Archive for August, 2008

Barack and Joe vs. John and Sarah: Whatta Fight!

Friday, August 29th, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

Marshall McLuhan was right when he said “The medium is the message.” Obama’s masterfully choreographed extravaganza, a combination rock festival/revival meeting/political anointing was, what can I say, both underwhelming and overwhelming. The fireworks and confetti were a bit much (not to mention the Greek Temple motif), and I ultimately missed the balloons which I used to think were pretty silly. … (Continue reading…)

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Morality and Enlightment or Fear and Greed?

Friday, August 29th, 2008

By Barry Rubin

The Italian government, it has just come to light, let Palestinian terrorist groups operate freely in its country from the 1970s onward as long as they promised not to attack Italians. As former President Francesco Cossiga explained, the agreement with the PLO and PFLP was that if you “don’t harm me… I won’t harm you.” Thus, these groups could move terrorists and equipment destined for use in murdering [non-Italian] civilians in and out of Italy-protected by Italian security agencies.

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The DNC: A Night of Political Soap Opera

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

It was an evening of political soap opera. Senator Biden’s wife, Senator Obama’s wife, each wept a little in their seats. Biden and his son hugged each other. In full view, both Democratic candidates kissed the other candidates’ female relatives. And although the speakers at the DNC got one rousing ovation after the other, even though I myself was sometimes moved by the theatrical tactics — the platitudes did not move me so much as sadden me. The speeches were fraught with promises which bore no relationship to reality and which failed to deal with the existential peril to America posed by Islamic jihad. … (Continue reading…)

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Dangerous Talks with Syria

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

By Uzi Dayan and Jonathan Spyer

The current indirect talks between Israel and Syria are highly unlikely to result in a peace agreement. The talks, far from playing any positive role for Israel, are mistaken both in terms of our values and in terms of our practical interest. They are being conducted by an irresponsible government with no public mandate, and are already causing real harm. We should be working to isolate the Syrian regime, not rehabilitating it.

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Support Harry’s Place Blogburst Part 2: Harry’s Place Offline?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

~by E.D. Kain

Harry’s place has this to say:

Harry’s Place may be removed (or rather have it’s DNS disabled) after a ‘complaint’ to the company that our domain name is registered with.

We assume after threats were made on the weekend that this ‘complaint’ originates from Jenna Delich or her supporters. Though we have not yet seen the complaint submitted, we assume it runs along the lines that pointing out that Ms Delich linked to the website of a known neo-Nazi figure and former Ku Klux Klan leader is defamatory. …

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Michelle and Joe Looked Grim as Hillary Endorsed Obama in a Masterfully Minimal Way

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

As Hillary addressed the DNC, the unforgiving cameras kept panning back to Michelle Obama who was sitting with Joe Biden. Neither Michelle nor Joe managed to crack more than one smile apiece — well, perhaps two, even as Hillary insisted, over and over again, that the Democratic Party must unite behind Obama — not because he is an astounding leader, or The One, but simply because he is the Democratic candidate. During every ovation, both the future First Lady and her husband’s Vice-Presidential choice remained grim-lipped, expressionless, sometimes even angry-faced. (Joe Biden was caught on camera warmly embracing former President Jimmy Carter. So much for “change.”) … (Continue reading…)

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Biden’s Blink on Iran

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

by Michael Rubin*

In selecting Joseph Biden as his running mate, Barack Obama acknowledged the importance of foreign affairs to this year’s election. His Web site trumpeted Biden as “an expert on foreign policy” and a man “who has stared down dictators.”

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is well versed in policy debates and carefully choreographed trips. But his record on the Islamic Republic of Iran — perhaps the chief national security threat facing the next president — suggests a persistent and dangerous judgment deficit. Biden’s unyielding pursuit of “engagement” with Iran for more than a decade has made it easier for Tehran to pursue its nuclear program, while his partisan obsession with thwarting the Bush administration has led him to oppose tough sanctions against hard-liners in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

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Analysis: Assad’s Shopping List

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

By Jonathan Spyer

President Bashar Assad of Syria began a trip to Russia this week. Russian news agency RIA Novosti has quoted the Syrian Information Ministry as confirming that the trip will last two days.

According to the statement, the purpose of the trip is to discuss bilateral relations and the latest world and regional developments, particularly relating to the Middle East peace process and to Iraq.

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A Middle East Strategy For The West

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

By Barry Rubin

The great battle of our younger years was between Communism and democratic liberalism. Its contemporary equivalent is Arab nationalism versus Islamism.

That implies some extremely important, often misunderstood, conclusions:

First, regrettably but true, democracy isn’t in the running. The problem is not just that cynical rulers mislead the masses through demagoguery-though that’s true; it’s that the masses embrace extremist world views.

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Michelle Obama Channels June Cleaver, not Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

In her speech before the DNC, Michelle Obama came across as a low-key and consummately likable family woman: a warm, (but oh-so-cool) sister, daughter, wife, and mother. Her role was to normalize her exotic or at least unusual husband. How American can he be with an absent Kenyan Muslim father, an absent Indonesian Muslim stepfather, a name like Barack Hussein Obama, a childhood which consisted of growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, and of being brought up by his white grandparents? … (Continue reading…)

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The American-Indians: We understand terrorism [Image Gallery]

Monday, August 25th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Albuquerque, NM — A peaceful riot of color and motion, all timed to the drumbeat of archetypal Indian rhythms and chants — such was the atmosphere at North America’s largest pow-wow, the Gathering of Nations (GON) 2008, held April 25 and 26. Themes of tradition, family, and service to country and tribe dominated the event.

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Navajo basket dance, click to purchase...
Navajo basket dance. Photo (c) 2008 microIT Infrastructure, LLC
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Waiting in line for early-bird tickets before the pow-wow, I kibbutzed with a young Navajo woman. Her husband will be serving in Iraq for another five months. Native Americans have a higher enlistment rate in the U.S. armed forces than any other ethnic group.

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Barack Obama through Muslim Eyes

Monday, August 25th, 2008

by Daniel Pipes*

How do Muslims see Barack Hussein Obama? They have three choices: either as he presents himself – someone who has “never been a Muslim” and has “always been a Christian“; or as a fellow Muslim; or as an apostate from Islam.

Reports suggests that while Americans generally view the Democratic candidate having had no religion before converting at Reverend Jeremiah Wrights’s hands at age 27, Muslims the world over rarely see him as Christian but usually as either Muslim or ex-Muslim.

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Has Israel “bankrupted” the United States?

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

U.S. financial assistance to Israel can be a contentious topic, even when discussing foreign policy issues using accurate information. Very often, opponents of Israel use wildly exaggerated, even fabricated “facts and figures” and extremely hyperbolic language to disparage the Jewish State — even claiming the U.S. has been pushed to the verge of bankruptcy by supporting Israel. The obfuscations about U.S. aid to Israel have been bothering me for a very long time, so I decided to research the numbers myself and compare my findings to the figures advanced by hysterical critics of Israel.

For example, an anti-Semitic publication, which so innocently calls itself the “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs” (WRMEA), claims that American taxpayers have paid “$3 Trillion” for supporting Israel. WRMEA tries to blame Israel for 1) rising oil prices, 2) the cost of both Iraq wars, 3) and American job losses, and has published articles with Protocols-of-the-Elders-of Zion-style headlines like “Israel has had in place a shadow government in Washington” and “Will the State Department Remain Israeli-Occupied Territory?”

Here I’ll show how exaggerations by groups like WRMEA are not even close to reflecting reality.

Bare with me as I run the numbers and document my findings.

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A Modest Proposal: Let The Brave Danes Speak at Both Conventions

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

The Jewel of MedinaDenmark’s Free Speech Library has offered to publish Sherry Jones’ The Jewel of Medina–the very book that Random House just canceled.The Free Speech Library is an independent company under its own management but with close ties to Denmark’s Free Press Society.

Both Salman Rushdie and Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who penned the drawing of a prophet with a bomb in his turban, criticized Random House for their decision.

Westergaard expressed his dismay that “one of the large publishers is now bowing to intimidation. That is not a good omen for free speech. If the major publishers lose their nerve then I’m afraid that others will follow suit. The big publishers ought to set a good example. The fanatics have won.” … (Continue reading…)

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Dissident Watch: Mohsen Marzouk

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

by Scott Carpenter*

When Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali extended his term in 2004 for another five years, making him effectively president-for-life, Mohsen Marzouk realized that for change to occur not only in Tunisia but also in other North African police states, it would be necessary to mesh internal Tunisian networks with ideas and activists from outside the country.

Born in July 1965 and raised in a poor, working-class neighborhood in Sfax, Marzouk has long been politically active. When he was thirteen, he joined a student movement aimed at challenging the rigid control of the governing party. At fourteen, authorities expelled him from his high school for his “political activities.”

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