Monday, June 27, 2016

Language Matters: Making Space for Moderate Muslims

"Radical Islam" Is the Correct Label - Yehuda Bauer

President Obama has explained why he doesn't like using the term "radical Islam" when talking about terror attacks perpetrated by Muslims in various countries. His argument was well-reasoned, but I don't agree with it. His principal argument is that using the label "radical Islam" will be interpreted as an attack on Islam per se, and will help extremists brand the U.S. as the enemy of 1.3 billion Muslim believers.

In my humble opinion, the truth is the diametric opposite. When an act of terror that's perpetrated for ideological reasons is termed simply "terror," but it's clear to everyone that it was perpetrated by a Muslim due to an extremist religious ideology, it paints all Muslims as the guilty parties. But if you say it was perpetrated by people who identify with radical Islam, you're effectively saying there's also a different kind of Islam, one that isn't radical in its ideas and actions and doesn't send murderers out to commit mass terror attacks.

Using the term "radical Islam" actually allows nonradical or antiradical Muslims - and they are the majority - to come out against such murderous acts both ideologically and practically. And in fact many do so
The writer is professor emeritus of history and Holocaust studies at Hebrew University. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Palestinian Children of Graft

Tareq Abbas, son of Mahmoud Abbas

Yasser Abbas, son of Mahmoud Abbas. 
Yasser was named after...well you know that already

Abbas' Sons Must Be Excellent Busienssmen - Clayton Swisher

Tareq Abbas, the son of the Palestinian Authority president, is said to own villas in Amman, Jordan, and a rooftop pad in Beirut, Lebanon. And according to official British Land Registry records from 2012, Tareq registered a $1.5 million luxury flat in Merchant Square East, a high-end London development. Tareq's flat has stayed largely unoccupied since he bought it, which seems to indicate that he does not need the rental income.

The president's eldest son, Yasser, made his fortune from the monopoly sale of U.S.-made cigarettes in the PA. 

Their financial blessings are merely the result of being "Grade A businessmen," Yasser once remarked.
(Al Jazeera)

Palestinians Safer than Muslims Anywhere in MidEast - Sean Durns

Bassem Eid, a veteran Palestinian Arab human rights activist,noted that the PA has received "billions in aid" from the international community, including the U.S., but the authority has "failed to create jobs for Palestinians." He called corruption among the Palestinian leadership "big and wide." "If you ask Palestinians who Abbas represents, they would say himself, 'his wife and two sons.'"

Eid added that if a Palestinian state were to come into being, the current state of Palestinian politics in Gaza and the West Bank would suggest that such a state would be repressive and undemocratic. Eid pointed out that "as a Muslim, as an Arab," he is safer in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than anywhere else in the Middle East. 

Ramallah house of Palestinian businessman Mohamed Abdel-Hadi

Anarchy Returns to the West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh

A quick chat with young Palestinians, including Fatah members, in any refugee camp in the West Bank will reveal that the PA seems as much the enemy as Israel. They speak of the PA as a corrupt and incompetent body that is managed by "mafia leaders." Many activists believe it is only a matter of time before Palestinians launch an intifada against the PA.

Hassan Abu Ayyash, a Fatah activist from the Al-Amari camp near Ramallah, said the PA leadership is "getting hundreds of millions of dollars from the international community and distributing them among themselves and their sons. Look at all the big buildings and fancy restaurants and bars in Ramallah. Where do they get all the money to purchase expensive cars?" 
(Gatestone Institute)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reflections on Orlando

Wolf Dens, Not Lone Wolves - Joseph Ax 

A Reuters review of the 90 Islamic State court cases brought by the Department of Justice since 2014 found that 3/4 of those charged were not isolated individuals but rather part of a group of 2-10 co-conspirators who met in person to discuss their plans.

Even the isolated individuals were almost always in contact with other sympathizers, whether via text message, email or networking websites. Fewer than 10 cases involved someone acting entirely alone.      

Islamic State: Inspiring Attacks Abroad - Greg Miller

In its early expansion phase, the Islamic State called on Muslims across the world to join its ranks in Syria, to take part in the historic restoration of the caliphate. Now, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in a recording issued May 21, don't bother coming to Syria because "the smallest action you do in their heartland is better and more enduring to us than what you would do if you were with us." Those inside the caliphate's borders "wish we were in your place to punish the crusaders day and night."

The devastation in Orlando represents a danger that many U.S. counterterrorism officials warn will be harder to contain than the Islamic State's aspirations for an extremist haven in the Middle East. CIA Director John Brennan told al-Arabiya just days before the shooting in Orlando, "Countries around the world are having to be concerned about the potential for individuals or groups of individuals to act on their own, without the direct contact with organized terrorists or groups." The shooting in Orlando is the deadliest example to date of the terrorism model Brennan described.

Counterterrorism experts believe that the Islamic State may only be in the early stages of demonstrating its ability to incite a kind of violence that doesn't require penetrating the post-9/11 defenses of the U.S. 
(Washington Post)

Welcome to Israel's Reality - David French

America is slowly moving into Israel's security reality - the dilemma where external power projection leads to domestic discord and international condemnation, while a purely defensive strategy allows terrorists to recruit, re-arm, and inspire a new wave of jihadists. Israel's answer is a permanent defensive struggle punctuated by periodic bursts of offensive activity - all of which help keep life in Israel livable and peaceful for the vast majority of its citizens, but at great cost.

Americans hate the notion that there are no good answers to jihad. Something has to work. But reality is showing us what a permanent struggle looks like.
Here's the bottom line - in the absence of an effective offense, our defensive challenge will grow more difficult. But because there is no way to [fully] eradicate jihadist theology from Islam, defense will always be necessary.

Welcome to the permanent war. Israel's been here for a while
(National Review)

Lessons of Orlando - Thomas L. Friedman

[W]e're just waiting around for the next Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino or Orlando.

And the only thing that can stop them is from the inside: a meaningful mass movement by Muslim governments, clergymen and citizens to delegitimize this behavior
(New York Times)

For the official ISIS video celebrating the Orlando attack, click HERE


The Media's Apologetic Coverage of Islamic Terror - Tarek Fatah

The question is this: Should we fear Islamophobia or Islamofascism?
In the meantime, a jihadist newspaper in Pakistan carried this as its front-page headline: "Afghan youth roasts 50 Americans."
[The Toronto Sun]

Orlando Shooting Shows How ISIS Calls the Shots - Robert Pape

ISIS is creating a new role for itself as the producer of terror who attracts the right cast, provides a rough draft of the script, and ensures publicity after the fact.

That Omar Mateen was able to gather the necessary tactical knowledge to carry out this complicated act of terror shows that inspired attacks can now be as deadly as directed ones, and that the online reach of ISIS is a true game changer. ISIS has found a way to bring the fight to us.
The writer is director of the University of Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism. 
(Boston Globe)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Jihad & A Disney-like Illusion

Jihad in Orlando - Editorial

A young American Muslim pledging allegiance to Islamic State is now responsible for the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. 

Can we finally drop the illusion that the jihadist fires that burn in the Middle East don't pose an urgent and deadly threat to the American homeland? The killer was heard shouting "allahu Akbar" (God is great) as he fired away.
[T]he only real solution is to destroy Islamic State in its havens abroad so young Muslims around the world won't see it as the vanguard of the future. 
(Wall Street Journal)


How Many Bodies Will it Take? - Phyllis Chesler, PhD

How many bodies will it take for Americans, especially the intelligentsia, including the feminists, including gay people, including our elected officials, before they understand that we: (the West, America, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents) have a very real enemy? It is radical Islam or Islamism, and it is not going away anytime soon.

Clearly, more than 3,000 bodies on 9/11 were not enough. Clearly, the many millions of Muslims murdered by Muslim Jihadists have not been enough. Will the murder of 49 gay Americans finally be “enough?” Somehow I doubt it but I certainly hope so.

How many deaths before we become effective in identifying potential Jihadists? Within our borders? Arriving as refugees and immigrants? How many deaths before we are willing to use the word “Muslim terrorist” without fearing we will be demonized for doing so?

The gay websites are more focused on general “hate” against gays and gun control than they are focused on the nature and the danger of radical Islam. The gay communities have been willing to march against Israel—but never against Jihad?

Long ago, Natan Sharansky asked me if I thought I could “turn the feminists, the leftists, the gays around.” I told him that I doubted it, but that I would try. Will these 49 dead and 53 wounded start that “turning?” We shall see.
[FrontPage Magazine]

Orlando Shooter Scouted Disney World in Search for Targets
- Pervaiz Shallwani

Omar Mateen had visited Walt Disney World while he was searching for targets, two officials said.  
(Wall Street Journal)

DHS Report: Don't Offend Muslims - Douglas Ernst

A report by the Homeland Security Advisory Council released days before the Islamic terror attack in Orlando, Florida, stressed the importance of combating extremism by avoiding terms that might offend Muslims.

A HSAC subcommittee first created by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in 2015 published its report on June 9.
Some instructions found in the report include:

  • Officials should not use the word “jihad.”
  • Officials should not use the word “sharia.”
  • Officials should not use the word “takfir,” which is done when one Muslim accuses another of apostasy.
  • Officials are instructed to “reject religiously-charged terminology and problematic positioning by using plain meaning American English.”
[Washington Times]
For the official ISIS video celebrating the Orlando attack, click HERE

Friday, June 10, 2016


A most significant news item is being missed by almost all news services. Saudi Arabia has condemned this week's terror attack in Tel Aviv! Headlines should be blaring: 
The ramifications of this should not be underestimated.


Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem took to the streets to celebrate the terrorist shooting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night that left four Israelis dead. Dozens of Palestinians gathered at Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, singing and cheering. In the West Bank city of Tulkarm, young men distributed candies to the local drivers, while in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem dozens of Palestinians participated in a march praising the attack. Palestinians also expressed their joy on social media networks.
In contrast, the official Saudi media strongly denounced the Tel Aviv attack. The Saudi TV channel al-Arabiya referred to the people injured in the attack as "victims," and not as "settlers," as most Arab outlets usually refer to Israelis. Dahham al-Enazi, a member of the Saudi Journalists Association, tweeted: "The Tel Aviv attack is terror and thuggery. Our solidarity and support for the Palestinian people does not mean that we accept the killing of innocents and civilians. We would like to extend our condolences to the families of the victims."  
(Jerusalem Post)

Egyptian journalist Bothaina Kamel, who tried unsuccessfully to compete in Egypt's 2011 presidential elections, condemned Wednesday's terror attack in Tel Aviv in a series of tweets.

Kamel called the action of the two Palestinian gunmen who killed four Israelis at a restaurant a crime and wrote: "What's heroic about entering a restaurant and shooting people who are dining there?"

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Warm MidEast Peace: The New Regional Order

Egyptians Begin to Envision Warmer Relations with Israel
- Ofir Winter

  • A string of statements by current and former senior Egyptian state and military officials and independent publicists have appeared recently in the Egyptian press, calling for a reassessment, under certain conditions, of the traditional reservations regarding the "temperature" of the country's relations with Israel.
  • Egypt's openness to eventual "warm" peace with Israel emerges in a new geopolitical context. Normalization is no longer presented only as bait aimed at Israel but rather reflects Egypt's genuine interests and those of other Arab countries in creating a "new regional order" that will include broader and more open cooperative efforts with Israel for the sake of security stability and economic welfare in the region.
  • "Warm" peace with Israel during the current period is actually meant to fill the vacuum left by the reduction of U.S. involvement in the region. It aims at establishing a new regional axis in which Egypt, the Gulf states, and Israel will join forces.
  • May Azzam, who published a series of articles in al-Masry al-Youm under the title "Are the Arabs Ready for Warm Peace?," noted that the Palestinian problem no longer heads the Arab public agenda; an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights is not currently a relevant prospect, in light of the war in Syria; and the "resistance" organizations of Hizbullah and Hamas are considered by some Arab states to be outcast terrorist groups.
  • According to Azzam, "most of the Arab governments already do not regard Israel as their most bitter enemy and rank other countries ahead of it on the hostility and hatred scale." She pointed to the Egyptian necessity for promoting "a turnover in the principles on which we were educated and that became part of our fundamental concepts."
  • Another columnist in al-Masry al-Youm, writing under the pseudonym "Newton," stated that after decades of living side-by-side with Israel, the time has come for Egypt to update its "operative program" to enable it to reap the fruits of peace between the two countries. In his view, the new security understandings between Egypt and Israel regarding the deployment of forces in the Sinai Peninsula have proven "the existence of mutual trust and the coordination that serves the interests of both countries."
  • (Institute for National Security Studies)


    Arab Peace Initiative Is Negotiable, Saudi Arabia and Jordan Say
    - Pinhas Inbari 

    At a meeting in Amman, Jordanian King Abdullah told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that Saudi Arabia wants to make changes in the Arab Peace Initiative so that Israel could accept it, Palestinian sources said. 
    (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Tuesday, June 07, 2016

    Exploding the Palestinian Narrative

    Who Are Palestinian Arabs? - Yoram Ettinger

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, most Arabs in British Mandate Palestine - and most of the 320,000 1948 Arab refugees - were migrant workers and descendants of 1831-1947 Muslim immigrants from across the Arab world.

    Thus, between 1880 and 1919, Haifa's Arab population surged from 6,000 to 80,000, mostly due to migrant workers.

    The eruption of World War II accelerated the demand for Arab manpower by the British Mandate's military and its civilian authorities.  Arab migrant workers were imported by the Ottoman Empire, and then by the British Mandate, to work on major civilian and military infrastructure projects.

    Legal and illegal Arab migrants were also attracted by economic growth generated by the Jewish community starting in 1882.

    Th[e] unusual Arab/Muslim demographic diversity is evidenced by popular Israeli Arab family names, which are a derivative of their countries of origin: Al-Masri (Egypt), Al-Obeidi (Sudan), Al-Lubnani (Lebanon), Halabi (Syria), Al-Mughrabi (Morocco), Al-Djazair (Algeria), Al-Yamani (Yemen), Al-Afghani (Afghanistan), Al-Hindi (India), Al-Hijazi (Saudi Arabia), Al-Baghdadi (Iraq), Bushnak (Bosnia), Khamis (Bahrain), Turki (Turkey), etc.

    Thus, Arabs have not been in the Land of Israel from time immemorial; no Palestinian people was ever robbed of its land; and most of the initial Arab refugees were created by the 1948 Arab invasion of Israel and their own collaboration with the invasion.
    [Israel Hayom]

    Thursday, June 02, 2016

    VideoBite: It's the Jihad Stupid

    One of the most poignant videos in recent memory. 
    Connects the jihad dots well. 
    - Daniel Douek 
    Top Islamic State commander in Sinai Shadi al-Menii met with Hamas officials in Gaza to discuss cooperation, Israel's Channel 2 reported.

    Al-Menii fled to Gaza in May 2015 after his organization attacked an Egyptian military base and killed a soldier.  Al-Menii's branch of ISIS in Sinai helped Hamas smuggle arms into the strip via tunnels in return for sophisticated weapons. 
    (Times of Israel)

    Dalai Lama on Refugees

    Dalai Lama: Europe Has Let In 'Too Many' Refugees -

    The Dalai Lama thinks Europe has let in "too many" refugees. The Tibetan spiritual leader said that "we feel the misery" of each individual refugee and that humans have a "responsibility to help" — but that there are "too many" who have been accepted in Europe.

    "Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country. Germany is Germany," he laughed in an interview published Tuesday with Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. "There are so many."

    The Dalai Lama said that "from a moral standpoint" he thinks refugees should "only be accommodated temporarily" — with the goal of them returning home to rebuild their countries.
    Germany took in over 1 million refugees last year from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan over the past year.
    [NBC News]

    Bernard Lewis on Iran

     To celebrate the 100th birthday of Dr. Bernard Lewis, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs posted this excellent video from 2009