Friday, July 29, 2011

Islamists Overwhelm Liberals at Cairo Demonstration. Glenn Beck was Right.

Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist allies overwhelmed liberal activists in numbers and decibels at a Tahrir Square rally today. The rally was originally called to demonstrate the continuing unity of the protest movement that led to the fall of the regime of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, and its organizers had agreed that the participating organizations should keep the rally free of divisive issues. But the Islamists quickly turned the rally into a demonstration for the institution of strict Islamic law in Egypt. The AP reports:
Instead of "Peaceful, peaceful," which demonstrators have chanted during confrontations with security forces, they repeated "Islamic, Islamic." And instead of "The people want to topple the regime" — a chant made famous in Tunisia and adopted across the region — they yelled, "The people want to implement Sharia," or Islamic law.

Does everyone remember how the mainstream media ridiculed Glenn Beck when he suggested that the Arab Spring and the Tahrir Square demonstrations would be used by the Islamists to advance their plan for a new caliphate under Islamic law? I disagree with Mr. Beck somewhat, because I believe that many of the Tahrir Square demonstrators, especially at the earliest rallies, sincerely advocated for a liberal, if not secular, democracy. However, subsequent events suggest that the liberal pro-democracy advocates will turn out to have been the "useful idiots" (Lenin's catch phrase) for the better organized and highly motivated Islamists. If so, then what will emerge in Egypt, and perhaps in other "Arab Spring" nations as well, will be a Salafist or Sunni version of the Shiite Islamic dictatorship in Tehran. Mr. Beck may not have been accurate in every detail, but his overall prediction appears to have been right on the mark.

In what is probably not an unrelated news item, in fact reported by AP in the same story, gunmen in the Minya province, south of Cairo, opened fire at a car carrying five Christians, murdering two of them. This is the second fatal attack in as many weeks in the predominantly Christian town of Roman.

It ought not need to be said, but must unfortunately must be stated in the currently charged atmosphere following the terrorist attacks in Norway, that the sentiments in this post are not directed against Islam or Moslems generally, but only at those Islamist extremists who would deny to others the same religious liberty that they so strongly claim for themselves. I treasure living in a nation where Moslems, Christians, Jews, believers of every stripe, and, yes, non-believers as well, enjoy freedom of religion (or non-religion if they prefer) and of expression. I just want to keep it that way.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tells the Truth About the "Occupied Territories"

Hurrah for Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and! Finally an Israeli government official is engaging in effective public education to counter the cumulative effective of lies from the Palestinians and their allies in Western government and the media. In this video, produced by the Israeli government and StandWithUs, Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon presents the historical facts concerning the status of the so-called "West Bank" and "Occupied Territories" under international law.

If any readers disagree with this presentation, I challenge them to refute it with facts, not name-calling. If you comply with that ground rule, our Comment section is open to you.

Incidentally, as you might expect, the Palestinian Authority is apopletic over this video. In their view when the Israeli government presents the truth, it amounts to a rejection of the "peace process." And if by the "peace process," one means the Oslo Accords and their aftermath, then the PA is probably correct. Of course, the "peace process" has nothing to do with real peace.

Hat tip:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In Tunisia, the Arab Spring is Producing a Bitter Harvest

Jews of Tunis, circa 1900

Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring. A frustrated fruit vendor's self-immolation in December 2010 led to mass street protests that by the following month had unseated President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power. Because Tunisia is homogeneous, relatively prosperous and has a tradition of secularism and women's rights, observers had hoped these characteristics would help turn Tunisia into an example of progressive Arab democracy.

That now seems unlikely. As reported in the Jerusalem Post, early this month, the authority in charge of post-Ben Ali political reform adopted a "republican pact" to form the basis of a new constitution. The completed pact included the provision prohibiting ties with Israel. Islamist parties, along with Arab nationalists and extreme leftist factions, are pushing to implement a constitutional provision that would ban normalization of relations with Israel.

The constitutional provision does not prohibit normal relations with Israel while it occupies lands captured in 1967. It does not prohibit normal relations with Israel while there is no settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. It forbids normal relations with Israel, period.

Once again events prove the truth of the George Will aphorism: "The problem in the Arab world is not that Israel is being provocative, but rather that Israel's being is provocative."

Let's think about just how radical and unusual such a constitutional provision would be in international affairs. For over 70 years, the Soviet Union and the United States engaged in a Cold War and were implacable enemies. Yet no one ever seriously proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning normal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, nor was a provision banning normal relations with the U.S. ever a part of the Soviet constitution.

At a rally held a week ago in Tunis to oppose any attempt to remove the anti-Israel provision from the draft constitution, Tunisian veterans who took part in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war were featured. To refresh the readers' memories, the Arab nations who attacked Israel in 1948 were not trying to keep Israel within its June 1967 borders, they were trying to strangle the newborn nation at birth.

Moreover, following the creation of the State of Israel, the Jewish community of Tunisia, which dated back to the Roman Empire, dwindled under unrelenting oppression from 110,000 to about 1700 today. About half of Tunisia's Jews fled to Israel, and half to France.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jordan Opposes UN General Assembly Declaration to Create Palestinian State

According to an opinion column by Alexander Bligh, which appears in today's Jerusalem Post online, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has broken from the Arab League consensus, and is opposing a United Nations General Assembly resolution to create a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza. Bligh based his column on the publication by the Dubai-based daily Al-Bayan of a leaked report that Jordan’s prime minister had revealed that his country would vote against Palestinian statehood at the UN General Assembly.

Jordan has long been on record as supporting a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and has waived any territorial claims on the West Bank. So why would Jordan oppose the General Assembly resolution? Apparently, Jordan recognizes that the creation of a Palestinian state in any context other than a negotiated peace treaty with Israel would heighten rather than lower the prospects of war, and in all probability would give rise to an Islamist terrorist regime that would threaten the security of both Israel and Jordan.

So Israel and Jordan, the two nations most directly concerned, which would share borders with a new Palestinian state, both sharply oppose the proposed United Nations General Assembly resolution, scheduled to come to a vote in September.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Excavations of Philistine City of Gath Bolster Biblical Narrative

An international team of archaeologists is currently excavating the ruins at Tel-El-Safi, Israel of the Philistine city of Gath, the home according to the Bible of the Philistine warrior Goliath, who discomforted the tribes of Israel under King Saul, until he was slain by David.

Lo and behold, the discoveries to date are all consistent with the Biblical narrative. Gath flourished in the 10th and 9th centuries BCE, contemporaneously with era of Kings Saul, David and Solomon as described in the Bible. It appears to have been destroyed by the Aramean king Hazael around 830 BCE, an incident related in the Book of Kings. The archaeologists have even found shards bearing names similar to Goliath, names of Indo-European rather than Semitic origin, reflecting the roots of the Philistines in ancient Greece.

One of the most intriguing finds at Gath is a large structure, possibly a temple, Tel-El-Safi is a ruined temple, with two pillars. This find bolsters the historicity of another Biblical story featuring the Philistines. After his famous haircut by Delilah and his capture, blinding and imprisonment by the Philistines, the Hebrew Judge Samson is brought to the temple of the idol Dagon in Gaza, to be mocked by his captors. Samson prays to God for his strength to be returned one last time, and he topples the two support pillars of the temple, brining it down upon the heads of his tormentors. The design of the structure found at Gath and a similar Philistine structure discovered at Tel Qasile, north of Tel Aviv, are consistent with Biblical narrative.

An Associated Press story about the dig appears here. Of course, secularists and Palestinians hate this sort of story.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

New from LATMA: "The Audacity of Dopes"

The Israeli conservative political comedy troup LATMA presents its satiricial take on the Gaza Boatlift:

See if you can spot Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick in this video.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Egyptian "Reform" Politician Blames 9-11 on US and Calls Holocaust a Lie

In an interview with the Washington Times, a leader of Egypt’s top secular party said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were “made in the USA,” the Holocaust is “a lie” and Anne Frank’s memoir is “a fake.” Ahmed Ezz El-Arab, a vice chairman of Egypt's Wafd Party, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times last week.

In response to his remarks that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda could not have pulled off the 9-11 attacks, the interviewer asked Mr. Ezz El-Arab who he believed was behind the attacks. Mr. Ezz El-Arab identified the CIA, Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, and the “military-industrial complex.”

Mr. Ezz El-Arab said he accepted that the Nazis killed “hundreds of thousands” of Jews. “But gas chambers and skinning them alive and all this? Fanciful stories,” he added. Mr. Ezz El-Arab also attacked the authenticity of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which he said he studied as a doctoral student in Stockholm. “I could swear to God it’s a fake,” the Wafd leader said. “The girl was there, but the memoirs are a fake.”

He also alleged that Jewish American soldiers serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq had looted antiquities, with the intention of planting them in archaelogical digs at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, in order to bolster Jewish claims that the Temple was once located there.

Mr. Ezz El-Arab is not a fringe politician. His Wafd is arguably the second-most powerful political party to the Muslim Brotherhood, a formerly banned Islamist group. Moreover, last month Wafd announced it would run jointly with the Brotherhood and 16 other blocs in September’s parliamentary elections to present a united front as Egypt forges a new government. So his beliefs about 9-11 and the Holocaust may well reflect the state of mind of the future Egpytian government. Indeed, he is probably a moderate compared with the Islamists in his future coalition.

Ironically, the Jerusalem Post notes that Mr. Ezz El-Arab gave the interview at the "First Annual Conference on Democracy and Human Rights," hosted in Budapest, Hungary by the Tom Lantos Institute and Center for Democratic Transition. Mr. Lantos of blessed memory, a longtime Democratic congressman from California who died in 2008, survived a forced-labor camp in his native Hungary and lost his mother and other family members to the Nazi occupation. Some 450,000 Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust, although Mr. Ezz El-Arab apparently does not believe it.

Remember how liberal pundits ridiculed Glenn Beck when he warned about emerging Islamist power in Egypt? I hope that they are still laughing a year from now, when Egypt probably will be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wafd Party, and others sharing Mr. Ezz El-Arab-s enlightened outlook.