I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy — but that could change.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earnest Ignorance: My Name is Rachel Corrie at the New Rep

When I was a young confused college student, trying to find myself in an academic urban jungle, like a lot of people my age, I kept a journal -- what I did, where I went, a comment about what I...

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

BBC rediscovers the T-word

You will not find the term Terrorism or Terrorist whenever Jewish kids are being shot up by the Arabs, or schoolchildren being slaughtered in Beslam, Russia, trains bombed in Madrid or tourists killed on the island of Bali.

The T-word is too "emotive" for BBC. But wait, not any more!!

BBC: Terrorist releases prompt U-turn

It appears that BBC used the verboten T-word 6,7,8... I lost count times in one article regarding terror suspects plotting the killing on the British soil. All without any quotations. There must be another 4,5 within quotations.

What's going on? Is blood finally thinker that institutional Jew-hatred and pandemic pandering to Islamic radicals?

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Friday, March 28, 2008

LiveLeak Removes 'Fitna' After Death Threats

I can’t blame LiveLeak for doing this. They run a company, and they have the safety of employees to consider. But it’s infuriating to see another capitulation to the demands of cowardly thugs from the Dark Ages. "This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else.

Jihadwatch.org is unlikely to remove the video. Watch it here.

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A Right to Exist

The nation of Israel existed in its own land thousands of years before Muhammad was even a gleam in his father's eye. Continued Jewish residence in the Land of Israel (Zion, in the Bible) continued throughout the 2 millennia of exile that followed the Roman conquest. Israel has never ceased to exist and it will survive all adversity.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fitna the Movie: Geert Wilders' film about theQuran

Geert Wilders' 'Fitna the Movie'. Finally it's out. Time to see what the fuss is all about.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Peace Love And Anti-Semitism

How the left is anti-Semitic

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Monday, March 24, 2008

It’s all about hatred

Anti-Jewish animosity, rather than economic distress, is terror’s root cause.

Gilad Sharon



Many people around the world, including some Israelis, believe that the moment the conflict between us and the Palestinians would be resolved, the reason for the Arab and Muslim world’s hostility towards us will disappear. Peace will prevail among Israel and all Arab states, tensions between Islam and the West will fade, and the terror threat against Western nations will be lifted.

This conviction is naïve and false – the Palestinian issue is the pretext; a means used to slam Israel. It is not the problem.

The Arab world never reconciled itself to our existence as a Jewish state in the Mideastern space. The only Arab maps where the State of Israel appears are military maps. When it comes to the maps used in geography classes at schools, we do not exist.

It would be good if people around the world and around here too would realize that the zealot demon that came out of the bottle cannot be compromised with. We can only push it back into the bottle with strength and determination and bury it deeply in the sands of the Arabian Peninsula.

Arab states have no interest whatsoever in the fate of the Palestinians. Syria’s defense minister referred to Arafat as the “son of 60,000 whores,” while Egypt’s president once urged the Palestinian leader to do something by telling him: “Come on already, you dog.” We must understand the meaning of such insult in the Arab world, and this is nothing compared to the declarations that were not uttered in public.

If the Palestinian issue bothered Arab states so much, what stopped them from establishing a Palestinian state before 1967 and the Six-Day War?

The argument that the suffering and distress experienced by the Palestinians are the reason for terror against Israel and the West is also unfounded. Terrorism against Jews in Israel started more than 120 years ago, much before the Six-Day War and the War of Independence; before we were accused of expulsion or occupation. Just as it was then, today too the hatred for Jews and rejection of our existence here are the reason for terrorism.

Let’s examine, for example, the despicable terrorist who carried out the attack at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem. We are talking about the son of a wealthy family who lived in a nice house and made a nice living through those he murdered via the family’s transportation company. He did not act because of distress, but rather, because of hatred.

Aggressor can’t be appeased

If we look back at the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks in the United States, we would discover that most of them were Saudis and that the funding and assistance they received is also related to the Saudis. It is difficult to claim that the Saudis suffer from any kind of distress, at least not in financial terms. Perhaps life is a bit boring for them, or the weather is too hot, but there is no shortage of money there.

The reason for that and other offensives is radical Islamic fanaticism that is unwilling to accept the West and its way of life and culture, and seeks to enforce its dark and zealous beliefs on all global residents through any means available. Live in line with our ways, or die – this is what they say.

It would be good for the US and Europe to realize that pressing Israel to make concessions would not bring them the calm they so covet and would not allow them to go back to a life of hedonistic euphoria. Giving in to terrorism and violence does not serve to appease the aggressor, as was proven by Hitler, but rather, only encourages it.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama: Throw momma from the train

The media is abuzz. Mr. Obama is making a major speech about the race in America. But is it?

What does race has to do with the crazy and hate filled mutterings of Mr. Jeremiah Wright? Nothing at all. The issue at hand is Mr. Obama's failure of leadership when he remained silent in the face of barrage of hate mongering oozing off the stage of his Church of twenty years.

Mr. Obama's speech should be studied in high schools and colleges: we have not witnessed such skillful use of just about any logical and moral fallacy.

NYT in the meanwhile, predictably singing some very uncommon praises:

"Inaugural addresses by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt come to mind, as does John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on religion, with its enduring vision of the separation between church and state. Senator Barack Obama, who has not faced such tests of character this year, faced one on Tuesday. It is hard to imagine how he could have handled it better.

Mr. Obama’s eloquent speech should end the debate over his ties to Mr. Wright ..."
Oh really?!!

Particularly disgusting was Mr. Obama mention of his supposedly racist grandmother. He actually sacrificed her for the sake of his unbounded ambition.

Again, it's not about race. It's not about black or white. It's about failing to do what's right. A failure of judgment, failure of leadership, betrayal of public trust.

Just words, Mr. Obama? Just words?

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Obama and the Minister

WSJ.com - Opinion:

By RONALD KESSLER
March 14, 2008; Page A19

In a sermon delivered at Howard University, Barack Obama's longtime minister, friend and adviser blamed America for starting the AIDS virus, training professional killers, importing drugs and creating a racist society that would never elect a black candidate president.

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Mr. Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, gave the sermon at the school's Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel in Washington on Jan. 15, 2006.

[Obama and the Minister]
Trinity United Church of Christ/Religion News Service
Sen. Barack Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright

"We've got more black men in prison than there are in college," he began. "Racism is alive and well. Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. No black man will ever be considered for president, no matter how hard you run Jesse [Jackson] and no black woman can ever be considered for anything outside what she can give with her body."

Mr. Wright thundered on: "America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . . . We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns, and the training of professional killers . . . We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against Castro and Ghadhafi . . . We put [Nelson] Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God."

His voice rising, Mr. Wright said, "We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against it as being anti-Semitic. . . . We care nothing about human life if the end justifies the means. . . ."

Concluding, Mr. Wright said: "We started the AIDS virus . . . We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty. . . ."

Considering this view of America, it's not surprising that in December Mr. Wright's church gave an award to Louis Farrakhan for lifetime achievement. In the church magazine, Trumpet, Mr. Wright spoke glowingly of the Nation of Islam leader. "His depth on analysis [sic] when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye-opening," Mr. Wright said of Mr. Farrakhan. "He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest."

After Newsmax broke the story of the award to Farrakhan on Jan. 14, Mr. Obama issued a statement. However, Mr. Obama ignored the main point: that his minister and friend had spoken adoringly of Mr. Farrakhan, and that Mr. Wright's church was behind the award to the Nation of Islam leader.

Instead, Mr. Obama said, "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree." Trumpet is owned and produced by Mr. Wright's church out of the church's offices, and Mr. Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor.

Meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland on Feb. 24, Mr. Obama described Mr. Wright as being like "an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with." He rarely mentions the points of disagreement.

Mr. Obama went on to explain Mr. Wright's anti-Zionist statements as being rooted in his anger over the Jewish state's support for South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid. As with his previous claim that his church gave the award to Mr. Farrakhan because of his work with ex-offenders, Mr. Obama appears to have made that up.

Neither the presentation of the award nor the Trumpet article about the award mentions ex-offenders, and Mr. Wright's statements denouncing Israel have not been qualified in any way. Mr. Obama nonetheless told the Jewish leaders that the award to Mr. Farrakhan "showed a lack of sensitivity to the Jewish community." That is an understatement.

As for Mr. Wright's repeated comments blaming America for the 9/11 attacks because of what Mr. Wright calls its racist and violent policies, Mr. Obama has said it sounds as if the minister was trying to be "provocative."

Hearing Mr. Wright's venomous and paranoid denunciations of this country, the vast majority of Americans would walk out. Instead, Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle have presumably sat through numerous similar sermons by Mr. Wright.

Indeed, Mr. Obama has described Mr. Wright as his "sounding board" during the two decades he has known him. Mr. Obama has said he found religion through the minister in the 1980s. He joined the church in 1991 and walked down the aisle in a formal commitment of faith.

The title of Mr. Obama's bestseller "The Audacity of Hope" comes from one of Wright's sermons. Mr. Wright is one of the first people Mr. Obama thanked after his election to the Senate in 2004. Mr. Obama consulted Mr. Wright before deciding to run for president. He prayed privately with Mr. Wright before announcing his candidacy last year.

Mr. Obama obviously would not choose to belong to Mr. Wright's church and seek his advice unless he agreed with at least some of his views. In light of Mr. Wright's perspective, Michelle Obama's comment that she feels proud of America for the first time in her adult life makes perfect sense.

Much as most of us would appreciate the symbolism of a black man ascending to the presidency, what we have in Barack Obama is a politician whose closeness to Mr. Wright underscores his radical record.

The media have largely ignored Mr. Obama's close association with Mr. Wright. This raises legitimate questions about Mr. Obama's fundamental beliefs about his country. Those questions deserve a clearer answer than Mr. Obama has provided so far.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Islamic states seek world freedom curbs

"The Islamic states see human rights exclusively in Islamic terms, and by sheer weight of numbers this view is becoming dominant within the U.N. system. The implications for the universality of human rights are ominous"

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Iranian-Israeli War

When will Israel and Iran go to war? They already have.

The New Republic:

Immediately after the massacre of eight students in a yeshiva library in Jerusalem last week, speculation began within the Israeli security establishment and the media about who had dispatched the lone murderer. Was it Hamas? Hezbollah? Perhaps a new, unknown organization claiming to act on behalf of the "liberation" of the Galilee? In fact, the speculation was pointless. Regardless of the affiliation of the actual perpetrator, the ultimate responsibility for this attack, as for almost all the terror attacks on Israel in recent years, lies with Iran.

The Palestinian struggle is no longer about creating an independent state. It is about being a front-line participant in the Iranian-led jihad to destroy Israel, evolving from a nationalist to a religious war. The thousands of celebrants in Gaza who, following the yeshiva massacre, offered prayers of thanksgiving in the mosques and distributed candies to passersby weren't only indulging in feelings of revenge for Israel's recent military incursion but heralding the coming jihadist victory over the enemies of God. A real solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict can only be reached by dealing with its primary instigator: Iran.

Israel's seventh war began in September 2000, and was launched by Yasser Arafat, who transformed Fatah into a quasi-Islamist movement, nurturing the rhetoric and martyrology of jihad. Arafat no doubt assumed he could manipulate Islamist trappings for nationalist aims. But then he went one step farther: He initiated an alliance with Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Until then, Iran's only client within the Palestinian national movement had been the Islamic Jihad, the smallest of the Palestinian terrorist factions. According to a former chief of Israeli military intelligence, Arafat promised the Iranians that he would turn Gaza into a second southern Lebanon, and Iran began providing weapons and funds to Arafat's Fatah. But then, in January 2002, Israel intercepted the Karine A, a ship carrying Iranian-supplied Katyusha rockets and mortars and C-4 explosives for use in suicide bombings. Exposed and under international pressure, Arafat severed the connection.

Ironically, Hamas was initially more reluctant than Fatah to enter into an Iranian alliance, precisely because the Sunni Hamas takes religion more seriously than Fatah and was loathe to accept the authority of the Iranian Shiites. But that squeamishness ended three years ago with a formal alliance, orchestrated by the Damascus-based Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, and today Hamas is an integral part of the Iranian war against Israel. Iran has trained hundreds of Hamas operatives--and, according to the former intelligence chief, continues to fund individual members of Fatah's Al Aqsa Brigades. Iran's goal is twofold: to extend its influence in the Arab world, and to transform itself, via proxies, into a frontline confrontation state with Israel.

The jihadist war against Israel has shifted from one front to another--suicide bombings inside Israeli cities until 2004, Katyushas on Haifa in the north in 2006, and now Katyushas on Ashkelon in the south. All are battles in the same war. So far, it is a war without an all-encompassing name, and that linguistic failure reflects a larger Israeli failure to treat this as a unified conflict. We still refer to the suicide bombings of 2000-2004 by the Palestinians' misnomer, "the second intifada"--which falsely implies a popular uprising, like the first intifada, rather the orchestrated slew of terror attacks that it was. Awkwardly, we call the 2006 battle against Hezbollah "the second Lebanon War," a name that places the conflict in the wrong context--the first Lebanon War against Palestinian nationalist terrorism in the early 1980s rather than one more front in the Iranian war against Israel. And now we are calling the daily rocket attacks against southern Israel "the war of the Qassams," even as the Qassams are augmented by the far more deadly Katyushas

In contending with Hezbollah and Hamas, Israel is trying to treat the symptoms, rather than the cause. Not surprisingly, it finds itself repeatedly stymied in efforts to stop the attacks on the home front. All of Israel's options in dealing with Hamas seem unbearable. Allowing rockets to continue to fall on southern towns creates despair among Israelis, who see their nation's sovereignty unraveling. Engaging in limited but costly military operations in Gaza, as Israel did last week, creates international outrage and little lasting security gain. Re-conquering Gaza and its dense refugee camps will result in a devastating number of causalities, both among Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians. And even if Israel succeeds in destroying the Hamas infrastructure, Israelis will confront the same dilemmas that forced them to leave Gaza two years ago.

A ceasefire with Hamas--which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert seems to be implementing even as he denies it--may well be the worst option of all. Hamas will likely use that interim period to turn itself into a second Hezbollah, equipped with Iranian weapons. And when Hamas feels empowered to break the ceasefire and resume its attacks, Israel will face a far more formidable enemy.

To deal effectively with the jihad requires an awareness that Israel is in fact at war with the Iranian regime, which manipulates proxies along Israel's borders, supplying them with weapons and training, and energizing them with the promise of imminent victory.

Understandably, Israel has avoided a confrontation with Iran, which could result in the most devastating war Israel has fought. But as the siege around Israel's borders tightens and as the Iranian nuclear program quickens, that direct confrontation becomes increasingly likely.

According to a just-released strategic assessment by the Israeli intelligence community, 2008 will be the "Year of Iran." The Lebanese government, warns the assessment, could collapse in the coming months, allowing Hezbollah to take power. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and Hamas are considering a coordinated rocket assault on Israeli population centers, almost all of which are within rocket range of either group. And, according to the strategic assessment, sometime within the coming year, or by early 2009 at the latest, Iran will achieve nuclear capability. The threat that emerges from the intelligence assessment may well be the most acute that Israel has ever faced.

Following the yeshiva massacre, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown speculated that the gunman was attempting to "derail" the peace process. Brown's implication, widely shared in the West, is that the best way to defeat the jihadists is to create a Palestinian state.

But a viable Palestinian state living peacefully beside Israel will not be possible without disconnecting Iran from these groups who are attacking Israel on its behalf. This may require destabilizing the Iranian regime--hopefully through intensified sanctions against its nuclear program, and by military force against its nuclear installations if sanctions fail. Without stopping the momentum of the Iranian-led jihad against Israel, the appeal of Hamas among Palestinians will grow. So long as the international community tries to create a Palestinian state without seriously confronting the jihadists, Iran and its proxies will continue to make peace impossible--not by "derailing" negotiations, but by making those negotiations irrelevant.

Yossi Klein Halevi is a contributing editor of The New Republic and a senior fellow at the Adelson Center for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Are Democrats ready to lead?

Just look at the mess the Democrats have made of their own nomination race:

  1. We have all heard the old Chicago election joke: vote early, vote often. That usually produces a chuckle. But to the Democrats, it’s no joke. Their nomination rules actually call for voters to vote twice, as they did in Texas. Is this supposed to be fair? I can just see Democrats asking to vote twice in the Presidential elections in November. Sweet.
  2. During elections, the parties usually seek to attract, rather that punish voters. Yet, this is exactly what the Democrats have done to voters of Michigan and, of all states, Florida. Whose brainchild is this, I wonder? Now the Democrats find themselves in a predictable predicament: Ignore, offend and alienate the voters in two critical states they will badly need in Presidential elections or change the rules of the Democratic nomination race. Nicely done!
  3. It is not apparent to almost everyone that barring a miracle, the Democratic nomination race will come down to whatever the Super delegates will decide in their smoke-free room (Do I need to put “Democratic” in quotes at this point?). Whose bright idea was to have Super delegates? I can only think of the vast right wing conspiracy. Surely, no “Democrat” could be responsible for that fiasco. The only reason why anyone would need Super delegates is to provide adult supervision over the regular voters’ desires, which strikes me as, well, autocratic, imperial, monarchical, in other words, the very antithetical of democratic. The choice that “Democrats” now face is this: If, as Obama urges, it is Super delegates' duty to follow their constituents vote, why have them in the first place – they become superfluous; if, as Hilary says, they should vote their conscience, we are back to the old smoke-free arm twisting back-room politics.

Thank you Democratic National Committee and it’s Chairman, Gov. Howard Dean. You may have just snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Again.

BTW, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who today found himself at the epicenter of a prostitution ring scandal is a Democratic Super delegate! Apparently in Hilary's corner. Will he vote at the convention now? Will he go the way of Senator Joe Lieberman?

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Seven More Sins

NYT reports:

Lust, gluttony, greed and the rest of the seven deadly sins gathered in the 6th century will have to get used to a modern companion. A Vatican official has articulated seven new categories of sin “due to the phenomenon of globalization.”

“While sin used to concern mostly the individual, today it has mainly a social resonance,” Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti told L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican City’s local paper. Bloomberg News parsed his remarks into a clip-n-savable list:

1. “Bioethical” violations such as birth control

2. “Morally dubious” experiments such as stem cell research

3. Drug abuse

4. Polluting the environment

5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor

6. Excessive wealth

7. Creating poverty

The message, according to a leading scholar on Catholic thought talking to BBC News, was meant as a reality check to priests “not sufficiently attuned to some of the real evils in our world.” There is more to life than following the Ten Commandments, it would seem.

A reminder: Here are The original offences and their punishments:
  1. Pride - Broken on the wheel
  2. Envy - Put in freezing water
  3. Gluttony - Forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes
  4. Lust - Smothered in fire and brimstone
  5. Anger - Dismembered alive
  6. Greed - Put in cauldrons of boiling oil
  7. Sloth - Thrown in snake pits
So, the $10,000 question is - how the new sins should be punished? Here is one suggestion:

1. “Bioethical” - non-stop watching a tape of Boutros Boutros-Ghali making out with with Rosie O'Donnell, say 10,000 seasons.

2. “Morally dubious” - 10,000 years scientific debate with George Bush. If either uses a word that is not in Oxford Dictionary - start over. So do consider your strategery very carefully.

3. Drug abuse - 10,000 hits by crack hardened snowballs in Hell thrown by Roger Clemens from 25 yards. Oh, who am I kidding, just three hits ought to do it.

4. Polluting the environment - Confinement in a small room with Al Gore having Klump size flatulence problem while Al explains how he was right on the heat in Hell after all (Every second sentence has to be - the debate is OVER).

5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor - No question here: Bill Gates explaining how when he cuts off your flesh and feeds it to the poor constitutes charity on his part. Demonstration to follow.

6. Excessive wealth - Forced to lick off the sweat in the fat folds of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani - Emir of the State of Qatar. Your Dollars at Work! Note: He will sweat on demand if asked by OPEC to increase production! On the bright side, Gene Simmons will be there to help out.

7. Creating poverty - Sitting in the middle of a triangle between Obama, Hilary and McCain while they take your money and intone thusly:

  • Obama: The Audacity!
  • Hilary: Who are you going to call?
  • McCain: Yes, we can!
  • Obama: Plagiarism !
  • Hilary: Another pillow?
  • McCain: NAFTA on both of your houses
  • etc...

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Swiss blasted for anti-Israel UN vote

"The idea that reasonable countries rooted in democratic values can't distinguish between the arsonist and the fireman, the terrorist and the peace-seeker, despotic Hamas and democratic Israel is dismaying"

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How does China censor the Internet?

A clear, well-informed article that explains how and why China censors the Internet.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jihadist prevails in suite agains author of Funding Evil

The Saudis have yet to learn about the First Amendment. A Jihadi Saudi financier prevents US and UK books from being published. Alms for JihadCharity and Terrorism in the Islamic Worldhttp://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521857309Another book banned in UK and US by the same Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz. Bin Mahfouz.

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Wafa Sultan speaks up

Wafa Sultan, a Syrian psychologist living in the United States, blasts the class of civilizations on al-Jazeera.

My favorite quotes:

"All the religions and faiths have been subject throughout history to criticism and insults, and this helped to develop and amend them over time. The only faith which beheads those who oppose it – is destined to turn into terror and tyranny. "

"This is the situation of Islam from its beginning to this day. It has sentenced its critics to prison terms, and those who escaped custody were killed. The Danish cartoons have managed to drop the first brick in the wall and open a window, through which the sun rays will be able to enter after a long period of darkness."

"And I say, if Islam was not what it is, these cartoons would not appear. They did not come from an empty space, and the cartoonist did not make them up from his sick mind. They were an expression of what he is familiar with."

"
The Muslims' barbaric reaction added to the value of these cartoons. It simply proved their rightness: The Muslim is an irrational creature, and the things he learned overpower his mind and inflame his feelings. That is why these remarks have turned him into an inferior creature, who cannot control himself and respond to events in a rational way."

"Why are they angry about what is happening in Gaza. The Koran has already told them, 'Kill or get killed.' So they kill and get killed. What is wrong with that? They want to die as shahids (martyrs). They want to meet their black-eyed virgins. Israel helps them meet them, so what's wrong with that?"

"If you want to change things, you must reexamine your terror studies; honor the other's right to live; preach love, peace and coexistence to your children. When you do that, the world will respect you, see you differently and portray you differently."

If only more Muslims were to join the chorus.

Truth is hard to swallow. Al-Jazeera has now issued an appology: "The al-Jazeera network deeply apologizes for the fact that one of its programs' participants degraded Islam and the monotheistic faiths on her own initiative. The channel extends its apology to all its viewers for the offensive remarks and has canceled both reruns of the program".





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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Who Will Stand Against Terrorism?


Steven Emerson
07 Mar 2008

Eight young men, unarmed and in the relative security of their Jerusalem yeshiva, are gunned down in cold blood. In Gaza, thousands take to the streets to celebrate. Their government encourages them to do so.

How toxic is a society when the governing party suggests celebrating a massacre of teenaged boys?

The brutality of Thursday's massacre at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva exposes some ugly truths about the blood lust that has been fostered by leaders in Palestinian society and the unwillingness of most American Muslim political organizations and the mainstream media to confront it.

When the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) is accused of raising money for Hamas terrorism, the defendants and their allies say they merely sought to relieve Palestinian suffering. But the silence from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and others shows their unwillingness to condemn the terrorist act and its glorification.

The best hope to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians is to stand against the cycle of violence, not to be complicit in its continuation. That requires a loud and persistent call from American Muslims for Hamas to stop deliberately inciting Israel. That incitement is not the biased perspective of those of us who oppose terrorism, but of former Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud Zahar:

Rockets against Sderot will cause mass migration, greatly disrupt daily lives and government administration and can make a much huger impact on the government.

No country would accept showers of incoming rocket fire without responding. Israel did just that Feb. 27, in an operation targeting Hamas terrorists that killed 120 people. Sadly, dozens of civilians also were killed.

This triggered no celebration in Israel and the operation ended within days.

Every life lost is a tragedy. But to pretend there's a moral equivalence between the attacks which set out to kill innocents versus those in which civilians are caught in the crossfire is a cruel joke that serves only to perpetuate the violence and keep any hope of peace. In its rocket barrages and in the yeshiva attack, civilians are the target.

In an editorial, the Jerusalem Post points out the distinction.

Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, "The presence of a protected person [a civilian] may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." In other words, the idea that Israel must fight Hamas without endangering civilians is contrary to the letter and spirit of international law.

But the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) tries to blur the vastly different motivations, describing Thursday's attack as "the recent situation in Jerusalem" and using the opportunity to condemn "all forms of violence regardless of the background of the culprits or the victims." Its statement continued:

Experts in the region are asserting that what happened in Jerusalem today was retaliation for the killing of over 120 (Palestinians) in Gaza last week. Whether true or not, it is the U.S. government's responsibility to assert its leadership role in ending the violence now.

What "experts" are these, beyond MPAC officials and Hamas sympathizers? The Action Alert urged people to call their congressmen, "to demand that Israel halt its brutal round of violence against the citizens of Gaza."

It made no call for anyone to demand Hamas cease firing Qassam rockets into Israel. According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "1,018 rockets and 937 mortar bombs have been fired at Sderot and the western Negev" since Hamas took control of Gaza in June.

CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF trial, has been silent on the attack. MAS issued no statement, but did postpone a planned rally outside the Israeli embassy in Washington. It wasn't out of deference for the murder victims, rather, a release said "It has come to our attention that heavy rains are expected throughout the afternoon and the rush hour."

CAIR has been exposed by evidence at the HLF trial as part of a "Palestine Committee" operating in America on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. The committee's objective is to advance the Hamas agenda in the United States. Hamas' stated goal is the elimination of the state of Israel. It accepts no negotiated settlement in which the Jewish state survives.

When American Muslim organizations refuse to condemn Hamas, they sign on to a charter that sees violence as the only "solution" to the conflict.

Give credit, however, to MAS civil and human rights director Ibrahim Ramey. He posted a column about the yeshiva attack Friday, asking:

Should Muslims in the United States also feel a sense of joy and vindication? No. We must recognize the attack for what it was: an act of murder. And we must now ask ourselves the difficult question of how we, as activists in support of the people of Gaza and Palestine, can go forward in the wake of an act of senseless brutality that could threaten to derail some significant support for the cause of ending the occupation and respecting the human rights of the people in Gaza and the West Bank.

While Ramey is concerned about the reaction, he seems equally worried about public relations damage "by opponents who are all too anxious to equate the Palestinian cause with savagery and terrorism."

Also encouraging was MAS President Esam Omeish, who previously praised Palestinians for learning "the jihad way is the way to liberate your land." He posted a statement on his blog Thursday condemning "in the highest manner the violence the slaughter of the 15 & 16 year old students that took place in Jerusalem. Sadistic violence like this has no place in our religion and is certainly not ‘heroic.'"

Apparently, it wasn't a terrorist attack either. At least not according to major American newspapers. In its story on the yeshiva massacre, the New York Times used the word terrorist only when quoting an Israeli government official and referred to the killer as a "gunman" four times, not including the headline.

The Washington Post also decided a Hamas-claimed attack on eight Jewish students was not a terrorist attack, but the work of a "gunman." The Post, however, did note the glee the indiscriminate murder generated in Gaza:

Hamas, the radical Islamic movement that controls Gaza, praised the Jerusalem attack. "It was a natural response to Israeli crimes in Gaza," the organization said in a statement. "We bless this act. It won't be the last one." Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza City celebrated in the streets, firing guns into the air in jubilation, as word began to spread.

This is the Hamas that CAIR, MPAC, MAS and virtually every other national Muslim political group refuse to condemn. Until they do, nothing will change.

The same is true for the poison spewed forth daily on Palestinian media, teaching toddlers to strive for "martyrdom" while spewing vile toward Israel. Where are these self-appointed leaders of the Muslim American community speaking out against the Palestinian culture that fosters such a blood lust? Where is a program teaching the next generation the benefits of peace?

Hamas-controlled television has introduced a series of death-glorifying, bloodthirsty children's characters on "Tomorrow's Pioneers." They include Farfour, a Mickey Mouse look-alike who CNN described as dancing "with an imaginary gun in his gloved hands and encourages kids to drink milk, study hard -- and engage in violent acts of ‘resistance' against their Israeli neighbors and America."

Farfour was "martyred" last June after trying to liberate the land "from the filth of the criminal, plundering Jews," only to be replaced by Nahoul, a bee who wants to follow Farfour's path "of heroism, of martyrdom, and of the muijahideen." Nahoul's death was shown to Palestinian children last month, a result of the blockade on Gaza.

He was replaced by a rabbit named Assud, who tells children "I, Assud, will get rid of the Jews, Allah willing. And I will eat them up, Allah willing, right?"

Then there's "The Gifted," a back-to-school program that showed a small boy, identified as a 2-year-old, skulking around in military garb and aiming an assault weapon "at the occupying terrorists."

"We'll wear the battle-vest of self sacrifice and follow the path of the Shahids," a child narrator says as the younger boy, his face hooded, stoops down with his weapon.

Showcasing these indoctrinations of hate and death, the duplicity of groups like CAIR in standing by Hamas, often brings back accusations of bigotry. And the death toll climbs.

An Israeli was injured by yet another rocket attack Thursday night. Who will demand it all stop?



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Friday, March 7, 2008

Israel's No-Win Strategy

By DANIEL DORON
March 8, 2008; Page A8

Jerusalem

The massacre of rabbinical students Thursday at a Jerusalem seminary highlights the failure of the powerful Israeli military to stop the assaults of Palestinian terrorists. It also reveals serious deficiencies in Israel's strategy and tactics.

These have cost Israel dearly. They also harm the world-wide war on terror, of which Israel is on the forefront.

You can't stop every suicide bomber of course. But for seven years now, Hamas terrorists have been rocketing southern Israeli towns from Gaza. Israeli governments headed by Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert have all vowed to put an end to the attacks. Despite Israel's overwhelming military superiority, its governments have failed to do so.

Israel has scored some impressive victories in its fight against terrorism, especially from attacks originating in the West Bank. Numerous attempts by Fatah and Hamas to dispatch bombers into Israel were frustrated by a combination of excellent intelligence, daring special operations, and the ability of the army to enter Palestinian-ruled areas in hot pursuit or for preemptive strikes. Not so in Gaza.

There, a radicalized population has elected a Hamas government determined to eliminate Israel. After Israel unconditionally retreated from the northern Gaza strip -- hoping that the Palestinians would concentrate on state building -- the territory was immediately used for attacks on Israel. Why has Israel failed to stop them?

Governments here -- behemoths whose budgets consume about a half the nation's $160 billion GDP -- are generally dysfunctional. They are hamstrung by constant internal squabbles and Byzantine bureaucracies. As became evident as early as the 1973 Yom Kippur War, their dysfunction has infected the Israeli defense establishment. In that year, a totally surprised Israeli cabinet and military leadership reacted with confusion and ineptness that almost led to the country's ruin. The recent Winograd Commission of Inquiry report on the Second Lebanon War indicates that these faults are endemic to the over-centralized yet disorganized Israeli system of governance.

More than in most countries, Israeli politicians are preoccupied with political machinations designed to buy support from powerful interest groups by distributing government largesse. This causes not only the factionalization of politics and growing corruption, but consumes time and energy that leadership should use to address life and death issues. As the Winograd Commission attested, Mr. Olmert's government initiated the Second Lebanon War without proper discussion or preparation. During the relatively long war government and military leaders failed to define their objectives. They issued vague and contradictory directives, causing repeated failures and unnecessary loss of life. Only the exceptional bravery and tenacity of Israel's soldiers and field commanders and of the rocketed Israeli population saved the day.

Israeli governments have done little to stop the massive rearmament of Hamas in Gaza with Iranian weapons, bought with Saudi money and transported into Gaza with the connivance of Egypt. Israel did not even press its great ally, the U.S., to lean on Egypt and put an end to this flagrant violation of its peace agreement with Israel -- a peace agreement for which Egypt is rewarded by billions in U.S. aid.

But the worst failures stem from adoption of a no-win strategy. Many in Israel's top political and military echelons have convinced themselves that terrorism cannot be defeated by force, that to stop it one must compromise and accept some of its demands. But how do you "compromise" with a terrorist organization sworn to destroy you?

The Israeli leadership's lack of determination to win, and its chronic political weakness, have prevented it from resisting pressure from Europe and certain American circles (mostly the State Department and the CIA) to accommodate Hamas and strengthen the allegedly peace-loving Palestinian Authority. Amazingly, Israel keeps supplying Hamas, for "humanitarian reasons," with subsidized electricity and materiel including the steel and chemicals needed to produce the rockets that attack it. It keeps providing money and weapons to prop up the hopelessly corrupt Palestinian Authority.

So what is the one strategy that can win? History has shown time and again that military confrontation does work. Israel could achieve military victory by eliminating or incarcerating Hamas's leadership, not two or three a month (so that they are replaceable) but a few hundred at once. By breaking its command structure and its logistical apparatus, Hamas can be rendered inoperative.

But for this to happen, Israel and Western democracies must treat the terrorists' mortal challenge as a war for survival, not as a series of skirmishes. And in war, you must fight to win, by all traditional means.

Mr. Doron is president of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress (www.icsep.org.il).



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To the Westerner who 'understands' the terrorist


From Haaretz:

To the Westerner who "understands" the terrorist:

Spare us the explanations.

Spare us the learned, sociology-drenched justifications.
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Spare us the reasons why you "get" Palestinians when they gun Jews down in cold blood.

Spare us the chapter and verse on how the plight of the Palestinians is at the root of Islamic terrorism the world over, and if the Palestinians were to receive full justice, Islamic terrorism would pass from the world.

Spare us.

You may well believe, with the blind faith of the hopeful and the fear-stricken, that when these people are through with the Jews, they won't come for you.

Think again.

Spare us the post-modernism and the radical chic and the guff.

Open your eyes.

When a gunman walks into a Jewish religious seminary at the main entrance to that part of Jerusalem which has been Jewish since 1948, and which was stolen from no one, pay attention.

When he opens fire on religious students hunched over books in a library, firing and firing until blood soaks holy book bindings and open pages of Talmud and the whole of the floor, pay close attention to the reactions of the self-styled people of faith who run Hamas.

Spare us the conclusion that the only reason Hamas kills Jews, and that its underlying motive for encouraging others to do the same, is to force Israel to agree to a cease-fire.

Spare us the "Israel's policies are responsible for the bloodshed" and "the seminary is, after all, an ideological bastion and symbol of the religious right" and all the other scholarly, arrogant, condescending and amoral ways of saying "they had it coming to them."

Spare us the understanding for the motivations of the mass murderer who kills with God on his lips. Spare us the understanding of the words of the Hamas official who says that after all the Israeli killings of Palestinians, the Jerusalem killings are "our only joy."

Spare us the sight of the thanksgiving prayers for the great victory, prayers that began in Gaza City mosques just after the slaughter of the Jews. Spare us the sight of the sweets being handed out by little children to motorists in passing cars in the Strip, sweets to celebrate the young Jews dead on the floor, the young Jews dead at their desks, the Jews killed for the crime of being Jews in that place of study and worship.

Spare us the righteousness of those who condemned Baruch Goldstein for entering a holy place with an assault rifle and murdering Palestinians, but who can understand why a Palestinian might do the very same thing,

Open your eyes.

Last week, when Israeli forces drove into Gaza, and some 120 Palestinians were killed, many of them were gunmen, but with children making up another sixth of the total, one grieving father spoke with quiet eloquence, saying "Other places in the world, when this happens, there is a great outcry. When this happens here, the world is silent. No one cares."

He's right. The world has grown content to let Palestinians die. The reason is not simple callousness. And it is not, as Hamas proclaims to its followers in Gaza, that the Jews control the world media and world finance, and thus Western government as well.

The reason is terrorism.

The world has grown weary of the Islamist's creed, that only the armed struggle can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the only proper resolution is the end of Israel.

Even the Israeli left, which for decades championed the Palestinian with courage and determination, has, in large part, had it with the Palestinians. The reason is terrorism. The reason is murder. The reason is that the rulers of Gaza are people who see an intrinsic value in the killing of Jews for the sake of increasing the number of dead Jews in the world.

The rulers of Gaza cannot bring themselves to accept the concept of sharing the Holy Land with the Jews.

The best that the rulers of Gaza can do, is to bring an end to hope among their own people and ours as well.

They believe that the Jewish state is temporary, and that they Jews will soon abandon it to Islamic rule.

After all this time, you'd think they'd know the Jews a little better.

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Society of Journalists Advocates Whitewashing Islam

This was apparently released by the Society of Professional Journalists shortly after the 9/11 attacks: Guidelines for Countering Racial, Ethnic and Religious Profiling.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Excusing Palestinian Terrorists

"There is no such thing as a disproportionate response to an existential threat."

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The end of the 'guilty Israeli'

Empathy has become a victim of the Palestinian attacks from Gaza.
By Yossi Klein Halevi
March 2, 2008
JERUSALEM -- Within the coming weeks, the Israeli army may re-invade the Gaza Strip in an attempt to stop the rocket attacks on Israeli towns and, perhaps, topple its Islamist Hamas government. If it happens, it will have come after long hesitation and anguished debate. Even we Israelis who once wanted nothing more than to leave Gaza forever now realize that we may have no choice but to return, at least until relative quiet is restored to our border.

In the early 1990s, while serving as a reservist soldier in Gaza, I became a guilty Israeli. By day, my unit patrolled the refugee camps where sewage flowed in rivulets and old men stared with hatred and children with despair. By night, we entered bedrooms and retrieved suspects whose offenses ranged from membership in terror organizations to failure to pay a water bill. More policemen than soldiers, we found ourselves enforcing an occupation whose threat to Israel's Jewish and democratic values had become unbearable.

Those were the years of the first intifada, the Palestinian uprising, and its great victory was the creation of a substantial bloc of guilt-ridden Israelis ready to take almost any risk for peace. As the Oslo peace process came into being under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the guilty Israeli became the most potent source of Palestinian empowerment. Many Israelis tried to understand for the first time how Palestinians experienced the conflict, in effect borrowing Palestinian eyes and incorporating elements of the Palestinian narrative into our own understanding of history.

By the end of the 1990s, a majority of Israelis were considering previously unthinkable concessions such as uprooting Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and redividing the city of Jerusalem. We moved in this direction anxiously. The Palestinians were already beginning to lose the goodwill of guilty Israelis by then. Under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, their media, schools and mosques inculcated a culture of denial that rejects the most basic truths of Jewish history, from our ancient roots in the land of Israel to the veracity of the Holocaust. Arafat was a fraud -- a master of linguistic duplicity, speaking peace in English to foreign journalists while using the language of jihad in Arabic to his own people. Other Palestinian leaders, including those perceived as moderates in the West, adopted a similar approach.

Nevertheless, despite a growing Israeli sense that we had been deceived, in December 2000, Israel accepted President Clinton's plan to establish a contiguous Palestinian state on almost all of the territories, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Arafat's counteroffer was four years of suicide bombings -- the second Palestinian intifada, which lasted from 2000 to 2004. He and his apologists tried to pass it off as a spontaneous uprising in reaction to a controversial visit by then-Likud party leader Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, but Israelis understood that escalating violence had been Arafat's fallback plan all along.

Even after that bitter experience, Israelis still felt so desperate to end the occupation that they withdrew their army and uprooted their settlements from Gaza in 2006. Had Gazans begun at this point to create a peaceful state from their new, self-governing territory, the Israeli public almost certainly would have endorsed substantive negotiations over a West Bank withdrawal. Instead, they elected a government led by Hamas, whose theology calls for the destruction of Israel and war against Jews around the world, and whose terror attacks are small pre-enactments of its genocidal ambitions. Palestinian rocket attacks that had previously been aimed at settlements were simply redirected toward towns and villages within Israel.

The result of all this is that today the guilty Israeli has become nearly extinct. Just as we came to realize during the first intifada that the occupation was untenable, so we have now come to realize that peace is impossible with Palestinian leaders for whom reconciliation is a one-way process.

So far, the rockets aimed at Israel have been primitive and mostly terrorize and wound rather than slaughter. But it is only a matter of time before Hamas' allies in Iran and Hezbollah upgrade the rockets' lethal effect. Meanwhile, the psychological damage has been profound: Israelis perceive their government's failure to defend southern Israel as a collapse of national sovereignty. The political fallout has been no less intense: Gaza was a test case for Israeli withdrawal, and the experiment was a disaster. How, Israelis wonder, can we evacuate the West Bank and risk rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?

The rockets, though, are only a symptom of a deeper malaise: the willingness of Palestinian leaders to encourage their own people's suffering for political ends. Despite billions of dollars in foreign aid, successive Palestinian governments have done almost nothing to rehabilitate the nearly 60-year-old refugee camps. During a visit I paid to Gaza in the late 1990s, a U.N. official explained to me why. The fate of the refugees, he said, was being left to negotiations. When I asked whether he really believed that Israel would absorb Palestinian refugees, he replied: "All options are open."

In fact, they are not. No Israeli government will agree to commit demographic suicide by allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to move into Israel proper. Under any two-state peace agreement, descendants of those refugees who left Israel in 1948 will have the right to return to a Palestinian state, not the Jewish state.

Gaza's people are being held hostage to a political fantasy. And the international community is abetting the tragedy. The U.N. actually considers Palestinians to be permanent refugees, to be protected in squalid but subsidized camps even though they live in their own homeland of Gaza, under their own government.

So long as Gaza refuses to heal itself, Israelis will rightly suspect that the Palestinian goal remains Israel's destruction. Not even a full withdrawal from the West Bank, they fear, will end the war, any more than the pullout from Gaza stopped the rockets. Israel's crime isn't occupying but existing.

And so we move toward the next terrible round of conflict. This time, though, for all our anguish, we will feel a lot less remorse. Because even guilty Israelis realize that, until our neighbors care more about building their state than undermining ours, the misery of Gaza will persist.

Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow in the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and author of "At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for Hope with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land."

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Libya Blocks UNSC Resolution Condemning Jerusalem Atrocity

UNITED NATIONS, March 6 (Reuters) - The United States accused Libya on Thursday of preventing the Security Council from condemning as a “terrorist attack” a deadly assault on a Jewish school in Jerusalem, but Tripoli called for “balanced action.”The United States had drafted a statement that was discussed at an emergency U.N. Security Council session called to debate an attack by a Palestinian gunman who killed at least eight people and wounded at least 10 more at an Israeli religious school.“The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attack that took place in Jerusalem March 6, 2008 which resulted in the death and injury of dozens of Israeli civilians,” said the draft statement.The U.S. delegation had hoped the 15-nation council would unanimously support the text but Libya, backed by several other council members, prevented its adoption.“We were not able to come to an agreement because the Libyan delegation with the support of one or two others did not want to condemn this act by itself but wanted to link it to other issues,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters after the council meeting.

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Lesson for Neo-con AND Lib-surgents both

Former Republican congressional leader Newt Gingrich discusses the war on terror at the National Press Club. And yes, he does call a spade a spade.



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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Europe is facing a triple threat

JPost:

At a recent security conference in Munich, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told European nations that they were under direct threat from Islamist extremists and that this phenomenon would not go away. Gates tied European security to NATO success in Afghanistan. In fact, Western intelligence services have recently established operational links between al-Qaida in Afghanistan and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) whose goals include striking at the heart of Europe.

Al-Qaida has not made any secrets of its eagerness to target Europe. Indeed, al-Qaida's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has repeatedly threatened Europe. In 2007, numerous al-Qaida-linked plots were foiled in Europe and several cells were dismantled in France, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and the UK. This led Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's anti-terror chief, to say last November that al-Qaida was the biggest threat to Europe.

Thanks to the outstanding job of counter-terrorism services, al-Qaida's only major success in Europe in 2007 was the June 30 attack on Glasgow airport that killed one and injured five. That attack had followed two foiled car bombs in the center of London that could have killed hundreds if successful. The scheme was nicknamed the "doctors' plot," because it was planned by foreign doctors who resided in Britain.

In September, thanks to information provided by US intelligence, Germany arrested three members of an al-Qaida cell that planned to bomb Frankfurt airport and the US military air base at Ramstein. This network allegedly had ties to other European countries, since the explosives seized were similar to those used in the London plots. The investigation also showed that the alleged terrorists had connections to both Pakistan and Syria. Another important fact is that two of the three were Muslim converts. In fact, al-Qaida has for long advocated using European nationals, and if possible converts, in terror attacks.

Incidentally, German intelligence confirmed that in recent months Islamist recruiters have targeted new converts to Islam, because they are less conspicuous and are familiar with German culture and habits. German authorities are particularly worried by the rise in the number of young German Muslims traveling to study in Pakistan. In July, Pakistani authorities arrested seven Germans who sought to join a terrorist training camp.

THE PAKISTANI connection does not stop there: indeed, Pakistani extremists recently arrived in Algeria to train with AQIM members. This is all the more worrisome in that of all al-Qaida's affiliates, AQIM is most capable of striking at Europe. Last year AQIM pulled off a number of spectacular and deadly terror attacks in Morocco, in Mauritania - killing French tourists - and in Algeria, notably the multiple suicide attacks in Algiers on April 11 and Dec. 11.

But the real challenge for AQIM is how to inflict massive damage in Europe. Zawahiri has frequently instructed them to do so. In order to keep its credibility alive and please its "masters," AQIM has been trying hard to orchestrate a terror attack on the continent. At the end of last year, the level of "chatter" increased dramatically, and has continued unabated through January. France, in particular has been specifically threatened. This led for the first time to the cancellation of the very popular Paris-Dakar motor rally and also compelled Belgian authorities to cancel the New Year's Eve fireworks in Brussels.

Today, al-Qaida threats seem even more imminent and European security services are on high alert.

On Jan. 19, Spain dismantled an al-Qaida cell that was almost exclusively Pakistani, except for an Indian member. It was planning a terror attack in Barcelona, El Pais reported, and a wave of attacks in Germany, France, Britain and Portugal. Earlier, Le Figaro reported that there are allegedly "moving cells" of militant extremists of Pakistani origin traveling around Europe. That article also pointed out that 50,000 Pakistanis live in France - half of them illegally.

A very worrisome trend in 2007 was the emergence of the "lone jihadist" loosely linked to al-Qaida. One was arrested on May 2 in Nancy, France. He was planning attacks against the US consulate in Luxembourg and a McDonald's restaurant.

For months, the man had been in contact with AQIM militants via the Web, requesting material support. Sometimes these "invisible Islamists" decide to act on their own. "An isolated individual can inflict as much damage as an organization," said Christophe Chaboud, head of Uclat (Unité de Coordination de la Lutte antiterroriste), the French counter-terrorism czar.

Europe is facing a triple threat: AQIM, "al-Qaida Pakistan" and the lone jihadist. This makes counter-terrorist experts nervous that the likelihood of a successful attack on European soil in 2008 remains quite high.

The writer, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a foreign affairs and counter-terrorism consultant, is the founder of the newsletter The Croissant www.thecroissant.com

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Americans’ Most Liked and Hated Nations

PRINCETON, NJ -- Of 22 countries rated in Gallup's 2008 World Affairs survey, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan win favor with at least 80% of Americans, while Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, North Korea, and Iran are viewed favorably by no more than 20%.

Canada and Great Britain have topped Gallup's country rankings each of the 12 times since 1989 that both countries have been measured, although in most cases Canada has led Great Britain by a few percentage points. The only other country to approach 90% favorability over the years has been Australia. On each of the three occasions it was included in Gallup's country list, including last year, it ranked just as high as Great Britain.

Altogether, 10 countries rated in the Feb. 11-14, 2008, poll are viewed favorably by a majority of Americans. Following the top four, Israel receives a 71% favorable rating, similar to the 69% for both India and France. About 6 in 10 Americans have a favorable view of Egypt, South Korea, and Mexico.

Americans are about equally divided in their views of Russia and Kenya, with a fairly large percentage (21%) having no opinion of Kenya.

Ten countries are viewed unfavorably by at least half of Americans. Of these, Iran, North Korea, the Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Cuba are viewed more negatively than positively by a greater than 2-to-1 margin. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and China have somewhat more moderately negative images.

Notable Differences

Gallup finds some significant generational and partisan gaps in favorability toward some countries.

  • Israel, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq are all viewed more favorably by Republicans than by Democrats.
  • France, Mexico, China, Venezuela, and Cuba are all viewed more favorably by Democrats than by Republicans.
  • Two of the starkest demographic distinctions in survey ratings are age differences in perceptions of Russia and China. About 6 in 10 young adults (those aged 18 to 34) have a favorable view of these countries, compared with no more than half of middle-aged adults and only about a third of those 55 and older.
  • Younger adults are also more likely than those 55 and older to have favorable views of France, Egypt, Mexico, Kenya, Venezuela, Cuba, the Palestinian Authority, North Korea, and Iran.


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WSJ.com - Opinion: Worshippers of Death

Worshippers of Death

By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
March 3, 2008; Page A17

Zahra Maladan is an educated woman who edits a women's magazine in Lebanon. She is also a mother, who undoubtedly loves her son. She has ambitions for him, but they are different from those of most mothers in the West. She wants her son to become a suicide bomber.

At the recent funeral for the assassinated Hezbollah terrorist Imad Moughnaya -- the mass murderer responsible for killing 241 marines in 1983 and more than 100 women, children and men in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994 -- Ms. Maladan was quoted in the New York Times giving the following warning to her son: "if you're not going to follow the steps of the Islamic resistance martyrs, then I don't want you."

[Worshippers of Death]

Zahra Maladan represents a dramatic shift in the way we must fight to protect our citizens against enemies who are sworn to kill them by killing themselves. The traditional paradigm was that mothers who love their children want them to live in peace, marry and produce grandchildren. Women in general, and mothers in particular, were seen as a counterweight to male belligerence. The picture of the mother weeping as her son is led off to battle -- even a just battle -- has been a constant and powerful image.

Now there is a new image of mothers urging their children to die, and then celebrating the martyrdom of their suicidal sons and daughters by distributing sweets and singing wedding songs. More and more young women -- some married with infant children -- are strapping bombs to their (sometimes pregnant) bellies, because they have been taught to love death rather than life. Look at what is being preached by some influential Islamic leaders:

"We are going to win, because they love life and we love death," said Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. He has also said: "[E]ach of us lives his days and nights hoping more than anything to be killed for the sake of Allah." Shortly after 9/11, Osama bin Laden told a reporter: "We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us."

"The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death," explained Afghani al Qaeda operative Maulana Inyadullah. Sheik Feiz Mohammed, leader of the Global Islamic Youth Center in Sydney, Australia, preached: "We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam. Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid." Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech: "It is the zenith of honor for a man, a young person, boy or girl, to be prepared to sacrifice his life in order to serve the interests of his nation and his religion."

How should Western democracies fight against an enemy whose leaders preach a preference for death?

The two basic premises of conventional warfare have long been that soldiers and civilians prefer living to dying and can thus be deterred from killing by the fear of being killed; and that combatants (soldiers) can easily be distinguished from noncombatants (women, children, the elderly, the infirm and other ordinary citizens). These premises are being challenged by women like Zahra Maladan. Neither she nor her son -- if he listens to his mother -- can be deterred from killing by the fear of being killed. They must be prevented from succeeding in their ghoulish quest for martyrdom. Prevention, however, carries a high risk of error. The woman walking toward the group of soldiers or civilians might well be an innocent civilian. A moment's hesitation may cost innocent lives. But a failure to hesitate may also have a price.

Late last month, a young female bomber was shot as she approached some shops in central Baghdad. The Iraqi soldier who drew his gun hesitated as the bomber, hands raised, insisted that she wasn't armed. The soldier and a shop owner finally opened fire as she dashed for the stores; she was knocked to the ground but still managed to detonate the bomb, killing three and wounding eight. Had the soldier and other bystanders not called out a warning to others -- and had they not shot her before she could enter the shops -- the death toll certainly would have been higher. Had he not hesitated, it might have been lower.

As more women and children are recruited by their mothers and their religious leaders to become suicide bombers, more women and children will be shot at -- some mistakenly. That too is part of the grand plan of our enemies. They want us to kill their civilians, who they also consider martyrs, because when we accidentally kill a civilian, they win in the court of public opinion. One Western diplomat called this the "harsh arithmetic of pain," whereby civilian casualties on both sides "play in their favor." Democracies lose, both politically and emotionally, when they kill civilians, even inadvertently. As Golda Meir once put it: "We can perhaps someday forgive you for killing our children, but we cannot forgive you for making us kill your children."

Civilian casualties also increase when terrorists operate from within civilian enclaves and hide behind human shields. This relatively new phenomenon undercuts the second basic premise of conventional warfare: Combatants can easily be distinguished from noncombatants. Has Zahra Maladan become a combatant by urging her son to blow himself up? Have the religious leaders who preach a culture of death lost their status as noncombatants? What about "civilians" who willingly allow themselves to be used as human shields? Or their homes as launching pads for terrorist rockets?

The traditional sharp distinction between soldiers in uniform and civilians in nonmilitary garb has given way to a continuum. At the more civilian end are babies and true noncombatants; at the more military end are the religious leaders who incite mass murder; in the middle are ordinary citizens who facilitate, finance or encourage terrorism. There are no hard and fast lines of demarcation, and mistakes are inevitable -- as the terrorists well understand.

We need new rules, strategies and tactics to deal effectively and fairly with these dangerous new realities. We cannot simply wait until the son of Zahra Maladan -- and the sons and daughters of hundreds of others like her -- decide to follow his mother's demand. We must stop them before they export their sick and dangerous culture of death to our shores.

Mr. Dershowitz teaches law at Harvard University and is the author of "Finding Jefferson" (Wiley, 2007).



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Monday, March 3, 2008

The fraud of global warming

TWC founder and global warming skeptics suing Al Gore.

Weather Channel founder Coleman told an audience at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change on March 3 in New York that he is highly critical of global warming alarmism.

Coleman also told the audience his strategy for exposing what he called “the fraud of global warming.” He advocated suing those who sell carbon credits, which would force global warming alarmists to give a more honest account of the policies they propose.

“[I] have a feeling this is the opening,” Coleman said. “If the lawyers will take the case – sue the people who sell carbon credits. That includes Al Gore. That lawsuit would get so much publicity, so much media attention. And as the experts went to the media stand to testify, I feel like that could become the vehicle to finally put some light on the fraud of global warming.”

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Did Moses smoke weed?

According to Professor Benny Shanon, professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, psychotropic plants made Moses hear 'voices' at Mt Sinai.

Haaretz: Shanon, former head of the Hebrew University psychology department, said his first experience with ayahuasca was in 1991 when he was invited to a religious ceremony in the northern Amazon in 1991 in Brazil.

"I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," he says.

Since that time, he has used it hundreds of times, and has published a book about the plant.

Go Moses! You dirty dog, you! I can just see the early Israelites gathering together for a little spiritual smoking ceremony. Hey, you can't quarrel with success - five thousand years of religious, spiritual and literary dominance.

But here is the most "burning" question: How does one enroll into this study. If Dr.
Shanon has tried it hundreds of times, apparently without being busted, I don't think he will be short of volunteers.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

SNL on Ohio democratic debate

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Jack Nicholson, in Variety of Roles, Endorses Hillary

And the endorsements just keep rolling in:

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How gmail is made in Russia

Proof positive that in Russia we have to do everything the hard way! :)

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Independent expert: IDF bullets didn't kill Mohammed al-Dura

In his report, Schlinger wrote, "If Jamal [the boy's father] and Mohammed al-Dura were indeed struck by shots, then they could not have come from the Israeli position, from a technical point of view, but only from the direction of the Palestinian position."

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What has Obama ever accomplished?

A most revealing exchange on MSNBC. State Senator Kirk Watson, an Obama supporter is at a loss for words.


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Silicone Valley, United States
I am a cantankerous man living and working in the Silicon Valley where reading books is an abomination that is virtually unheard of, frowned upon and may be detrimental to one's career. I avoid censure by never conceding that I ever read or owned a book in my life. If anyone accidentally glimpses my scant proficiency in any subject matter, I immediately accredit it to having glanced at DrudgeReport that day.

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