaraby, a former judge in the International Court of Justice, was opposed by Israel because Elraby’s “call to sue the Jewish state for genocide.” … Elaraby legitimizes terrorist attacks against Israel … Meanwhile, Egyptian cooperation with Israel seems to be an early casualty of the changed Egypt.

Christopher Hitchens: What I Don’t See at the Revolution

Not a single one of these pregnant conditions, or preconditions, exists in Egypt. Neither in exile nor in the country itself is there anybody who even faintly resembles a genuine opposition leader. With the partial exception of the obsessively cited Muslim Brotherhood, the vestigial political parties are emaciated hulks. The strongest single force in the state and the society—the army—is a bloated institution heavily invested in the status quo. As was once said of Prussia, Egypt is not a country that has an army, but an army that has a country. More depressing still, even if there existed a competent alternative government, it is near impossible to imagine what its program might be.

PowerLine: NPR and the Muslim Brotherhood–Natural Allies? (MUST WATCH)

Check out this stunning video, shot undercover by two associates of James O’Keefe. The two posed as representatives of an organization founded by the Muslim Brotherhood that is trying “to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world.” That, plus their expressed interest in making a $5 million donation to NPR, got them a meeting at a Georgetown restaurant with Ron Schiller, the outgoing head of NPR’s nonprofit foundation, and Betsy Liley, NPR’s director of institutional giving. The exchanges are revealing, to say the least. The would-be Muslim contributors express their appreciation for NPR’s “non-Zionist” news coverage. The NPR representatives gratuitously insult conservatives and, for that matter, most Americans. Schiller volunteers about tea party members:

Bret Stephens: If Gadhafi Survives

Say what you will about Tunisia’s Ben Ali or Egypt’s Mubarak, they retained some small residue of conscience: There was a limit to the lengths they would go to keep their grip on the state—belated evidence, incidentally, that they weren’t entirely unworthy of Western support. But the moral that Syria’s Assad and Iran’s Khamenei are certain to draw is that the semi-graceful exit is for history’s losers. Better for them to fight it out at all costs—and, if necessary, to go down fighting … That’s not exactly a lesson the administration should want to impart, however unwittingly. In a season of Muslim turbulence and revolt, the optimal outcome for the U.S. would be one in which anti-American dictatorships get the boot while pro-American ones get serious about real reform. At a minimum, one would hope that if we’re going to lose some traditional allies we might also stand to gain some new friends.

Lee Smith: Dragging in Libya’s Neighbors

In other words, the Iranians and their allies are using Libya as yet another battleground for their regional war against the U.S.-backed order—the shame is that Washington is all but oblivious to what’s at stake.

RL additions.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., King of the Hill

On Thursday, Chairman Peter King of New York will convene in his House Homeland Security Committee one of the most anticipated – and controversial – hearings in memory.  The subject? “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”  It is hard to imagine a more timely, and more urgently needed, inquiry.

Raymond Ibrahim, Caliphate, Jihad, Sharia: Now What?
Hudson New YorkMarch 8, 2011

“You can sit here and talk about jihad from here to doomsday, what will it do? Suppose you prove beyond any shadow of doubt that Islam is constitutionally violent, where do you go from there?” Such was Columbia professor Hamid Dabashi’s response to my assertion that Islamists seek to resurrect the caliphate and wage offensive jihad to bring the world under Islamic rule (during a 2008 debate titled “Clash of Civilizations”). Today, as onetime arcane words—caliphate, jihad, sharia—become common place in the media, evoked by politicians, and comprehended by Americans, Dabashi’s question returns.

Gleanings, 07.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Martin Sherman: The price of moderation (MUST READ!!!!)

The point that many well-intentioned pro-Israeli advocates seem be to missing is that it is precisely “moderate supporters of the two-state solution” that have in large measure sown the seeds for the de-legitimization of Israel. While initially this contention may appear somewhat counter-intuitive, the logic behind it is unassailable. For, once the legitimacy of a Palestinian state is conceded, the de-legitimization of Israel cannot be avoided. The chain of reasoning for this is clear: If the legitimacy of a Palestinian state is accepted, then necessarily any measures incompatible with its viability are illegitimate. However, Israel’s minimum security requirements necessarily obviate the viability of Palestinian state … The side that will prevail is the side whose political acumen is the sharper and whose political will is the stronger. Indeed, never has the biblical wisdom of Solomon been more apt: Whoever agrees to divide that which is dear to him, will – at the end of the day- lose all of it. The Jews must realize that they can either be master of all the land west of the Jordan or none of it – and sooner that the better.

Jerusalem Post: PA working to remove Hamas from US, EU terror lists
Shaath says he raised the issue with EU leaders, he wants European countries to recognize Palestinian unity gov’t including Hamas.

Vicious Babushka: BBC Poll Shows Israel 4th Most Hated Country in the World (Up from 3rd Last Year)

A poll conducted by the BBC revealed Tuesday that Israel is one of the most negatively viewed countries in the world, ranking at the bottom of the chart along with Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.

PowerLine: A Blast From the Past, and Maybe the Future (SCARY)

Does this news story bring back memories, or what? Iran is arranging to buy yellowcake in Africa:

A leaked intelligence report suggests Iran will be awarded with exclusive access to Zimbabwe’s uranium in return for providing the country with fuel.

… Iran, of course, takes the long view. That report should be read in tandem with the Jerusalem Post’s story titled “New Evidence of Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions.” … What we need now is for every liberal in America to explain why it is impossible for a tyrannical Middle Eastern regime that is bitterly hostile to the United States and the West to get yellowcake from Africa.

Elliott Abrams: Before a President Speaks

It is a serious problem for the United States when our top officials make categorical statements and then do nothing to enforce them … Just where the Administration now stands is, accordingly, unclear.  The President has gone as far as he can go rhetorically, but apparently without any plan to turn his words into reality.  That’s always a mistake for an American leader, and one that must give our allies around the world the shakes.

The New York Times: A Deepening Rift Between Germany and Israel

The real issue, Mr. Harris added, was a different one. “The big question is if the special relationship will endure. With the passing of generations in Germany, will it continue to sustain the sense of responsibility, or, over time, will it diminish?”

Barry Rubin: Antisemitism Is Now Almost Routine In Many Fashionable European Circless

From the most fashionable circles and down to the street level, from Hollywood stars to British universities to famous fashion designers antisemitism is becoming fashionable around the world. This is being fueled by the constant stream of hate-Israel material, most of it coming from the left including Jewish leftists who simply refuse to understand the effect their lies is having. Yet for every incident you hear about there are dozens you don’t.

David Thompson: Speaking of which, John Leo notes a willingness to cater to other, less highbrow educational needs.

A course on sex taught by psychology Professor John Michael Bailey recently featured a naked woman being worked on by a man wielding a sex toy… The 600-student course, which for some reason is one of the largest at Northwestern, features all kinds of sexual expression and guests that include swingers and convicted sex offenders. The optional, after-class sex-toy demonstration, Bailey said, “helps us understand sexual diversity” – possibly the first time a state-of-the-art vibrator demonstration was stuffed in under the campus diversity umbrella.

Ed. Note (oao): Today Western “education”. Justifying the islamist claim that infidels are depraved?

Israel News Network: Gov’t Admits it Discriminates Against Jewish Building

Cabinet representatives tell court more Jewish than Arab homes have been razed in the last two years although the Arabs built more illegal homes.

Ed. Note (oao): Yasser Arafat was accused of being an enforcer for Israel. Looks like Israel’s government has become an enforcer for the PA. Nice going.

Gleanings, 06.03.11

Mark Steyn: Arid Uka’s Gratitude (MUST READ)

The nations that built the modern world decided to outsource their future. In simple economic terms, the arithmetic is stark: In America, the boomers have condemned their shrunken progeny to the certainty of poorer, meaner lives. In sociocultural terms, the transformation will be even greater. Bismarck, so shrewd and cynical about the backward Balkans, was also the father of the modern welfare state: When he introduced the old-age pension, you had to be 65 to collect and Prussian life expectancy was 45 [that, presumably is from birth; once one had survived childhood, life expectancy for adults was much higher -rl]. Now life expectancy has near doubled, you get your pension a decade earlier, and, in a vain attempt to make that deformed math add up, Bismarck’s successors moved the old East/West faultline from the Balkans to the main street of every German city.  Americans sometimes wonder why, two decades after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the U.S. Army still lives in Germany. The day is approaching when they will move out — if only to avoid any more “tragic events” “taking place.”

Barry Rubin: Egypt: American Know-Nothings Play With the Lives of Millions of People

I have never seen an issue on which the American political-intellectual elite has been so insanely stupid and inaccurate. Easily ascertainable facts are simply ignored and censored out of the mass media. What is happening now makes the Western misreading of fascism in the 1930s and Communism in the 1940s look like a picnic. Some of us at least—who, as punishment, will essentially be denied access to any major American newspaper or television show to explain reality—remember the past consequences of those mistakes.

Daniel Pipes: Democratic Iraq?

While Middle Easterners from Morocco to Iran are agitating for more say in the governance of their countries, guess where the leadership is acquiring more power? … These developments confirm my expectation that the vast American-led effort to create a “free and prosperous” Iraq will end in failure.

[FB. Note]: Arabs’ natural tendency.

Evelyn Gordon: Egypt’s Renegotiation Threat

And while “renegotiating” the treaty may sound less threatening than scrapping it altogether, it isn’t. For the two items most Egyptians want to renegotiate are precisely those that made the treaty viable for Israel: one essential to its economic security, and one to its physical security … “Renegotiation” is thus a euphemism for gutting the treaty of everything that made it viable for Israel. As such, it’s worse than abrogation, since for that, Egypt would be blamed. But if Israel refused to amend the treaty, a world chronically unsympathetic to its security needs would blame it for failing to support Egypt’s fledgling democracy.

Jonathan Freedland: Antisemitism: the hatred that refuses to go away

John Galliano’s antisemitic diatribes and a glut of recent claims that there is a Jewish conspiracy will be dismissed as eccentric. But they are symptoms of a deeper malaise … All this might prompt the conclusion that antisemitism is making a sudden and unwelcome return. The trouble is, it never really went away. What’s more, it is not confined to the celebrity wackos and eccentrics who have let the mask slip in recent days. It is more widespread than that – contrary to those who like to pretend antisemitism is a historical phenomenon, one that faded away with the Third Reich.

Praveen Swami: Turning a blind eye to the blood-thirsty clerics

Pakistan is being swamped by a rising tide of religious hatred, while its political leaders remain silent, writes Praveen Swami … Pakistan’s blasphemy laws demonstrate to its people that real power lies with the clerics, and their military backers – not the politicians they elect. In 2008, when he was elected to office, Mr Zardari had a real opportunity to lay the foundations for a durable, functional democracy. His failure to act has led Pakistan one step closer to the precipice.

Benny Morris: The West, the Arabs, and the Real Qaddafi

Which reminds me of a story a fine, young journalist once told me about her experiences in Tripoli. It was in the 1980s, I think. She had come to interview Qaddafi. She was ushered into the famous tent. Qaddafi sent his aides away and the two of them shared lunch. And then Qaddafi tried to caress her. Flustered, she got up to leave. He then chased her around the table, bent on rape. She was brave and apparently fit; she outran him, at least long enough for his aides to rush in at the sound of her screams. Rape averted … It is a shame journalists did not usually publish their impressions of and experiences with Qaddafi. This no doubt facilitated Western and Arab acceptance of cooperation with this almost unique, base specimen of humanity (perhaps Saddam Hussein came closest).

Israel Matzav: As America builds mosques, Islamic countries destroy churches

But while mosques continue to be built in America, Christian communities dwindle in the Middle East and elsewhere. It is almost impossible to build churches in Islamic countries (forget synagogues – there are almost no Jews left in most Islamic countries).

Two Questions for discussion: (Il)legality of Settlements, Jewish State

I recently received the following note.

Dear Professor Landes,
I have two questions, please. First, what is the best discussion that you know of the legality or illegality of west bank settlements, as well as their moral standing?  Second, should Israel retain its’ Jewish identity—-What would be a good discussion to read?

I invite readers to both propose some bibliography (short, medium and long) as well as thoughts (systematic and not) about these issues.

Legality of Settlements

On the first topic, I think any reading of international law against the background of how nations – including every one now hectoring Israel – have, and continue to behave reveals that Israel has, comparatively, has behaved better with her captured territory than any nation in the history of mankind (with the possible exception of the USA in Europe after WW II).

So any claim of illegality of what Israel is doing under her circumstances (in which her enemies have no record of any commitment to Geneva-accords legal behavior internationally, au contraire), is either cruel or mad.

I can’t say I spent much time with the intl law issues; hopefully one of my readers will give you some good leads. The stuff I’ve read makes very convincing arguments for the legality – esp since the land was not sovereign territory. This is a particularly salient point because  that status was itself the product of the complete lack of interest in a Palestinian nation on the part of Arabs living in Palestine in 1948, an attitude exquisitely articulated by Arafat in 1964 when, West Bank and Gaza in Arab hands, he could only mobilize for the destruction of Israel. So the idea that the Palestinians have some kind of un-forfeitable ontological claim to this land is itself kind of loopy. A claim, maybe, but hardly one that overrides all other considerations (including the contempt with which the Arabs and other Palestinian leaders have treated the inhabitants of these territories.)

The issue, I think should be thought through not only in legal terms, but also as a matter of fair judgment. To judge the Israeli settlements illegal is so harsh an application of whatever laws one can find (the most stringent application of Geneva, unapplied to any other national entity), that it calls into question the partiality of the judge (indeed, it is an uncritical adoption of the Palestinians claims).

Gleanings, 05.03.11

Fabian Pascal:

Ben Smith: Obama Israel pressure working? (MUST READ)

Aluf Benn reports in Ha’aretz that Benjamin Netanyahu, feeling international pressure and a domestic dead end, is planning an abrupt tack toward a two-state solution:

Now he is saying in closed meetings that “a binational state would be disastrous for Israel” and suddenly Netanyahu sounds like former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who in an interview with Haaretz at the Annapolis Conference declared: Two states or Israel is finished. And this is the same Netanyahu who has always denied the demographic threat, regarding it as a scarecrow in the service of the left.

If this is right, another way of saying it is this: Obama’s pressure on Israel appears, like it or not, to be paying off in forcing Netanyahu to the policy outcome Americans want.

Ed. Note (oao): Israel currently has only Olmerts and Netanyahu always was one. I strongly recommend Yehuda Avner’s book THE PRIME MINISTERS to learn what leadership really is relative to the total absence of it today.

Matthew Levitt: Policy Alert: How to Deal with Islamist Movements in Post-Revolutionary Regimes?

“If our policy can’t distinguish between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood,” stated the same anonymous official cited by the Post, “we won’t be able to adapt to this change” presented by the Jasmine revolutions. In fact, to adapt to these changes and be on the right side of history, what the administration really needs to do is consider what the appropriate threshold should be for partnering with the United States and participation in the democratic system. Failure to do just that has already led to governments led by Hamas in Gaza and Hizballah in Lebanon. Being less than al-Qaeda should not suffice. Tolerance, respect for women’s rights, establishment of a strong civil society that promotes liberal values, and honoring international agreements and borders are more likely to produce the kind of truly free and democratic societies that promote long-term stability.

MARC CHAMPION and LUCETTE LAGNADO: A Tale of Two Alexandrias

Over the past six decades, Egypt’s second city has morphed from cosmopolitan oasis into Islamist stronghold.

The Telegraph: Libya: LSE feared ’embarrassing’ Gaddafi’s son over donation

The Daily Telegraph has also learned that Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, made a personal contribution to Saif Gaddafi’s thesis when he was studying at the LSE. Mr Blair gave him an interview in which he described how corrupt states can be made more transparent.

YnetNews: Gaddafi claims Israeli attacks as Turkey offers to attack Libya in exchange for EU membership

The Herald Tribune reported Wednesday that Turkey had offered to spearhead a NATO offensive against Libyan forces in exchange for acceptance into the European Union. US President Barack Obama supports the offer, diplomats told the paper.

Martin Kramer: Talk about impeccable timing. “Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah delivered on Thursday a Kuwaiti gift of $4.5 million as an endowment to the Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) at the George Washington (GW) University. Sheikh Salem handed over the contribution to GW President Steven Knapp.” You want to know if Kuwait’s monarchy could go south? Look elsewhere. Kuwait gifts $4.5m to GW University | Kuwait Times: GW President Knapp said that he is “deeply grateful to the Government of Kuwait and His Highness the Amir for their continued support of the George Washington University.”

Josef Joffe: Tyranny, the West, and the Rest

There is no reason to be “shocked, shocked.” Everybody—and that goes for the West as well as for Arabs, African, and Asians—has been able to see all along what’s been happening in Libya. But the Human Rights Council did not seem notice—perhaps because it was too busy passing 32 resolutions against Israel since its creation in 2006, almost half of the total it’s issued. The Council must have acted in a fit of dizziness when it elected Libya as a member … In 2009, while Qaddafi was in Rome, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi praised him as “man of deep wisdom.” In 2007, French President Sarkozy’s “good friend” got to pitch his tent in the middle of Paris, presumably rent-free. But never mind. The visit brought in a deal worth 10 billion euros for a little nuclear reactor here, 14 Rafale combat planes there. And now, he is our friend no more. “Treason,” the cynic Talleyrand pontificated, “is a matter of date.” “Unfriending,” too, we might add.

Peter Stanford: The real scandal at the LSE

It is that web of relationships between government – specifically the Blair government – the LSE, Monitor and Saif Gaddafi that is at the heart of this whole debacle. Sir Howard’s predecessor as director was Anthony (now Lord) Giddens, guru of the Blairite “Third Way” and apparently such a starry-eyed admirer of the Libyan dictator that he wrote in 2005 of how Gaddafi senior cut “an impressive figure” and appeared “genuinely popular” with his own people … Such a fate is often the lot of politicians, but it is a calamitous and self-inflicted blow to the academic institution set up in 1895 by George Bernard Shaw and social reformers Sidney and Beatrice Webb on such high-minded Fabian principles.

Ethel Gutman:

Niall Ferguson, “Why the West is now in Decline

“In my new book and series, I argue that what distinguished the West from the Rest – the mainsprings of global power – were six identifiably novel complexes of institutions and associated ideas and behaviours. For the sake of simplicity, I summarise them under six headings: 1. Competition 2. Science 3. Property rights 4. Medicine 5. The consumer society 6. The work ethic.”

My conclusion is that we are already living through the twilight of Western predominance. But that is not just because most of the Rest have now downloaded all or nearly all of our killer apps. It is also because we ourselves have lost faith in our own civilisation.

David Caesarani, “The Promise: An exercise in British self-exculpation

“The British were in Palestine for their own interests and when it no longer suited them they left.”

Gleanings, 04.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Barry Rubin: Now We Know: How the Obama Administration is Going to Bring Disaster to the Middle East and U.S. Interests (MUST READ!!!)

In a moment, I’ll present you with what might be the most frightening paragraph in the modern history of U.S. Middle East policy. But first, here’s one that’s among the most deplorable. It’s from a Washington Post article:

“The Obama administration is preparing for the prospect that Islamist governments will take hold in North Africa and the Middle East, acknowledging that the popular revolutions there will bring a more religious cast to the region’s politics.”

Here it is:

“The administration is already taking steps to distinguish between various movements in the region that promote Islamic law in government. An internal assessment, ordered by the White House last month, identified large ideological differences between such movements as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and al-Qaeda that will guide the U.S. approach to the region.”

Caroline Glick: The New Middle East (MUST READ)

The Iranians are right. We are moving into a new Middle East. And if the mullahs aren’t overthrown, the New Middle East will be a very dark and dangerous place … Unfortunately, the Obama administration has failed completely to understand what is happening. Clinton told the Congress and the Senate that Iran’s increased power means that the US should continue to arm and fund Iran’s allies and support the so-called democratic forces that are allied with Iran.

Charles Krauthammer: From Baghdad to Benghazi

Voices around the world, from Europe to America to Libya, are calling for U.S. intervention to help bring down Moammar Gaddafi. Yet for bringing down Saddam Hussein, the United States has been denounced variously for aggression, deception, arrogance and imperialism … No matter the hypocritical double standard. Now that revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and everyone is a convert to George W. Bush’s freedom agenda, it’s not just Iraq that has slid into the memory hole. Also forgotten is the once proudly proclaimed “realism” of Years One and Two of President Obama’s foreign policy – the “smart power” antidote to Bush’s alleged misty-eyed idealism.

London Evening Standard: Academic Integrity

The profiles of two of the university’s top academics, Professor Francis Terry and Professor Julius Sen, were altered last week to remove any mention of their work in Libya. The university was today accused of attempting to “rewrite history”.

Lee Smith: The Stakes in Libya

Iran can hardly be expected to ignore a vacuum where it might enhance its regional strategy. A presence in any place offering a border with U.S. allies like Egypt and Tunisia is good for Tehran. The Islamic Republic’s ally Syria would likely come down on Qaddafi’s side as well, especially since Syrian intelligence services built their ties to Qaddafi during an earlier Middle East civil war in Lebanon.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, seems to be learning regional history from scratch. But we know what a civil war in the Middle East looks like. We know how these conflicts drag in their neighbors and destabilize bordering states. We know the humanitarian cost and the cost to American interests. We know what happens in the aftermath. American soldiers are in Afghanistan to prevent that country from becoming a failed state and terrorist haven. A civil war in Libya promises to create a dynamic potentially many times worse. Are we really going to forgo the opportunity to influence the outcome in America’s favor?

PowerLine: A Red-Letter Day

Today, Iran becomes a member of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women. No country, including the U.S., is expected to object.

Gleanings, 03.03.11

Barry Rubin: Muslim Brotherhood’s New Campaign: Seize Control of Egypt’s Islamic Institutions (MUST READ!!)

This is of gigantic importance (see if anyone else covers it). MEMRI has pointed out the opening of a Muslim Brotherhood campaign to replace Egypt’s current clerical hierarchy with its own people. If that happens…you can imagine. Once Islamists are in place making the “official” decisions on what constitutes proper Islam, an Islamist state cannot be far away … “God-fearing” imams means Muslim Brotherhood cadre. The president of Egypt “must be subordinate” to al-Azhar means an Islamist state. This strategy also suggests that the Brotherhood is recognizing that it will not choose Egypt’s next president–who is more likely to be the nationalist Amr Moussa–so it must start building an independent base of support outside of the government’s and president’s control for its long march toward Islamism at a later date.

Barry Rubin: New York Times’ Promoting Muslim Brotherhood; Hilary Clinton Promoting al-Jazira: It’s Beyond Satire! (MUST READ)

I have pointed out several times how the New York Times has been whitewashing the Muslim Brotherhood, including the publication of a terrible set of lies by Tariq Ramadan. Now, without having to my knowledge published a single piece pointing to the Muslim Brotherhood’s radical Islamism, anti-Americanism, antisemitism, and terrorism, we have still another op-ed by a Muslim Brotherhood leader in the newspaper. Once again we are told they are great, moderate guys … Things have gone beyond anything I ever would have believed. With Secretary of State Hilary Clinton holding up al-Jazira as a role model for the American media, I think I’ve seen just about everything wrong being said and done. Is she aware of how al-Jazira slants the news? I still remember their reporting that the United States had used a nuclear weapon in Baghdad during the 2003 war.

The Telegraph: Large Arab gifts to universities lead to ‘hostile’ teaching

Between 1995 and 2008, eight universities – Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, University College London, the LSE, Exeter, Dundee and City – accepted more than £233.5 million from Muslim rulers and those closely connected to them … The donors claim that they want only to promote understanding of Islam – a fine goal for any university. But the man who gathered the earlier figures, Prof Anthony Glees, argues that their real agenda is rather different: to push an extreme ideology and act as a form of propaganda for the Wahhabist strain of Islam within universities. They push, he says, “the wrong sort of education by the wrong sort of people, funded by the wrong sorts of donor”.

MARK HELPRIN: The Decline of U.S. Naval Power

Last week, pirates attacked and executed four Americans in the Indian Ocean. We and the Europeans have endured literally thousands of attacks by the Somali pirates without taking the initiative against their vulnerable boats and bases even once. Such paralysis is but a symptom of a sickness that started some time ago.

Victor Davis Hanson: Our Schizoid Foreign Policy

Are we stupid abroad by accident or design?

Walter Russell Mead: The Mead List: World’s Top Ten Gaddafi Toads

History, however, will not forgive those who, either from greed or a shared interest in promoting tyranny, colluded with, bribed, defended and helped this grotesque parody of a national leader rape and ruin his own unhappy land while he strutted ludicrously across the tawdry stage of world politics for forty pathetic years.

To name and shame everyone who colluded with this nasty piece of work — and a few are still standing by him now — would take far too long.  But this moment in world history should not pass without a shout out to the worst of the worst: the top ten Gaddafi enablers who gave gratuitous aid and comfort to this murderous nutjob.

Paul Hollander: The Left’s Converging Political Misjudgments: Communism and Radical Islam

Why do people on the Left, and especially intellectuals — often motivated by high ideals and good intentions — so often make poor political judgments, especially about the adversaries of the United States? … Islamic movements came to be viewed with a degree of sympathy by numerous American intellectuals and those on the Left, who were convinced of the worthlessness of their own society, and were irresistibly drawn to “the enemies of their enemy.”

Adi Schwartz, Only one side of the story

I thought it would be interesting, and so I found myself about a month ago on a tour with 12 journalists: 9 from Sweden (4 of them Jewish and one Palestinian who’d emigrated from Syria), one from Russia, one from Turkey and one from Germany. The printed media, radio and television were all represented. The first three days were devoted to a seminar at “Yad Vashem”, the holocaust memorial museum. One day was spent in Hebron, another in Bethlehem, another in Tel Aviv and another in Sderot.

I quickly felt that the experience was a microcosm of everything that goes on between Israelis, Palestinians and agents of all nationalities in the international arena. I found the criticism, the accusations and the dynamics within the group to be marred with harsh intellectual violence. Naturally, I couldn’t respond and react to everything, but I put my thoughts and impressions down in writing. I am now publishing a diary of sorts for those days, which differs in essence from the format of a straightforward journalistic account, yet is of just as much value, in my opinion.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Time on the J Street Ward

While attending the J Street conference I wondered whether I had entered some alternative dimension, where facts known by the rest of the world, and basic principles of reasoning, just didn’t operate in quite the same way as they do on the rest of planet Earth.  I think I know what’s operating.

Psychologists teach that an obsession is “a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling.”  There is a persistent theme on J Street: a Palestinian State must be created RIGHT NOW (“PSRN”), and it’s almost as if there is a complete memory block about the refusals of varying forms of the state, including the original offer by the United Nations of yet another Arab State in 1947.

Harold Rhode, Regime Change in Iran: A Win for the Gulf and the West

Many Middle Eastern experts, especially in the U.S. government, have argued for years that Sunni fundamentalists such as Osama bin Laden and the Muslim Brotherhood hate Shiites and could never work together. But nothing could be further from the truth. Sunni Brotherhood leaders and members of bin Laden’s family have made appearances in Tehran over the years, many times in full public view. These Sunni and Shiite fundamentalists share a common goal of eliminating the West from the Muslim world. Thereafter, they could work out their deadly differences. If things continue as they are, these upheavals could well amount to a huge win for this passionately anti-Western Iranian regime.

Imagine a situation where the Shiites of Bahrain manage to overthrow their Sunni authoritarian rulers, and their freedom inspires the Shiites of Saudi Arabia to push for the same. Imagine how Iran’s current rulers would view this situation. The Iranians would undoubtedly pressure their fellow Shiites to push the Americans out, and consequently hold the entire world hostage to their dictates. Moreover, while we wish the Egyptian people well, imagine a situation where the Iranian-allied Muslim Brotherhood eventually takes over the Egyptian revolution, just as Khomeini took over the Iranian revolution from the hands of the secularists. America and the world would end up with the short end of an Iranian victory.

But things do not have to end up that way. There is irrefutable evidence that the Iranian people want regime change. They have used every opportunity to make their views known, often putting themselves at great danger. Just as the young Arabs have shown us in the past few weeks, these Iranians too have had enough of the tyrannical rulers, who, if left to their own devices, could easily inflict upon their people the same fate as Mr. Gaddafi is inflicting on his own people.

Jonathan Freedland, Antisemitism: the hatred that refuses to go away

Similarly, Jews are unnerved when they read learned essays by foreign policy experts alleging the domination of US affairs by the “Zionist lobby” – seeing in such arguments a veiled, upmarket form of the perennial conspiracy theory. They feel similarly alarmed by claims that the hidden hand behind all world events is really Israel – that it was Israel that pushed George W Bush to invade Iraq (when, in fact, Israeli policymakers were warning that Iran posed the greater threat, or that Israel is the reason why Britain has long backed despots in the Arab world, when Britain has plenty of self-interested reasons of its own for its policy in the region. Viewed like this, Assange’s remarks don’t look so distant from Oliver Stone’s assertion last year that there is “Jewish domination of the media”, to say nothing of Richard Dawkins’s breezy statement that “the Jewish lobby . . . more or less monopolise American foreign policy”.

What makes all this terrain so tricky is not only that every inch of it is vigorously contested but that many of those who resort to anti-Jewish tropes when tackling Israel do so apparently inadvertently, even at the very same time as they fiercely denounce antisemitism. Because they don’t lapse into Galliano-esque abuse, they believe they must be free of all prejudice. To many, it comes as a shock to discover the provenance of the imagery they have just deployed.

Gleanings, 02.03.11

Lee Smith: Democratic State (MUST READ)

Nonetheless, I do believe that, as I argued last week, events over the last few years have presented serious threats to the Jewish state—not least of which is a delegitimization campaign waged not in the region itself but from the capitals of Europe. It is a peculiar moment in history, to see Europe tottering on the precipice of resentment and obscurantism while the uprisings in the Middle East over the last two months have shown that the Arabs are perhaps on the verge of something new. Maybe the protests reveal not a revolution as such but a recognition.

Geoffrey Levy: London School of Useful Idiots (MUST READ)

How a cadre of Blair cronies, ex-MI6 chiefs and top dons at a top university supported Gaddafi for his millions

Alex Joffe: Follow the Money (MUST READ)

The aims of these investments are very specific: the creation of a particular sort of cultural “understanding.” And in this respect they have paid off, especially in the area of faculty hiring and concentration. Early on, there was much touting of secularization in the Middle East, a commodity that failed to materialize. As for radical Islam, a subject in much greater need of “understanding,” it was downplayed both before and even after 9/11. Instead, the supposedly “separate political wings” of Hamas and Hizballah, the way that elections in the Arab world allegedly tend to “moderate” radical groups, and the so-called “incrementalism” toward democracy of tyrants like Qaddafi were held up as hopeful signs. To this day, even as the study of Israel itself has been marginalized, the Palestinian cause has been presented as the pivotal issue of all time and the real key to everything one would ever need to know about the Middle East.

Michael Young: America’s end, or its democratic moment?

Each of these pillars has eroded in the last decade. Saudi intervention in the oil markets remains a matter of great import in Washington, but the U.S.-Saudi relationship, particularly after the 9/11 attacks and the American invasion of Iraq, has deteriorated. Israel still enjoys American backing and remains the largest recipient of American foreign aid, but the relationship has been increasingly costly, because of a widespread Arab conviction that the U.S. will never push Israel to make concessions on behalf of a settlement with the Palestinians.

David Pryce-Jones: Qaddafi Is Far from ‘Delusional’

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, is on record saying that Moammar Qaddafi is “delusional” and “disconnected” from reality. One has to wonder whether this person knows much about the Arab world and whether she is fit to represent her country. Qaddafi has clearly been calculating only too rationally that the civil disturbances in Libya are not on a scale large enough to dispossess him, and he will be able to overcome them and stay in power.

Global Muslim Brotherhood Report: Tunisia Legalizes Al-Nahda; Group To Form Political Party

Global media has reported on the legalization of al-Nahda, a movement head by Rachid Ghannouchi, a leader in the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1994, scholar Martin Kramer reported on the extremist background of Al-Ghannouchi. According to that report:

Assuming a valid distinction can be made between Islamists who are “extremist” and “reformist,” Ghannouchi clearly belongs to the first category. Since his last visit to the United States, he has openly threatened U.S. interests, supported Iraq against the United States and campaigned against the Arab-Israeli peace process. Indeed, Ghannouchi in exile has personified the rejection of U.S. policies, even as he dispatches missives to the State Department.

Evelyn Gordon: Sorry, but Israelis Have Good Reason to Be Fearful

Over the past two decades, Israelis have lived through numerous regional changes, each of which, we were confidently assured — by both our own leaders and the West — would benefit us greatly. And in every single case, the change only made things worse.

Jeffrey Goldberg: Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews!

The headline above was produced by the Instamash-Bloginator3000, a device, invented by Israeli scientists working in the Jewish settlement of Neve Manyak, that can reduce thousands of blog posts to a single thought. And it also corrupts Iranian centrifuges! I plugged 3,000 of my blog posts into this wonder machine, and this is the headline that came out! [The Jews and the Jewish Question – rl]

Pallywood, B’tselem and the Augean Stables of the MSNM

CAMERA has spotted a particularly interesting case of Pallywood which illustrates not only the mechanics of staging, and the lust for dirt on Israel on the part of “human rights” organizations like B’tselem, but the near-unbelievable sloppiness of the MSNM (here Ynet, an Israeli newspaper outlet).

March 2, 2011by Yishai Goldflam, Tamar Sternthal UPDATED: B’Tselem Photographer Stages Scene

March 2 Update: Translation of Arabic Proves the Scene is Staged

March 1 — Once upon a time, journalists would report the news. Today, some prefer manufactured news. When journalists collaborate with organizations driven by a one-sided agenda aimed at influencing public opinion, the distinction between a newspaper and a propaganda mouthpiece is dangerously blurred.

Of course, this only goes one way. Let some settlers (or even the IDF) try and give the MSNM some footage putting Palestinians in a bad light and see with what a fine-tooth comb it gets worked over. The basic epistemological principle is: If it’s a Palestinian claim, believe it until proven false; if it’s an Israeli claim, doubt it until proven true. (And if that happens, move quickly on to another topic.)

Take, for example, B’Tselem, which noticed that some lazy journalists prefer to receive pre-packaged video clips over actually doing their jobs. These edited and ready-to-view clips then appear next to bombastic headlines, and the journalist congratulates himself for getting a scoop.

Such was the case early this week (Feb. 27) at the Israeli site Ynet, which appears in English and in Hebrew. Sunday’s Hebrew article by Elior Levi and the corresponding English version (“Video: 11-year-old Palestinian stone-thrower arrested”) are based on a video that B’Tselem apparently supplied to Levi.

Iranian Semiotic Arousal and the 2012 Olympics

I have written a good deal (esp in my upcoming book) about “semiotic arousal” as a condition of the apocalyptic mind – everything is meaningful, patterns appear everywhere, nothing is coincidental. It is also a pattern of the conspiratorial mind (which, in many cases, is also apocalyptic). We’ve seen this among Muslims who can see either slanders of Islam or hidden support for the Zionists in various logos.

Now it’s the Olympics.

Iran claims London 2012 Olympics logo spells the word ‘Zion’
Almost four years after the logo’s launch, Tehran threatens to boycott the Games unless the design is changed

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor, Monday 28 February 2011 14.29 GMT

The London 2012 Olympic logo, criticised by Iran. Photograph: Frank Baron for the Guardian
Iran has threatened to boycott the London Olympics unless the organisers replace the official logo, which Tehran claims spells out the word “Zion”.

The logo, a jagged representation of the year 2012, has been said by its critics to resemble many things, from a swastika to a sexual act, but the Iranian government argues it represents a veiled pro-Israeli conspiracy.

In a formal complaint to the International Olympic Committee, Tehran has called for the graphic to be replaced and its designers “confronted”, warning that Iranian athletes might otherwise be ordered to stay away from the London Games.

According to the state-backed Iranian Students News Agency, which is frequently used to convey official pronouncements, the letter says: “As internet documents have proved, using the word Zion in the logo of the 2012 Olympic Games is a disgracing action and against the Olympics’ valuable mottos.

“There is no doubt that negligence of the issue from your side may affect the presence of some countries in the Games, especially Iran which abides by commitment to the values and principles.”

Nice touch. Just what values and principles are these? Paranoid hatred? England would be well served by the absence of Iran and any other Muslim country crazy enough to insist on this.

The letter, from the country’s national Olympic committee, leaves unclear what “internet documents” it is referring to.

It’s also unclear what is “proved” on the internet. High school kids have a better sense of what’s reliable. Here, I think the principle is: If it supports your point of view, it’s true. Alas, that applies to many people in this world of self-induced brainwashing.

Amid the popular uproar that accompanied the unveiling of the logo in 2007, there were some claims, particularly on conspiracy-oriented websites, that its constituent shapes could be rearranged to make the world “Zion” and some animations were posted on YouTube showing how to do it.

An IOC official confirmed that the Iranian letter had been received but said: “The London 2012 logo represents the figure 2012, nothing else.”

A spokesman for the London Olympic organising committee added: “It was launched in 2007 following testing and consultation. We are surprised that this complaint has been made now.”

Notice how the gauntlet has been thrown. England either backs down or the Iranians do. Soooo honor-shame. Watch this space.

Jeffrey Goldberg has a few choice words on this:

…the Iranian regime complaining that the 2012 Olympic logo secretly spells out the word “Zion” (they’re wrong, of course; the logo secretly spells out “Mark Spitz is Jewish, and Jason Lezak is Too, So Go Drown Yourselves in the Caspian Sea)…

For a summary of the anti-Semitic idiocy that increasingly tumbles trippingly off the tongue of people all over the place, see Zombietime.

Gleanings, 01.03.11

Efraim Karsh: A legacy of violence (MUST READ)

Violence and oppression, then, have not been imported to the Middle East as a byproduct of European imperialism; they were a part of the political culture long before. If anything, it is the Middle East’s tortuous relationship with modernity that has left physical force as the main instrument of political discourse…

In the long history of the Islamic empire, the wide gap between delusions of grandeur and the forces of localism would be bridged time and again by force of arms, making violence a key element of Islamic political culture. No sooner had the prophet Muhammad died than his successor, Abu Bakr, had to suppress a widespread revolt among the Arabian tribes. Twenty-three years later, the head of the umma, Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, was murdered by disgruntled rebels; his successor, Ali ibn Abi Talib, was confronted for most of his reign with armed insurrections, most notably by the governor of Syria, Mu’awiya ibn Abi Sufian, who went on to establish the Umayyad dynasty after Ali’s assassination.

Barry Rubin: Video: A History of the Muslim Brotherhood (MUST WATCH)

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.


CAIRO, MARCH 1 – About 200 imams protested today in front of the Religious Affairs Ministry, calling for politicians to relinquish their influence in the appointment of religious officials in Egypt.

Ed. Note: Read this in light of Barry Rubin’s mentioning in a recent blog that the Muslim Brotherhood has embarked on an effort to substitute their own imams for those appointed by the government.

National Post: UN set to adopt report that praises Libya’s human-rights record

The UN Human Rights Council is set to adopt a major report hailing Libya’s human rights record — despite moving to suspend the Arab country’s council membership amid an international outcry over attacks on civilians. The report shows countries applauding and commending Libya as they note “with appreciation the country’s commitment to upholding human rights on the ground.”

Richard Cohen: The Arab World’s Lingering Hatred of Jews

The Arab world is saturated by Jew-hatred. Some of this hatred was planted by Husseini and some of it long existed, but whatever the case, it remains a remarkable, if unremarked, feature of Arab nationalism. The other day, for instance, about 1 million Egyptians in Tahrir Square heard from Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an esteemed religious leader and Muslim Brotherhood figure whose anti-Semitic credentials are unimpeachable. Among other things, he has said that Hitler was sent by Allah as “divine punishment” for the Jews. His al-Jazeera program is one of that TV network’s most popular.

Nonetheless, since the days of Husseini, a true Hitlerian figure, Arab nations have shamefully been granted an exception to the standards expected of the rest of the world, as if they were children. If I were an Israeli, I’d be worried. If I were an Arab, I’d be insulted. If I were a critic only of Israel, I’d be ashamed.

Michael Weiss: The Libyan School of Economics

When asked if he didn’t perhaps think that such a collection of anti-Israel ideologues was a problem for LSE’s impartiality, Sir Howard told the Times: “The biggest donor to the School in the past year is George Soros, who of course is of Jewish origin. We operate, I believe, a very balanced view.”

Benjamin Weinthal, ‘Human Rights Watch should have been keeping tabs on Libya’

NGO Monitor calls on HRW Mideast/Africa head Sarah Leah Whitson to resign for ignoring Libyan abuses, failing to offer aid.

BERLIN – Fast-moving events in Libya have catapulted the scandal-plagued Middle East and North African Division (MENA) of Human Rights Watch into a new controversy for its failure over the years to diligently investigate human rights violations in Libya.

According to Anne Herzberg, a legal advisor for Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, “Human Rights Watch, and specifically MENA director Sarah Leah Whitson, has soft-peddled [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi’s oppressive acts and offered no help to the Libyan people. Whitson was well aware of the atrocities committed by the Gaddafi regime, but she chose to present the facade that Gaddafi’s son [Saif al- Islam] was prepared to implement ‘reforms.’” Calling on the HRW official to resign, Herzberg said on Sunday that the ongoing events in Libya “reveal Whitson’s gross incompetence. She has failed to retract her previously misleading statements. She cannot continue to head the MENA division.”

Erdogan and his boys show what honor-shame folks do when they feel strong

Erdogan is in Europe trying to get the folks there to accept Turkey in the EU. But he’s not going hat in hand. On the contrary, he clearly thinks he’s in the strong position (or he doesn’t care). Apparently, Germany’s idea that Turkish immigrants should become part of German culture is deeply offensive. (HT: David Steinman)

Row over treatment of immigrants reopens Turkey’s rift with Europe
Prime Minister blasts German policy on trip to promote EU bid
By Tony Paterson in Berlin

Monday, 28 February 2011

The Turkish Prime Minister yesterday issued a stinging rebuke to Germany over its treatment of Turkish immigrants.

In remarks that highlight the resentment that has built up over the European Union ‘s continued refusal to allow Turkey to join the club, Recep Tayyip Erdogan lambasted the Berlin government’s attempts to integrate its 3.5 million Turkish immigrants, and said policies that encouraged them to renounce their culture and speak German were a “violation of international law”.

This is, of course, a spill-over of the nonsense that Europe has accepted from the Palestinians about anything Israel does being violations of international law, as if either the Palestinians or the Turks had any notion of what international law was about. Too bad the Europeans were so eager to sell out the Israelis. Now it’s blowback time.

Mr Erdogan – in Berlin on the first stop of a visit designed to strengthen his country’s bid to join the EU – delivered his surprisingly outspoken verdict on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s integration drive hours before he was due to address a large gathering of Turkish immigrants in the western city of Düsseldorf last night.

His comments came after a senior member of Ms Merkel’s government sparked an acrimonious row by demanding the negotiations over EU membership be halted because of Ankara’s failure to permit religious freedom.

Of course for Erodgan, lack of religious freedom is not a violation of international law, especially when it’s a Muslim state that denies others that freedom. This German move is exactly what I (and others) have been advocating for a while now – some reciprocity. Erdogan seems to find the very notion that Turks should show reciprocity deeply offensive.

Mr Erdogan told the Rheinische Post newspaper that Germany’s integration policies failed to consider the needs and expectations of its Turkish communities. Addressing the government’s campaign to encourage more Turks to speak German, he added: “Any policy which seeks to revoke the language and culture of migrants violates international law.”

One has to admire his confidence. Note the language of “needs and expectations.” For those who have not read Bat Ye’or’s (allegedly) conspiratorial book Eurabia, the right to refuse assimilation was one part of the “deal” that Arab diplomats made with the Europeans. That’s why European Muslim immigrants of the last thirty years have reversed a near-universal trend of immigration in the modern world – the second generation is less integrated than their elders.

The Turkish Prime Minister’s comments seemed destined to stir up an already heated integration debate in Germany, which culminated last month with a declaration by Ms Merkel that attempts to build a multicultural society had “utterly failed”. David Cameron came to almost the same conclusion in speech delivered in Germany in early February.

Only a decade or so late. Just hopefully not too late.

Fears that Germany has allowed its Muslim communities to develop “parallel societies” have been stoked by a controversial book entitled Germany is Doing Away with Itself by a former Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin. The book claims that laissez-faire policies have produced an underclass of Muslim underachievers. The book has been widely dismissed as racist, but it has sold more than a million copies since last October.

The dismissal as racist is the standard ploy of the useful infidels on the “left.” For a recent example in the USA, compare the NYT’s treatment of problems with immigrants in Sweden with that of Barry Rubin. For the Grey Lady’s reporter, it’s all about cheap, xenophobic, Islamophobic Swedes who don’t want to share their bounty with their Muslim immigrants. No mention of gang rapes, assaults on Jews and other targeted communities, no-go zones where the cops dare not enter.