Friday, May 27, 2016

Son of Hamas Addresses Jewish Audience

A controversial and moving 19 minute talk by Mosab Hassan Yousef,
a son of a Hamas leader turned Arab Zionist
Mosab Hassan Yousef – the “Green Prince” – who worked as an Israeli spy, said “the Jewish nation is dear to me and when I see nations fighting against the Jewish people it hurts me.”
Speaking at The Jerusalem Post’s annual conference in New York, Yousef noted that at one point he was working for and being paid by Israel, the US, the PA and Hamas, all at the same time.

Yousef, the son of West Bank Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, helped the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) thwart attacks from 1997 to 2007. He later went on to write an autobiography published in 2010 titled Son of Hamas.

He converted to Christianity and fled to the US where he was granted political asylum.
[Jerusalem Post]

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Digital Profiling: Radical Solution to Identifying Terrorists

Israeli Start-Up Claims It Can Identify Terrorists by Looking at Their Face
- Simon Tomlinson

Faception, an Israeli start-up, says its technology can spot character traits that are undetectable to the naked eye, and can identify terrorists, pedophiles and ace poker players simply by looking at their face.

The company claims its software classified 9 of the 11 Paris massacre jihadists as terrorists from their facial features. Shai Gilboa, Faception chief executive, said the firm has developed a database of 15 classifiers which are used to determine personality traits with 80% accuracy. 
(Daily Mail-UK)

Israeli Start-Up Says It Can Out Secrets by Analyzing Faces
- Matt McFarland

At a recent poker tournament, Faception predicted which four players out of the 50 amateurs would be the best by analyzing their photos. Two of those four were among the event's three finalists. 

(Washington Post)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Laughing at ISIS

An excellent satirical mocking of ISIS
Humor and ISIS - A.J. Caschetta
To date, the best example of satire targeting the Islamic State came from one particularly brave Kurdish comedy group in a skit that aired on KurdSat TV in 2014.

The musical skit features five comedians with fake beards and Islamic State regalia pretending to be Islamic State fighters, singing their anthem and strumming their Kalashnikovs like guitars. The song parodies the Islamic State with acerbic wit in the tradition of Pope and Fielding, portraying its members as hypocrites who "strive for jihad and sex." The "brainless" Islamic State members sing "We are bearded, dirty and filthy," "Our leader is called qaqa," and "We hate the smell of nice mint." The group's atavism is mocked with "We bring history to the present" and "we scare women and children."

Not only does their parody make Westerners laugh but it also targets prospective Islamic State recruits.

The song's choral refrain is one of the most trenchant insults in the history of satire: "We are ISIS. We are ISIS. / We milk the goat even if it's male."

Using humor against the Islamic State and all variants of Islamism is worth trying.
[The Sun-Sentinel]

Friday, May 20, 2016

What Starts in Israel, Spreads to the West

from INSPIRE Magazine

Al-Qaeda magazine calls for stabbing attacks in US

An online magazine published by Al-Qaeda’s main affiliate urges stabbing attacks on Americans, following the wave of incidents in Israel. It also says damage to US economy could be inflicted via killings of businessmen and entrepreneurs in their homes. 
The article titled ‘O Knife Revolution, Head Towards America’ published in the Inspire magazine invites “zealous Muslims in America who clearly see their Muslim brothers in Palestine being tortured” to carry out terrorist attacks on the American soil, as quoted by Vocativ.

The magazine says it is the “duty” of each Muslim to “spread this revolt to the throats of Americans in their very own homes.”

Israel has seen a surge in street violence since October with ‘stabbing attacks’ claiming 28 lives. At the same time, security forces killed 133 Palestinians who they said were assailants, according to Reuters.

The article also calls for “professional assassinations” and “home assassinations” of renowned American businessmen and entrepreneurs.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Future of MidEast Peace Lies with Arab Partners

For MidEast Peace, Look to Israel's Arab Partners - John Hannah
  • It's virtually impossible to imagine Israel and the Palestinians conducting fruitful negotiations under the current circumstances. Mistrust is at an all-time high. Gaps on the core issues are wide. Talks have been in deep freeze for over two years. For months on end, young Palestinians have targeted innocent Israelis in a wave of random stabbings.
  • The Palestinian leadership seems weaker, more divided, and more paralyzed than ever, utterly incapable of taking on the compromises that even the most generous peace offer would require.
  • If outside intervention to impose a deal rewards the Palestinians' refusal to negotiate, what incentive would they have to return to the table, rather than merely sit back and wait for even greater international pressure to be brought on Israel?
  • President Obama might more productively direct his energies during his waning months in office to the slightly more auspicious diplomatic ground of Israel's thickening links with a handful of key Arab states.
  • Unfortunately, Israeli officials complain that the U.S. remains far too focused on the Palestinian issue, while missing entirely the historic opportunity to advance relations between Israel and the Arab states. That's the real peace process play that America should be pursuing.

    The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
(Foreign Policy)


Arab States Willing to Amend 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative
- Daniel Siryoti

[A] Channel 10 report said Arab countries have indicated that some of the clauses in the Saudi initiative [were] open to negotiation include demands that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights and grant Palestinian refugees a "right of return."  

(Israel Hayom)

Israel, Egypt Nearing Compromise - David Wainer

Israel may agree to settle for half of the $1.73 billion fine Egypt was ordered to pay it so talks on exporting Israeli offshore gas there can go ahead, people familiar with the negotiations said. Payments would be spread over 14 years. An international arbitration court in December ordered Egypt to pay Israel damages for violating a contract to supply Israel Electric with Egyptian gas.

Israel's willingness to compromise on the fine reflects the tight cooperation between the countries since Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi became Egypt's defense minister in 2012, then president in 2014. Egypt exported natural gas to Israel until it canceled the agreement in 2012 as its wells became depleted and the pipeline carrying it came under repeated sabotage. 

A Note of Optimism for Israel's Future - Yossi Melman

Iran's Sunni Arab enemies have turned to Israel, which is reaching out with secret military and intelligence deals to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The writer was a senior correspondent for 27 years on national security, intelligence and strategic issues at the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.

(Jerusalem Post)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Obama Stretching His Red Line Again: More Use of Chemical Weapons

Can Assad Keep Crossing the "Red Line"? - David Ignatius

The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, apparently relying on a government source, reported May 2 that Assad's forces used sarin gas last month against Islamic State fighters after they attacked two Syrian air force bases east of Damascus.

Stockpiles of this deadly gas were supposed to have been removed from Syria in 2014.

"With the continuation of fighting in Syria, it is reasonable to assume that the regime won't hesitate to use these weapons again, especially after already having done so...without any reaction," an Israeli source told me.

Are Obama and Putin ready to tolerate a situation in which the use of chemical weapons is seen as "normal," despite a Russian-American agreement that they should be banned?
(Washington Post)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kurdish Independence Coming

‘This is our 1948’: Kurds close relationship with Jews and Israel
-Seth Frantzman

“Do you know why we like Israel?” “The help in the 1960s, when Israel supported Kurdish resistance?” I wondered.

“That is a tiny reason,” said the major.

“We had Jews in this region, in our communities and we say ‘blood is blood’ and it is something you cannot abandon. We have gone through the same things, both suffered a lot.”

He pointed out that the Jewish people had suffered up until the foundation of Israel. “We have many of the same enemies around us and we are struggling for our state.”

Elements of this story appeared in most conversations I had in Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, last year. Some men claimed to have Jewish cousins. They were eager to show photos of Jewish houses in Aqrah, where some peshmerga we met were from. In Amadiya there were stories of “holy Jewish graves” from times of old. In the town of Alqosh there is the grave of the Jewish prophet Nahum, which some Jewish groups have shown interest in helping preserve and encourage visits to.

Hussein Yazdanpana, the leader of an Iranian Kurdish party that is in exile in Iraqi Kurdistan and has been fighting Islamic State, is enthusiastic about Kurdish-Jewish ties. Meeting him at a frontline observation post west of Kirkuk city, he spoke about the Holocaust and the shared suffering of Jews and Kurds as well as common values such as freedom and democracy.

“I look forward to good relations with Israel and the Jewish people in which we fight terrorism together in this region.”

In meeting throughout Kurdistan, the constant refrain is that the Kurds are today living in their [hoped for] independen[ce] year.

While other nations in the world gained independence long ago, such as Israel in 1948, the Kurdish nation of 30 million is divided between Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. In Iraq they are closest to a functioning independence state, running their own affairs with an autonomous government. In Iran they suffer under the Persian-speaking and Shi’a dominated regime. In Turkey, although Kurds have representation in parliament, the Turkish government has been fighting a war with Kurdish communist guerrillas from the PKK party since last year. Cities are under curfew and thousands have died.

In Syria, the Kurdish areas have come under the control of the YPG, a left-leaning movement that has been the main force fighting ISIS. The Kurdish area of Syria has suffered greatly, with cities like Kobani in ruins and although it wants an autonomous, federal structure after the war, no one is supporting its desires.

This mutual interest between Israel and Kurdistan is unique in the region.

In many countries, such as Morocco or Egypt, even depicting Jewish history in the country is seen as controversial.

In contrast, in Erbil you can buy books in Kurdish about Golda Meir and about the history of Kurdish Jews.

In the Kurdish regions of Iraq, much of the talk today is about a referendum and eventual independence. The war with Islamic State is grinding on and Kurds have successfully pushed back the extremists and gained key allies, not only among Western powers, but also in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, countries usually hostile to Kurdish interests.

Israel, which has had a close clandestine relationship with Kurdish groups that dates to the 1960s, has generally been supportive of Kurdish rights. In January, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked expressed support for Kurdish independence.

In a 2014 speech to the Institute for National Security Studies Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Kurdistan was “worthy of statehood.” All of these developments in the last years point to an enduring bond between two Middle Eastern peoples that is growing and can be cultivated.

[Jerusalem Post]

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Muslim on Muslim Anti-Semitism

Mehdi Hasan critiques UK Muslim community

Anti-Semitism Infects the British Muslim Community - Mehdi Hasan

There are thousands of mild-mannered and well-integrated British Muslims who harbor deeply anti-Semitic views. It pains me to admit this but anti-Semitism isn't just tolerated in some sections of the British Muslim community; it's routine and commonplace. It's our dirty little secret.

I can't keep count of the number of Muslims I have come across - from close friends and relatives to perfect strangers - for whom weird and wacky anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are the default explanation.

It is sheer hypocrisy for Muslims to complain of Islamophobia, and yet ignore the rampant anti-Semitism in our own backyard
(New Statesman-UK)

Monday, May 02, 2016

Preventing Jewish Prayer

Palestinians try to demolish part of Joseph's Tomb in October 2000.
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Why Deny Jews the Right to Pray? - Jonathan S. Tobin

In the West Bank city of Nablus, Arabs rioted on Thursday. Were they complaining about Jewish settlements or the lack of a Palestinian state? No. Their issue was the fact that a group of Jews had entered the city, and as is their right under agreements concluded with the Palestinian Authority, sought to pray at the Tomb of Joseph, an ancient Jewish site of worship.

Palestinians threw rocks and burned tires. But Israeli troops defended the pilgrims and, thanks to the army’s efforts to prevent injuries on either side, no Palestinians were reported hurt. This wasn’t the first time Palestinians sought to prevent Jews from praying at the tomb. There was a similar incident in February. Prior to that, the tomb and the synagogue that encompasses it were burned last October as well as in 2000 in a bloody riot at the start of the second intifada.

Why can’t the Palestinians accept the site of Jews praying at an ancient site? It has nothing to do with arguments about borders, settlements or statehood. It’s the same reason they treat Jewish prayer on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism — to be a declaration of war on Islam. It’s a function of a narrative in which the presence of Jews in any part of the country is seen as offensive and a challenge to national pride. It’s also the reason why the Palestinians and their allies managed to get UNESCO to pass a resolution that denied any connection between the Temple Mount and the Western Wall and Judaism or the Jewish people.

As Yossi Klein Halevi noted in an insightful article published last week in the Los Angeles Times, the whole point of this campaign is to deny Jews not only a state but also the right to their own history and faith. [Their] purpose [is to] deny Jews rights in Jerusalem, Nablus or anywhere in the holy land, [and] to erase the entire Jewish story.

They do it because only by denying the narrative of Jewish history that validates the rights of Jews to sovereignty in their ancient homeland can you achieve their goal of delegitimizing the modern state of Israel. If you accomplish that goal, you can not only convince a credulous world that a democratic Jewish majority nation is an “apartheid state,” but also deny Jews self-defense and allow hate-driven terrorists to be glorified as heroes and martyrs fighting for human rights.

One doesn’t have to agree with Jewish settlements or even think it wise for Jews to want to pray on the Temple Mount or even at a shrine inside an Arab city like Nablus to understand that defending those rights involves more than just religious issues or the desires of some to act in a manner that some think is provocative.

The current Palestinian campaign of hate has its origins in canards about Jews harming Muslim holy sites but what is at stake is not a question of defending mosques but denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem or any spot in Israel as well as the West Bank.

Liberals who sympathize with Israel wish that Jews would stop praying in Nablus and shut up about the Temple Mount, just as they would like to see West Bank settlements removed. But the Palestinian goal isn’t different rules for prayer at holy places or even a state with a border that might conform to the pre-June 1967 reality when Jews were denied the right to pray at the Western Wall. It is, as both Hamas and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas have both said, reversing the “occupation” that began in 1948, not 1967.

Keeping the peace in Jerusalem and Nablus is a serious problem and Israeli authorities are working to do just that even if it means adhering to rules that discriminate against Jews like the prayer ban Israel enforces on the Temple Mount.

But as the UNESCO vote and the Nablus riots remind us, the issue isn’t where Jews may pray. It’s whether Jews have any rights at all. And that is a fight from which all decent persons who claim to oppose anti-Semitism should not shrink from.
[Commentary Magazine]

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Biden Shows Teeth Toward Israel

Biden's Assault on Israel - Elliott Abrams

On the same day that a bomb injured 21 people in a bus in Jerusalem, Vice President Joe Biden addressed J Street with a rhetorical attack on the government of Israel. President Obama is about to join a GCC summit in Saudi Arabia. Does Biden really think the Arabs pay no attention to how we treat our closest friends and allies? Does he not know that they will read all of this and wonder when they will be getting the same treatment?

Then there are the facts. How do you get to "systematic" expansion of settlements when Netanyahu has been constraining many aspects of settlement growth? And why is Biden not familiar with the history of his own administration's peace efforts? As Dennis Ross made clear in his most recent book, Doomed to Succeed, Netanyahu was in fact ready to take significant political risks to meet American requests - and Abbas was not. 
The writer, a senior fellow at CFR, was a U.S. deputy national security advisor. 
(Council on Foreign Relations)

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia No Longer See Anything the Same Way 
- Ray Takeyh

As President Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia, the latest developments in the Iran nuclear deal are not anything the Tehran-phobic Saudis want to talk about. Obama has expressed a vague desire that Iran and Saudi Arabia should "share the neighborhood" without saying how he hopes that will be accomplished.

As the U.S. grows more energy independent and Saudi oil becomes less relevant, the lure of petroleum is increasingly not enough to sustain an alliance always built on a shaky foundation.

Changing the occupant of the White House early next year will not substantially alter America's policies. Obama reflects a mood of disenchantment with the Middle East within the Democratic party, while Republican front-runners denounce expansive visions for transforming the political culture of the Middle East and implanting democratic regimes in the heart of the Arab world. U.S. politicians on both sides are tired of expending precious resources to stabilize a region coming undone. 
The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, was senior advisor on Iran at the U.S. State Department. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Glick on Settlements

This excellent 4 minute video gets to the heart of the problem in the Arab-Israeli conflict

Brussels Bomber: Israel Was The Target

Mohamed Abrini [far right] was captured and is talking

Brussels Terrorists Planned to Attack Travelers Flying to Israel 

Mohamed Abrini [pictured above, on right], who was captured last week after appearing in video footage at Brussels airport walking alongside two suicide bombers, said that his accomplices had planned to attack travelers who were flying to Israel, the U.S. and Russia, French BFM TV reported.  
(Jerusalem Post)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dramatic Plea from Saudi News Anchor

Nadine Al-Budair

Saudi News Anchor: Muslims Should Take Responsibility for Terrorism
- Kara O'Neill

In the middle of a TV broadcast on a Saudi Arabian news channel, newsreader Nadine Al-Budair said: "Whenever terrorism massacres peaceful civilians, the smart alecs and the hypocrites vie with one another in saying that these people do not represent Islam or the Muslims....It is we who blow ourselves up. It is we who blow up others....Don't these perpetrators emerge from our environment? Don't their families belong to our society?"

"After the abominable Brussels bombings, it's time for us to feel shame and to stop acting as if the terrorists are a rarity. We must admit that they are present everywhere, that their nationality is Arab, and that they adhere to the religion of Islam. We must acknowledge that we are the ones who gave birth to them." 

Monday, April 04, 2016

Obama Continues to Cave to Iran

The Iran Nuclear Deal Keeps Changing - Eli Lake

Like most of Washington, I was under the impression that the nuclear negotiations with Iran ended in July. That turns out to have been wrong. While it's true that the Iranians have disposed of nuclear material, modified sites and allowed more monitoring, they also keep haggling over the terms.

Now the U.S. is considering a rule change to allow some Iranian businesses to use offshore financial institutions to access U.S. dollars in currency trades. When the White House sold the deal to Congress, senior Treasury officials promised the nuclear agreement would not allow such dollar transactions, since it only lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but kept in place other sanctions to punish the country's support for terrorism, human rights abuses and its ballistic missile program.

Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said:
"The Administration had indicated that there would be no further concessions beyond those specifically negotiated and briefed to Congress. I do not support granting Iran any new relief without a corresponding concession."   


- Eric B. Lorber and Peter Feaver

The Obama administration has signaled that it is about to make an additional and unexpected concession to Iran that significantly weakens remaining U.S. leverage: giving Iran backdoor access to financial transactions in dollars. Congress is crying foul, asserting that such dollar access was not included in the original deal and constitutes a gift to Iran that should not be given without additional Iranian concessions. When selling the agreement to Congress, Acting Undersecretary of the Treasury Adam Szubin assured lawmakers on September 17, 2015, that "no Iranian banks can access the U.S. financial system." 
Eric Lorber is an adjunct Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Peter Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University. 
(Foreign Policy)

- Edith M. Lederer
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reported progress after a meeting on Iranian complaints that it's not getting the sanctions relief it deserves under last year's nuclear deal. Iran says it is locked out of the international financial system.
The White House, Treasury and the State Department have all said the U.S. has done what is required, but U.S. officials say the Obama administration is considering easing financial restrictions that prevent U.S. dollars from being used in transactions that enable business with Iran. On Monday Kerry said Iran has so far received only $3 billion of $55 billion expected under the deal. 
(AP-ABC News)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Iran Wins at Syrian Monopoly

Iran Is Buying Syria
(Al-Souria Net-Syrian Observer)
Iranian traders have bought a large amount of Syrian real estate, primarily in the center of Damascus and Homs.
Several hotels in the heart of Damascus - such as Al Iwan, Asia, Damascus International, Phoenicia and the Petra - have become the property of the Iranian embassy, in addition to shares in the luxury Semiramis Hotel.
At Sky News, political researcher Ghassan Ibrahim said: "The [Syrian] regime has nothing to offer but real estate to Iran as guarantees in exchange for the huge amounts of money it spent to support the Assad regime."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fighting Jihad with Emojis

Post-Jihad Gesture Theater - Michelle Malkin

While homicidal, suicidal and genocidal jihadists are busy plotting the next soft-target terror attacks on the West, docile Westerners are busy shedding cartoon tears and doodling broken hearts on social media.

European artists rushed to fill Twitter and Instagram with images of Belgian comic book character Tintin weeping after vengeful Muslim terrorists left the Brussels airport and subway system buried in rubble and dead bodies.

Residents of the besieged city meekly protested the Quran-inspired violence by leaving pastel-colored chalk messages pleading for "peace no war." [T]ens of thousands of people spread the "JeSuisBruxelles" message with their thoughts, prayers and memes.

And, of course, there will be flags lowered and monuments lit up all over the world this week in the national colors of Belgium to show "solidarity" with victims of The Perpetrators Whose Religion Shall Not Be Named.

To borrow a useful phrase coined by British journalist James Bartholomew last year, we have reached the oversaturation point of post-terrorism "virtue signaling:" Hashtags, avatars and animated GIFs ad nauseam. These are the easy advertisements and maudlin displays of one's resolute opposition to an unidentified something that must be stopped somehow by unspoken means.

Virtue signals are "camouflage," Bartholomew explained. They are sincere-seeming shows of collective unity that disguise the millennial-age indulgence of publicly patting one's own back for supposed moral courage. "No one actually has to do anything," he opined. Virtue now "comes from mere words or even from silently held beliefs."

Pre-Twitter, outraged Americans all donned "Never forget" magnets and ribbons on our cars and lapels after 9/11. I was one of them. But after 15 years of hapless homeland security theater and bipartisan pandering to terror-coddling "Islamophobia" shriekers, I'm so, so sick of noble gesture paraphernalia.

I'm sick of Silicon Valley moguls who pretend to champion free speech while muzzling the speech of those who use the Internet to criticize the very open door immigration policies that fertilized European and American soil for jihadists. I'm sick of all the same old emasculated politicians who declare that "justice will be served," "this must end" and "we stand against terror," while refusing to take even the smallest baby steps to...drain the jihad swamps inside our own borders.

We've had enough piles of memorial flowers. We've heard enough hollow lip service paid to resolve. Where is the world's active resistance to the sharia-imposing soldiers of Allah?

We need Tintin to wipe his nose, man up and
The famous Belgian comic character Tintin,
depicted reacting to the terror attacks.
remember Belgium's once proud history.

When German invaders attempted what they thought would be an easy romp through the tiny neutral country in 1914 on their way to Paris, resistance fighters who were outnumbered 14 to 1 took a brave stand in defense of their sovereignty.

Bracing for an onslaught, King Albert addressed his people:
"One single vision fills all minds: that of our independence endangered. One single duty imposes itself upon our wills: the duty of stubborn resistance. In these solemn circumstances two virtues are indispensable: a calm but unshaken courage, and the close union of all Belgians. ... It is the moment for action. ... [A] country which is defending itself conquers the respect of all; such a country does not perish!"

How far the West has fallen. Farewell, steeled wills. You've been replaced by an army of sad-faced emojis.
[Jewish World Review]

The dark path to Brussels - David Ignatius

The value of catastrophic events is that they can help people face up to problems that are otherwise impossible to address. Maybe this will be the case with Tuesday's horrific attacks in Brussels.

Europe is facing a security threat that's unprecedented in its modern history, at a time when its common currency, border security and intelligence-sharing are all under severe stress. If Europe were a stock, a pragmatic investor would sell it, despite the sunk cost and sentimental attachment. Without radical restructuring, it's an enterprise that's headed for failure. 

The European Union needs to reinvent its security system.

The jihadist wave rolling back toward Europe is dizzying: U.S. intelligence agencies estimate that more than 38,000 foreign fighters have traveled to Iraq and Syria since 2012. At least 5,000 of them came from Europe, including 1,700 from France, 760 from Britain, 760 from Germany and 470 from Belgium, according to official data collected by the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm. Relative to its population, Belgium spawned the largest number of these fighters.

Belgian authorities couldn't find Salah Abdeslam, the logistical planner of the November Paris attacks, for more than 120 days -- until they finally nabbed him last Friday a few blocks from where he grew up in the Arab enclave of Molenbeek. He was hiding in plain sight. But Belgium's failure was cooked into the system: The jihadists move stealthily, and the Belgians didn't collect or share enough of the intelligence that was there. The authorities had allowed Molenbeek to become a safe haven -- more dangerous to Belgium than even the jihadists' sanctuaries in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Americans, who are less exposed to the threat, may smugly imagine they can wall themselves off. But the Islamic State's rampage is more an American failure than a European one. The United States formed a global coalition to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State back in September 2014. This strategy hasn't worked; the Islamic State's domain has shrunk in Iraq and Syria but expanded elsewhere.

The failure of the U.S.-led coalition to contain the jihadists has left a fragile Europe exposed to terrorism and social upheaval. President Obama hopes that history will affirm his prudent policy, but this view is surely harder to maintain after the Paris and Brussels attacks.
[Jewish World Review]

Young Muslims in the West: A Ticking Time Bomb? - Raheem Kassam

Pew Research from 2007 found that 26 percent of young Muslims in America believed suicide bombings are justified, with 35 percent in Britain, 42 percent in France, 22 percent in Germany, and 29 percent in Spain feeling the same way.
[Middle East Forum]


"Excuses" for Terrorists - Douglas Murray

The day after the Brussels terror attack, landmarks in the UK were lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag. But after 67 years of terror, the UK still has not found the blue and white lights it would need to project the flag of Israel onto any public place. 

When Israel is attacked, the steps of the Israeli embassies in London and other European capitals are not littered with flowers, teddy bears or candles, or scrawled notes of sympathy.
The writer is associate director of the Henry Jackson Society in London. 
(Gatestone Institute)

Enough Teddy Bears: Time to Take Civilization Back
-Raheem Kassam

And if like dead bodies Facebook profile pictures lost heat, it would be accurate to say that the Tricolores that adorned the social media profiles of many had hardly become cold before we were all changing the colours of the bands on the flags. From blue to black. From white to yellow. The blood red remains.

Because nowadays, teddy bears are the new resolve. They symbolise everything we have become in response to our way of life being threatened, and our people being slaughtered on our streets: inanimate, squishy, and full of crap.

Our security services and our police, hamstrung by political correctness, are just as interested in rounding up Twitter "hate speech" offenders than criminal, rapist, or terrorist migrants. Our borders are as porous as our brains. We refuse to realise that there are now literally millions of people amongst us who hate us. Who hate our way of life, and who will, one day, dominate our public life.

But of course, such statements are dismissed as fear-mongering, alarmist, or "out of touch with reality." As if the data doesn't exist, or the demographics aren't shifting quickly enough to notice.

As if vast parts of our towns and cities haven't become ghettos, or no-go zones, or hubs of child grooming activity, or terrorism.

As if mosques, schools, prisons, and universities aren't used as recruiting grounds for radicals.

As if the blood of our countrymen hasn't even been spilled at all.

Instead, we will now think deeply about how we can "reach out" to these populations. How we can "co-exist" and "be tolerant" of one another. As if toleration – which is actually the permittance of what is not actually approved or desired – is a healthy aspiration for a society.
[Middle East Forum]

Apple Trumped by Israeli Tech Firm

Israeli firm helping FBI to open San Bernardino shooter's iPhone

Israel's Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is helping the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.
If Cellebrite succeeds, then the FBI will no longer need the help of Apple Inc, the Israeli daily said, citing unnamed industry sources. Cellebrite officials declined to comment on the matter.

Apple is engaged in a legal battle with the US Justice Department over a judge's order that it write new software to disable passcode protection on the iPhone used by the shooter.

The two sides were set to face off in court on Tuesday, but on Monday a federal judge agreed to the government's request to postpone the hearing after US prosecutors said a "third party" had presented a possible method for opening an encrypted iPhone.

The development could bring an abrupt end to the high-stakes legal showdown which has become a lightning rod for a broader debate on data privacy in the United States.

Cellebrite, a subsidiary of Japan's Sun Corp, has its revenue split between two businesses: a forensics system used by law enforcement, military and intelligence that retrieves data hidden inside mobile devices and technology for mobile retailers.
[Jerusalem Post]

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Syria's Future

Inevitable Syrian Collapse amid Russian Exit - Guy Taylor

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that the collapse of Syria as a functioning country is inevitable, as Russian forces begin pulling out of Syria.

He said the U.S. and other powers are engaged in "wishful thinking" by pursuing a strategy in which Syria remains a nation as it was before the outbreak of war in 2011.

He said the only way forward is "to have a kind of federation" that includes an autonomous Kurdish "sector," even if such is opposed by Turkey. Other sectors might include an "Alawistan" led by Assad and a "Druzistan" for the nation's Druze population.
(Washington Times)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Iranian Missiles Shame Obama Administration

As with some political cartoons, no other words are needed

Palestinians Support Knifings

My Friend Taylor Force Is Dead - David Simpkins

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in a poll conducted last December that 2/3 of all Palestinians support the knife attacks against Israelis. Not everyone is willing to risk their lives and stab you themselves, but they actively support and cooperate with the ones who do. 

The writer is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer who lives in Israel.
(Times of Israel)

Scholar Nails Islamic State's Progress & Troubles: VideoBite

A short scholarly review of the current status of ISIS

Monday, March 07, 2016

Raheel Raza interviewed by Bill Maher

Ms. Raza, a true moderate, interviewed by Bill Maher

Gay Muslim Poet Flees to Israel!

Payam Feili in Tel Aviv
Photo c
redit: Uriel Sinai for The New York Times        

Iranian Poet Flees to Israel - Isabel Kershner

In his native Iran, leaders openly wish for Israel to be wiped off the map. Yet Payam Feili, a poet and novelist, developed what he called a “special relationship” with the place, imagining it in his stories, which are replete with gay themes and Jewish symbols.

Now Mr. Feili, who is 30 and openly gay, is living in Tel Aviv as he seeks asylum in Israel. He has tattooed a Star of David on his neck.

“The more I gained a reputation outside Iran, the harder it became for me to live in Iran,” Mr. Feili said of the Islamic republic, where gay people have been executed. “Long before I left Iran,” he added, “I thought that the only other place in the world I could live was Israel.”

In recent years, he was unable to publish anything in Iran and even his friends hesitated to contact him. He said that when he began working with an Israeli who was translating his latest novella into Hebrew, government loyalists wrote articles accusing him of immorality and collaborating with the enemy.

He fled to Turkey in 2014 after being blacklisted and detained several times. Israel granted him entry on a temporary visa as a visiting artist about three months ago.
[New York Times]
Hat tip: Michael W


Friday, March 04, 2016

Christians Under the Thumb in Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Palestinian Christians Fleeing Bethlehem - Robert Nicholson

In 1990, Christians made up a majority of Bethlehem's residents; today they make up only 15%. Some say Israel is the reason for the decline, but then why is the Muslim population of Bethlehem growing when both sectors face the same exact set of circumstances? Jewish sovereignty does not, ipso facto,
lead to Christian emigration.

Inside Israel, the Christian population has been growing steadily for decades. The decrease of Christians inside the Palestinian territories is due more to rising Islamism and bad governance by the Palestinian Authority.  

It is no coincidence that Bethlehem was mostly Christian until the 1990s. Until then, Bethlehem was ruled directly by Israel. Palestinian Christians (and Muslims) could travel freely inside Israel, visit the beach, and shop in Jewish neighborhoods. That all changed in the mid-1990s when Israel agreed to let the PLO rule parts of the West Bank and Gaza under the Oslo Accords.

The Palestinian Authority is, by its own constitution, an Islamic state that embodies the principles of shari'a, and Christians are relegated to the status of second-class citizens. It is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity. Moreover, living as a Christian, one is constantly reminded that he or she is not a member of the majority culture. 

In public, Bethlehem Christians laud their happy coexistence with their Muslim neighbors. They don't have a choice. They are hostages inside their own city.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Russia "Weaponizing" Syrian Refugees

Refugee Crisis Masking Infiltration of Terrorists to Europe and U.S.
- L. Todd Wood 

NATO's top commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove [pictured], told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that ISIS is using the Syrian refugee crisis to "mask the movement" of terrorists infiltrating Europe and the U.S. 

He said the Islamic State was "spreading like cancer" among the flow of migrants from the Middle East, "taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own."

Breedlove also said Russia's indiscriminate bombing of civilians is intended to "get them on the road" to Europe, where they can weaken the EU and NATO with violence and division. 

Russia is thus "weaponizing" the Syrian refugees. He added that at least 1,500 ISIS fighters have returned to Europe.
(Washington Times)