Archive for April, 2010

Three Cheers for Congress, One for France, and Two and a Half Boos for Obama Policy

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

By Barry Rubin

The U.S. Congress is back as a factor in U.S. foreign policy. Partly because the Obama Administration has pushed it too far to do unpopular things; partly because members are no longer in awe of the president’s alleged invincibility and much-declined popularity. Many Democratic members see their whole careers flashing before their eyes. And, of course, there’s the administration’s decision to pick a quarrel with Israel.

For the first time since Barack Obama took power, we’re seeing a bit of a congressional revolt even from his own side of the aisle. The two issues are Israel and Iran.

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An Islamist in Professor’s Garb: Tariq Ramadan Returns to America

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

by Brendan Goldman*

A capacity crowd of 860 students, professionals, hijab-clad women, and others filled Cooper Union’s Great Hall on Thursday, April 8, to hear Tariq Ramadan deliver his first public address in the U.S. since the Bush administration revoked his visa in 2004. The controversial Swiss Muslim, who teaches Islamic history at Oxford University, was banned for his 2002 donation to a Muslim charity with links to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas — a move that cost him an endowed chair at the University of Notre Dame. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally intervened to allow Ramadan to enter the country.

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The Solace of Poor U.S.-Israel Relations

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

by Daniel Pipes*

Things are not always as simple as they seem; the current crisis in U.S.-Israel relations has a silver lining.

Four observations, all derived from historical patterns, prompt this conclusion:

First, the “peace process” is in actuality a “war process.” Diplomatic negotiations through the 1990s led to a parade of Israeli retreats that had the perverse effect of turning the middling-bad situation of 1993 into the awful one of 2000. Painful Israeli concessions, we now know, stimulate not reciprocal Palestinian goodwill but rather irredentism, ambition, fury, and violence.

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Death By Hijab: But What’s It Got To Do With Isadora Duncan?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

by Phyllis Chesler

I have gone on record, many times, about how hazardous the Islamic Veil is to women’s health in both medical and psychiatric terms. There are other kinds of health risks involved in adopting Islamically “modest” dress. For example, in England, Muslim nurses are now refusing to leave their arms uncovered below the elbow which can potentially lead to spreading hospital superbugs and to the death of patients. The British National Health Service has given in to this demand — but has prohibited short-sleeved nurses from wearing crosses. … Continue reading…

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Why Does the Palestinian Authority Celebrate Those Who Turned Christianity’s Holiest Shrine into a Military Bunker?

Monday, April 12th, 2010

By Barry Rubin

The Obama Administration doesn’t understand this but it is signaling the Palestinian Authority (PA) that it can get away with anything, thus further dooming any hope for serious negotiations and perhaps leading to a restart of large-scale violence.

Decades ago, when Middle East experts held views closer to the region’s realities rather than to its propaganda, it was well-known that one of the best ways to mobilize a big demonstration or riot in Arabic-speaking countries was to tell people: The government is with you.

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Intellectuals Welcome Tariq Ramadan to Cooper Union

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

By Fern Sidman

On Thursday evening, April 8th, the vaunted hero of the American left and the denizens of the “politically correct” intellectual enclaves made his return appearance at Cooper Union in New York City. In a panel discussion entitled, “Secularism, Islam and Democracy: Muslims in Europe and the West”, Tariq Ramadan, the formerly “exiled” professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University took center stage at the forum sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Professors, PEN American Center, the American Academy of Religion and Slate Magazine. The audience of approximately 600 people consisted of those who call him “slippery,” “double-faced,” “dangerous,” but his left-wing apologists refer to him as “brilliant,” a “bridge-builder,” and a “Muslim Martin Luther.”

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Media lies: Palestinian ‘killed’ by IDF returns from the dead

Friday, April 9th, 2010

By Andrew L. Jaffee

I get the biggest laughs from pro-Palestinians who claim — rather idiotically and crazily — that the media is biased towards Israel. What a bunch of fools. Will any of them have the guts to read up on this blatant anti-Israeli lie? From HonestReporting:

Credibility of Palestinian medical sources questioned as teen allegedly shot dead by the IDF returns to his family alive only days later.

According to the original Ma’an report: …

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The Obama Administration and Sanctions on Iran: The Farce Deepens

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

By Barry Rubin

For more than a year I have repeatedly pointed out that the Obama Administration’s strategy of increasing the level of sanctions against Iran has been a mess. Deadlines set by the U.S. government for September and then December weren’t met. Even afterward, the government had not even established publicly (and it seems not even privately) its basic position on what sanctions should be. Congressional proposals for a tougher stance were discouraged and ignored.

Now President Obama once again assures us in early April:

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Dissident Watch: Mohammed Hegazy

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

by Stephanie Winer*

Public conversions from Islam to Christianity in Egypt, a country whose population is 10 percent Christian, ignite major controversy. While no Egyptian law forbids conversion to Christianity, Islamic law treats it as apostasy deserving of death.

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Islamist Female Suicide Bombers – Neither Sexy Nor Liberated

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

by Phyllis Chesler

Contrary to myth, Islamist female suicide bombers are neither “liberated” nor empowered women. They are not driven by feminist or nationalist ideologies. They are not always “black widows” — women, (most recently in the Moscow train bombings), who have lost terrorist husbands to the enemy and who want revenge.

Some female (Palestinian suicide bombers) are clinically depressed after years of family abuse, or upon discovering that they are infertile and that their husbands are divorcing them. Some female (Iraqi suicide bombers) are desperate for “mothering,” and are easily indoctrinated by an older woman figure who “mothers” them into martyrdom. Some female (Palestinian suicide bombers) are trapped by male indoctrinators who seduce them, then threaten to tell their husbands or families if they do not go out in a redemptive blaze of glory; otherwise, they will be honor murdered. … Continue reading…

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When Israel Stood Up to Washington

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

by Daniel Pipes*

As U.S.-Israel tensions climb to unfamiliar heights, they recall a prior round of tensions nearly thirty years ago, when Menachem Begin and Ronald Reagan were in charge. In contrast to Binyamin Netanyahu’s repeated apologies, Begin adopted a quite different approach.

The sequence of events started with a statement from Syrian dictator Hafiz al-Asad that he would not make peace with Israel “even in a hundred years,” Begin responded by making the Golan Heights part of Israel, terminating the military administration that had been governing that territory from the time Israeli forces seized it from Syria in 1967. Legislation to this effect easily passed Israel’s parliament on Dec. 14, 1981.

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The Weatherman and the Wind

Monday, April 5th, 2010

By Jonathan Spyer

Bob Dylan wrote that “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” With great respect to Dylan, however, if you are truly looking to ascertain the direction of the winds in a particular place and time, it doesn’t do any harm to listen to what the most experienced local weatherman is saying and to watch what he’s doing.

The small and dispersed Druse sect has over time developed the most sensitive instruments in these parts for knowing in which direction the winds of political power are blowing. This ability derives from necessity. The Druse strategy for survival has been to spot which trend, leader, country or movement is on the way up, and to ally with it in good time. This explains, for example, the long alliance between the Druse of the Galilee and the Zionist Jews.

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Obama’s Foolish Settlements Ultimatum

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

by Steven J. Rosen*

U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to confront Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Israeli construction activity in East Jerusalem has been greeted by a hail of praise, especially from people impatient to proceed with peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The belief seems to be that meeting this issue head-on will accelerate progress toward an agreement ending a conflict that has festered for generations. The historical record suggests a different conclusion.

The assumption that a faceoff over construction in Jerusalem will advance negotiations has not been subjected to much scrutiny. But the last two decades show that progress has occurred not when this issue was put first, but when it was finessed and left for the final status negotiations on Jerusalem.

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Just Say “No”: I Get Personally Invited to Help the Obama Administration Engage–and Thus Strengthen–Terrorists

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

By Barry Rubin

Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” A good Middle East equivalent, at least among the anti-democratic forces, would be: That which does not scare me makes me bolder.

Can things get worse with the Obama Administration’s foreign-and especially Middle East–policy? Yes, it’s not inevitable but I have just seen personally a dangerous example of what could be happening next. In fact, I never expected that the administration would try to recruit me in this campaign, as you’ll see starting with paragraph seven.

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Defining Conservatism: The Principles That Will Bring Our Country Back [Book Review]

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

By Jonathan Krohn

Reviewed by Fern Sidman

If anyone was under the erroneous impression that the only segments of the US population that comprise the ranks of the Tea Party activists and the Conservative movement are upscale baby boomers, middle-aged Glenn Beck aficionados or white haired Republicans from affluent suburbs in the Midwest, then we must think again. In his meticulously researched thesis — like exegesis on the rise of Marxist style government expansionism and it’s egregious consequences for the future of freedom in America, 14 year-old Jonathan Krohn steps up to the plate and sounds a clarion call to yet a new generation of American Conservatives.

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