Archive for May, 2012

Gulf Union Fails to Materialize

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

By Jonathan Spyer

Saudi and Gulf leaders held discussions in Riyadh this week on proposed moves toward greater unity. The meeting, however, revealed little genuine enthusiasm for such a project outside of Saudi Arabia itself and beleaguered Bahrain.

But while it is unlikely that proposals for greater Gulf unity will bear fruit, the very fact that they are being raised at all is significant. It reflects two things: firstly, the overriding concerns felt by Saudi Arabia regarding Iranian ambitions in the Gulf area and beyond; and secondly, the Saudi conviction since the Arab Spring that the West and the US cannot be relied upon and that therefore the Gulf monarchies themselves must organize – in their own neighborhood as well as outside it – to defend their interests.

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Watching the new state of South Sudan fall into chaos

Friday, May 18th, 2012

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi*

When the state of South Sudan came into existence last July, with great fanfare, Israel was one of the first nations to recognize it, having provided support for South Sudanese leaders since the 1960s during the first civil war. Indeed, in late December, Salva Kiir Mayardit – the president of South Sudan – came to Jerusalem, where he discussed the unique prospect of locating the country’s embassy there. It was therefore no surprise that President Shimon Peres spoke so enthusiastically of the visit as a “moving and historic moment” for him and Israel.

Now, less than a year later, in light of Israel’s plans to deport South Sudanese refugees, it is worth taking a look at how the world’s youngest nation is faring.

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California State University, Northridge (CSUN) officials wage political war against pro-Israel, pro-Jewish supporters

Friday, May 18th, 2012

By Gary Gerofsky

AMCHA is an organization that wants Jewish students to be treated with the same respect, rights, and concern as all other students on California campuses. The Never Again Group (NAG) of Canada finds the escalating tensions and outright political war between California State University, Northridge (CSUN) officials and AMCHA to be unacceptable and repugnant.

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Uncovering Early Islam

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

by Daniel Pipes*

The year 1880 saw the publication of a book that ranks as the single most important study of Islam ever. Written in German by a young Jewish Hungarian scholar, Ignaz Goldziher, and bearing the nondescript title Muslim Studies (Muhammedanische Studien), it argued that the hadith, the vast body of sayings and actions attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, lacked historical validity. Rather than provide reliable details about Muhammad’s life, Goldziher established, the hadith emerged from debates two or three centuries later about the nature of Islam.

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Canadian public must demand politicians and police forces eliminate politics of fear and appeasement

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

By Gary Gerofsky

When will the Canadian police return to treating thugs like thugs and citizens with respect by protecting good people against the thugs? It seems that in places where there have been recent protests such as Caledonia, parts of Quebec, and many other places across Canada, violent protestors are treated with respect under the umbrella of a policy of appeasement. Conversely, those who find the actions of thugs questionable and want to express their concern by showing up at protests are targeted by police.

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The Clichéd Sentimentality of Jon Meacham on PBS

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

By Jerry Kammer, CIS.org

When PBS asks someone like Jon Meacham — contributing editor to Time magazine, former editor of Newsweek, television pundit, and author of a Pulitzer-prize winning biography of Andrew Jackson — to write an essay on immigration, the result is likely to be a measure of elite media thinking on the topic.

And so it was with Meacham’s commentary at the end of last Friday’s “Need to Know” program. It was a call to welcome the world. It was also devoid of any recognition of how unconstrained immigration policy has become since passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act.

Ostensibly, Meacham’s essay was an argument for more immigrant visas for high-skilled foreigners educated in the United States. But most of his message — and all of the accompanying visual imagery — was a homily about the backlash against the influx of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century.

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Mexican Jihad

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

by Raymond Ibrahim*

As the United States considers the Islamic jihadi threats confronting it from all sides, it would do well to focus on its southern neighbor, Mexico, which has been targeted by Islamists and jihadists, who, through a number of tactics—from engaging in da’wa, converting Mexicans to Islam, to smuggling and the drug cartel, simple extortion, kidnappings and enslavement—have been subverting Mexico in order to empower Islam and sabotage the U.S.

According to a 2010 report, “Close to home: Hezbollah terrorists are plotting right on the U.S. border,” which appeared in the NY Daily News:

Mexican authorities have rolled up a Hezbollah network being built in Tijuana … closer to American homes than the terrorist hideouts in the Bekaa Valley are to Israel. Its goal, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper that reported on the investigation: to strike targets in Israel and the West. Over the years, Hezbollah—rich with Iranian oil money and narcocash—has generated revenue by cozying up with Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs and people into the U.S. In this, it has shadowed the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Tehran, which has been forging close ties with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who in turn supports the narcoterrorist organization FARC, which wreaks all kinds of havoc throughout the region.

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Did Muhammad Exist?

Monday, May 14th, 2012

A briefing by Robert Spencer*

Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, has released a new book titled, Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins. On April 24th, Mr. Spencer spoke on his book at a joint meeting of the Middle East Forum and Gatestone Institute in New York City.

Did the Prophet Muhammad really exist, or was he a sacred myth fashioned by the Koran decades after his purported death? Robert Spencer has addressed this thorny question with a dual intent:

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“Our brethren are not alone,” say AFSI members

Monday, May 14th, 2012

By Fern Sidman

Ed. note: This is part 2 and 3 of the series. Click here to read part 1.

Continuing his tour into the heart of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, Mr. Luria guided the AFSI contingent in to Beit Wittenberg, now owned by Ateret Cohanim. Originally purchased by Moshe Wittenberg in the 1880s in a deal brokered by Eliezer Ben Yehuda (the father of the modern Hebrew language), it was discovered that the building was once the famous Mediterranean Hotel where Mark Twain stayed in Jerusalem when he visited in 1867. “One hundred years after this property was purchased by the Wittenberg family, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon bought it in the 1980s. Because he thought it was important for Jews to be able to live anywhere in Jerusalem, he made his residence here,” said Mr. Luria.

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Jihad Comes to Egypt

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

by Raymond Ibrahim*

Considering Egypt’s presidential elections take place later this month, last weekend’s Islamist clash with the military could not have come at a worse time.

First, the story: due to overall impatience—and rage that the Salafi presidential candidate, Abu Ismail, was disqualified (several secular candidates were also disqualified)—emboldened Islamists began to gather around the Defense Ministry in Abbassia, Cairo, late last week, chanting jihadi slogans, and preparing for a “million man” protest for Friday, May 4th.

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The Obama Government Backs the Atrocity-Producing Forces So How Will it Stop Atrocities?

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

By Barry Rubin

The port of Oktyabrsk is situated on the left bank of the Bug River, 58 km. north of the entry to the Black Sea. Close to the city of Nikolayev, this anonymous Ukrainian port could not seem further from the strife-torn Middle East.

Yet in the last year, Oktyabrsk has played a key role in the international structure that enables the survival of the Assad dictatorship in Syria. It is the main point from which ships bearing the Russian arms that underwrite the Assad regime’s survival set off undisturbed on their journey to the Syrian coast.

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The Catastrophe Called Nakba

Friday, May 11th, 2012

by Sam Sokol*

“All of the world knows what happened here in 1948,’ Daoud Abu Lebdeh says, while leaning against a table in a coffee shop on the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus.

“The Israeli soldiers or the Israeli militias like the Hagana, Kahane, the Irgun and Lehi came here and they [kicked] the people outside from their homes.”

Daoud is a nondescript man of 24 from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz. A correspondent and blogger with the Palestinian website the Middle East Post, Daoud has come highly recommended as an expert on the Nakba, the “catastrophe” of the birth of the State of Israel, and concurrently, the start of the Palestinian refugee problem, by Fatah Youth activist and Jerusalemite Mousa Abassi.

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EMC, the storage giant, intensifies Israel operations

Friday, May 11th, 2012

by Yoram Ettinger
Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #161, May 11, 2012

1. The $58BN MA-based EMC acquired Israel’s XtremIO for $430MN, in addition to its existing Israeli R&D center, which employs 750 persons. EMC intends to expand its Israeli presence, as has been done by Intel (Globes business daily, May 11, 2012). The Mansfield, MA-based $26BN healthcare giant, Covidien acquired Oridion, an Israeli developer of devices for patients’ breathing safety from $346MN, following its March 19 acquisition of Israel’s SuperDimension for $300MN (Globes, April 6). J.P. Morgan acquired 7% of Israel’s Conduit for $100MN (Globes, Apri 10). ProSeibenSat, the German communications giant acquired Israel’s July-August Productions for 10MN Euros (Globes, May 11).

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The BBC Broadcasts Its Own Dhimmitude

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

by David J. Rusin*

Media outlets tiptoeing around Islam are a dime a dozen, but the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stands apart for the egregiousness of its self-censorship and bias. Even more striking than the number of controversies involving suppression of Islam-critical speech on its channels are the frank acknowledgements that BBC policy is shaped by fear.

During a recent interview (full transcript) for a University of Oxford project, BBC director general Mark Thompson provided the most in-depth admission yet of the BBC’s double standards with respect to faith. Christianity, he explained, receives less sensitive treatment because it is “a broad-shouldered religion, compared to religions which in the UK have a very close identity with ethnic minorities.” Specifically, Islam in Britain is “almost entirely a religion practiced by people who may already feel in other ways isolated, prejudiced against, and where they may well regard an attack on their religion as racism by other means.” Thus, when asked whether the BBC would run a Muhammad-mocking program on a par with the Jesus-ridiculing Jerry Springer: The Opera, which it aired over Christian protests in 2005, Thompson answered that it would not. Depictions of Islam’s prophet, he maintained, could have “the emotional force” of “grotesque child pornography” for Muslims.

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Syria’s 31 Percenters: How Bashar Al-Asad Built Minority Alliances and Countered Minority Foes

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

By Phillip Smyth

As the Syrian revolution against Bashar al-Asad’s rule enters its first year, Asad appears to have a good command over Syria’s large and fractious minority community. Three of the most prominent minority groups include the Christians, Druze, and Kurds. Asad’s control of these groups was not happenstance but the result of a number of hard- and soft-power moves executed by the regime. These calculations did not simply involve direct internal dealings with said minorities, but also outreach to their populations living in neighboring states and abroad. Due to the regime’s many policies, minority support may continue for some time.

Our way of government is not identical with that which is pursued with such conspicuous success in highly civilised and settled countries like your own. We leave the various communities and tribes alone to settle their internal differences. It is only where tribe wars on tribe, religion on religion, or their quarrels stop the traffic on the Sultan’s highway that we interfere. What would you have, mon ami? We are here in Asia!” – An Ottoman governor in Syria to author Marmaduke Pickthall, late nineteenth century.[1]

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