Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chicago Pol Suggests Using Drones to Protect Kids on the Way to School

By Daniel Greenfield

The question of how much difference there is between Chicago and Afghanistan has just been answered. There are 35,000 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and 70,000 gang members in Chicago, who are responsible for most of the gun violence in the city.
It’s obvious. Either we pull out of Chicago, like we pulled out of Afghanistan or we start bombing Chicago.
A Chicago politician is helping show us the way to heal his troubled city. With drones.
If a Chicago alderman has his way, the city could someday see drones buzzing through the skies as part of an effort to keep students safe as they walk to school.
“We could use the help.!” Ald. George Cardenas (12th) tweeted, along with an article from The Telegraph outlining ways the remote-controlled, unmanned aerial vehicles — commonly known as drones — have been used outside of military actions.  “Why not use drones in safe passage.??”
During a follow-up phone interview, Cardenas said “there is no doubt technology is migrating from military use. … It’s going to take time to find those uses in an urban environment. It is, however, the future and I think people will want to take that leap. I think eventually we’re going to have to look at this technology.”
“Did 12th Ward Alderman @georgeacardenas just advocate that Military Drones be used on CPS safe passage routes?” tweeted Martin Ritter, a member of the Local School Council at Whitney Young High School and a Chicago Teachers Union organizer. Ritter later tweeted, “Flying tanks are not the answer.”
We won’t know until we try. If flying tanks don’t work, what about flying submarines or flying aircraft carriers. Something out there has to have enough firepower to fix Chicago.

Kicking It to Congress, Going Out for a Game

By  Kathryn Jean Lopez

Presidents playing golf don’t bother me. I figure if it helps facilitate clear thinking, go for it. But did no one question the optics here?


After That Vote

By  Andrew Stuttaford

The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson is a must-read.
Some extracts:
This is not the first time Cameron has conjured up an historic defeat from nowhere. Remember the Health Bill? The 2012 Budget? The U-turns? You could add the general election campaign, perhaps the biggest self-inflicted wound of all. The Syria vote fits a trend…
 Cameron can be forgiven for failing to win around Ed Miliband. The worse offence is misjudging the mood of his own party, wrongly thinking they’d back him…
The Cameron operation tends to spring ideas on a surprised party: the Big Society, the need for radical NHS reform, the pasty tax and gay marriage, not mentioned in its lengthy manifesto. This is because the Cameron operation itself arrives at ideas very late and seldom plans more than 48 hours in advance. Contrast this with successful health and welfare reform: agendas drawn up years in advance, carried out with radicalism but plenty explanation and helped by a coalition of supporters….
Those around Cameron hate admitting to bungling things, which is why they keep doing so. But they should be careful about blaming parliament – or, worse, the public – for this. Lord Finkelstein says in today’s Times that “the position we have taken for 75 years no longer enjoys popular support and confidence… we have woken up to a different country.” I’m not so sure. We have woken up to the same country where, not so long ago, regime change in Libya was backed by the public and Parliament (by 557 votes to 13) which was convinced by Cameron’s plan to depose a dictator. But Britain has learned, after Afghanistan and Iraq, that the case for war and what follows needs to be carefully thought-through. This one just wasn’t.
And if the Cameroons believe so fervently in Britain’s stature being affected by the ability to deploy military force, then maybe they should have thought twice before cutting the defence budget and while stuffing DFID [overseas aid] like a foie gras duck.
Meanwhile, the Davos liberals over at The Economist rage, with the magazine’s ‘Blighty’ blog attacking the British vote as “shocking” (which it was) and “shaming” (which it was not).
The penultimate paragraph of the post, condescending, supranationalist and profoundly misleading, is an almost classic example of the sort of thinking that got Cameron in the mess in which he now finds himself:
…Those who deserve the greatest opprobrium are the 30 Tory MPs who voted against their prime minister and a still larger group (including, it is said, more than one cabinet minister) who signalled only reluctant support for Mr Cameron. Increasingly, there is a tendency within the Conservative Party that takes such a narrow, Poujadist (or should that be Farageist?) view of national interest that it behaves as if Britain should cease to have any serious engagement with the outside world. It was no coincidence that some of the rebels are also among the party’s most Europhobic headbangers. They seem to care as little for the Atlantic partnership and NATO as they do for the European Union. They claim to be representing popular opinion, which is indeed weary of foreign wars and sceptical about the reasons for Britain’s involvement in them. But not even populist Tories should want foreign policy to be determined by opinion polls.
Popular consent: what a simply frightful idea…

“English Owners” Sign on Chip Shop Provokes Outrage… in England

By Daniel Greenfield

Someone has a politically correct chip on their shoulder. Apparently “English” is the only obscenity left in the new Cool Britain. Perhaps it should be referred to as the “E___” word.
A chip shop boss has insisted he’s not racist after putting up a banner boasting that the business now had ‘English owners’.
He and his wife Rachel took over the Chippy On The Green, in Hapton Road, Padiham, Lancashire less than a fortnight ago.
But the couple have already provoked a furious row with a banner across the front of the shop that reads: ‘Under new management with English owners’.
Burnley’s Lib Dem MP Gordon Birtwistle and the mayor of Padiham have both issued demands for it to be removed.
But defiant Mr Bradbury has no plans to take it down.
Paul Bradbury insists customers ‘want to know they are going to be served by somebody English’ – even though the shop had previously been run by English people of east Asian descent and of Greek descent.
And English people of possibly east Asian descent have responded in keeping with their rich English cultural heritage.
Mr Bradbury said he has received two threatening phone calls from people calling him racist.
He said: “One man called me and said he was going to pressure cooker bomb my shop. Another woman called and said she was going to put the windows through.”
Pressure cooking bombs were most recently in the news when two Americans of East Chechnyan descent expressed their Americanness by objecting to the divisive and non-inclusive nature of the Boston Marathon in the finest traditions of Americanism.
Mayor of Padiham, Coun Vincent Pridden said: ‘I don’t think it’s a very positive message to be putting out in the community. If it’s causing upset, the council should look into it.’
That’s how we do things now then.

Obama: U.S. Should Take Military Action, Will Seek Congressional Authorization

By Sterling Beard

President Barack Obama said today that he believes the United States “should take military action against Syrian regime targets.” He also announced that he would seek congressional approval for any strike.
“[H]aving made my decision as Commander in Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy,” Obama said. “I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
“That’s why I’ve made a second decison: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama said.
The president said he had spoken Saturday morning with “all four congressional leaders,” and that  they had agreed to schedule a debate and a vote as soon as Congress had come back into session.
President Obama said he was confident in the case the U.S. government has made and would not wait on UN inspectors. He also said he was ”comfortable going forward” without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, which he said had been “completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable.”

Israel furious after UK justifies Hezbollah terror

Israel filed a strong protest with the British government after the UK ambassador in Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, stated that the inclusion of Hezbollah's military wing on the European Union's list of terrorist organizations had nothing to do with Hezbollah's "resistance" against Israel. Flether made his remarks in an interview with Al-Monitor in Lebanon following the EU's decision last month to finally include the military wing of Hezbollah in its list of terror organizations, a step most Arab states had taken long ago. According to Fletcher: "The [EU] decision is not intended to harm the resistance, as clarified by [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah." The term "resistance" is a typical regional code word for terrorist activity against Israel. Jerusalem was outraged by the remarks, which it said had granted legitimacy to Hezbollah's past and future attacks targeting Israeli civilians. Israeli Ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub met with senior British government officials to personally deliver Israel's statement of protest. However, the British unceremoniously rejected the Israeli protest, insisting that "Fletcher is a very experienced ambassador, and there was no support for resistance operations against Israel in his remarks." In Jerusalem, the British response was viewed as totally unacceptable.

UKIP calls on William Hague to resign following Syria vote

Following the government's defeat in the House of Commons on intervention in Syria, UKIP calls on William Hague to resign. The Foreign Secretary has been a continued supporter of Britain intervening militarily in Syria, including the arming of anti-Assad 'rebels'. In doing so he has demonstrated how utterly out of touch he is with Parliament and public opinion and so should step down from his role as Britain's chief representative on foreign affairs.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Syria Claims Terrorists Behind WMD Attack Will Carry Out Similar Attack in Europe

By Daniel Greenfield

Obviously Assad’s propagandists have no credibility, but the reason this claim is interesting is because of the way it dovetails with the Iraqi and Turkish seizure of Al Qaeda chemical warfare facilities.
Syria’s deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday that the United States, Britain and France helped “terrorists” use chemical weapons in Syria, and that the same groups would soon use them against Europe.
Speaking to reporters outside the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, Faisal Maqdad said he had presented U.N. chemical weapons inspectors with evidence that “armed terrorist groups” had used sarin gas in all the sites of alleged attacks.
“We repeat that the terrorist groups are the ones that used (chemical weapons) with the help of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, and this has to stop,” he said. “This means these chemical weapons will soon be used by the same groups against the people of Europe,” he added.
The last paragraph has been widely taken to mean that the attacks were carried out with direct Western aid, but he may simply mean that the West is helping the groups responsible.
Back in June, Iraqi authorities claimed that they broke up an Al Qaeda plot to use Sarin domestically and against the US and Europe.
Authorities in Iraq say they have uncovered an al-Qaeda plot to use chemical weapons, as well as to smuggle them to Europe and North America.
Three workshops for manufacturing the chemical agents, including sarin and mustard gas, were uncovered, he added.
Remote-controlled toy planes were also seized at the workshops. Mr Askari said they were to have been used to release the chemical agents over the target from a “safe” distance of 1.5km (1 mile)
Al Qaeda in Iraq is basically the same group as the Al Nusra Front in Syria. Iraq is currently allied with Syria. But lending a certain amount of credibility to its claims, the Iraqi government put in a huge order for chemical weapons gear suggesting that they are expecting to have to fight a civil war with chemical weapons. That would fit nicely with Al Qaeda in Iraq’s plans.
While I would normally dismiss 80% of Syrian government propaganda, in this case it is plausible that Al Qaeda has Sarin and has used it and is planning to deploy it eventually against Western targets as well.
That doesn’t mean that Assad didn’t also use chemical weapons. It’s quite possible and even probable that he did. But he was using them within the context of a civil war in which both sides were using them.
That’s the kind of war Iraq is preparing for. That’s the kind of war Syria is already in. We may want to pay attention because before too long, it may be the kind of civil war that Europe is in.

Britain must keep out of this grisly Syrian conflict

When British forces first waged war against the Taliban regime and its Al Qaeda allies in Afghanistan as part of a huge international coalition at the end of 2001, it was with overwhelming public support. When British forces took part in the Iraq war, public opinion was more evenly split with a small majority opposing intervention, believing the case for it was less than compelling. Today public opposition to British military assets being used in the proposed bombing of the Assad regime in Syria is overwhelming. An opinion poll carried out for this newspaper’s website finds that only eight per cent of people would back British military action on the basis of evidence that the forces of President Bashar Al Assad are the most likely culprits behind the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. A further 39 per cent would back military action only if the United Nations approved it and there is no prospect of that. And some 41 per cent say they would not back British military intervention in the Syrian conflict under any circumstances. The weight of letters to this newspaper tells us that our readers are overwhelmingly in this latter category. The Prime Minister yesterday said he wished to build a consensus for military action. That is a vain hope indeed. No level of political eloquence will sell this idea to the British people because the reasons not to intervene are much stronger than those to do so. What if Assad reacts to bombing raids by escalating his alleged use of chemical weapons rather than halting it? Do we then get drawn into a full scale invasion in order to be seen to be bringing him to heel? On the other hand, what possible advantage can there be for Britain if the proposed bombing raids do weaken his regime and allow the Al Qaeda-dominated forces of the rebellion to gain the upper hand? What if bigger powers are drawn into the conflict, such as the regional superpower Iran which has close ties to Assad? What if Russia wades in on the opposite side to America and its allies? Won’t unleashing yet more bombs over Syria simply succeed in killing more people and further extend a conflict that has already been raging for two years? None of these questions has been satisfactorily answered and cumulatively they amount to a compelling case for Britain staying out of yet another conflict in this tinderbox region. More than enough British blood has been spilled in these benighted lands already.

Gavrilo Princip Speaks: 1916 Conversations with Martin Pappenheim

By Carl Savich

Gavrilo Princip. Who was he? A terrorist? A hero? A murderer? A freedom fighter? A nationalist? An anarchist? A democrat? A revolutionary? A martyr? It all depends on who you ask and when you asked the question. There has never been unanimous agreement or a consensus. Moreover, the image or perception of Gavrilo Princip has evolved and changed over time. How one regarded or assessed Gavrilo Princip was a function of self-interest and whether or not he advanced a particular agenda. Is it possible to have a transcendent and objective evaluation of who he was and what his role in history was? Will that historical assessment always depend on one’s own self-interested motives and agendas?
Gavrilo Princip has been described as “the antichrist”. Gavrilo Princip was also labeled as “a Bosnian student”, “a Bosnian youth”, a “Bosnian Serb”, a “Bosnian”, a “Serbian nationalist”, a “19-year-old Serb nationalist”, a “Serbian teenager”, a “revolutionary”, a “national hero”, a “romantic teenage nationalist”, “an idealist”, “the liberator of the Slav people”, a “criminal terrorist”, a “national icon”, a “Jew”, a “Freemason”, an “anarchist”, a “socialist”, an agent of the Serbian government, an agent of the Black Hand, an agent of Serbian Intelligence, an agent of British Intelligence, an agent of the Freemasons, and agent of the Jews.
What did Gavrilo Princip himself think and say? In a series of conversations with Martin Pappenheim in 1916, he revealed his motives and explained his actions.

French the Only People Who Still Support a Syrian War

By Daniel Greenfield

In most places the popularity of the Syrian War hovers somewhere between the black plague and a Biden presidency. In the US and UK, sizable margins of citizens oppose any involvement.
David Cameron became the first Prime Minister since the American Revolution to lose a parliamentary war vote. (BBC blames the Iraq example, maybe they should blame the Revolution example.)
The UK is now out of the war running. Germany isn’t interested. Neither are Germans. And when even the Germans don’t want to invade, who could possibly by left?
The French who support fighting in Syria to the last American
President Hollande of France said that the vote by the UK Parliament would not affect France’s will to act.
He supported “firm” punitive action over an attack which had caused “irreparable” harm to the Syrian people. When asked if France could act against Syria without Britain he said: “Yes. Each country is sovereign to participate or not.”
Although there is no public enthusiasm for military action against Syria, the polls in France are interesting. Somewhere between 45% and 55% of the French people favour punishing Assad.
The strongest opponents of military action are the far right. The Socialists are the most enthusiastic supporters
45 to 55 percent is not exactly sky high, but it is compared to the US and UK numbers. And the Socialists get to distract France from Hollande’s economic ineptness with another war.

British MP to Jerusalem Post: Parliament rejecting Syria vote a 'total shock'

Colonel Bob Stewart MP, a member of British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party, expressed "total shock" to The Jerusalem Post on Friday at a House of Commons vote that rejected a motion holding Syrian President Bashar Assad accountable for the mass use of chemical weapons on August 21 in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. "This was not a motion to take us to war. This was a motion to condemn the Assad regime, and we've rejected it," Stewart said. "What signal does that send to the world?" Reading the language of the bill, Stewart acknowledged that a paragraph in the motion said that Assad's use of chemicals "may" lead to military action, but only after the UK government had made a genuine effort at forging unanimity on Syria in the Security Council of the United Nations, and after then holding a second Parliament vote on the use of force, the bill read. "That, to me, was quite a long-winded bag of measures, but the House of Commons rejected it," Stewart said. Stewart, a former Royal Army officer trained on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, asserted that widely available evidence pointed to an attack in Ghouta perpetrated by organized armed forces, which the Syrian rebels are not. He said his training gave him "98 percent" certainty, even without access to classified intelligence material. But the specter of Iraq "loomed large" over MPs, Stewart admitted, many still scarred from voting in the affirmative to invade that country in 2003 based on false intelligence. "Fundamentally, the Conservative Party are very sad today, and this is a blow to David Cameron. But more importantly, this is a blow to Britain's international prestige," Stewart said. "The idea that the United States may take action, and the French are a part and the Germans are in support, begs the question of where we stand." After the vote, opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband on Friday called Cameron's push to war "cavalier and reckless," and commended MPs for voting against the motion. He accused Cameron of attempting to "bypass the United Nations" as its team of inspectors completed work on the ground near Damascus, gathering evidence on the alleged chemical attack that killed over a thousand civilians.

Germany will not take part in Syria attack

Germany will not take part in a military strike in Syria after an apparent deadly poison gas attack, the Foreign Minister has said.Guido Westerwelle told Saturday's Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that such a move had "neither been asked nor is it being considered by us", according to pre-released comments by the paper. "We are pushing for the United Nations Security Council to find a common position and for the work of UN inspectors to be finished as quickly as possible," he added. Berlin had previously said it would support "consequences" against President Bashar al-Assad's regime if its suspected deadly use of chemical weapons was confirmed, but had not specified what such consequences would be. On Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for the UN Security Council to study a report by UN experts on the alleged chemical attack outside Damascus, the Kremlin said. Hundreds of people died in the attack. This came after US President Barack Obama spoke with Merkel on the phone, and plans for multilateral military action against Damascus were been dealt a blow by the British Parliament. British MPs voted against military action on Thursday night, facing down Prime Minister David Cameron, and forcing Obama to decide whether to go in alone, find new allies or scrap plans for an attack.

The British Aren’t Coming

The New York Daily News’ front page this morning:


Pink Floyd's Roger Waters facing boycott in Germany over 'anti-Semitic' inflatable pig

Dusseldorf’s Jewish community is pushing for a boycott of a Roger Waters concert in their city.
Waters, the 69-year-old co-founder of the classic rock group Pink Floyd, has been widely criticized for his anti-Israel activities. At a concert in Brussels in July, Waters floated a giant pig balloon emblazoned with a Star of David, among other symbols. Waters has also called on musicians to boycott Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper called Waters “an open hater of Jews.” And the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman, in an open letter to Waters earlier this month, said his “views on Israel are in fact colored by offensive and dangerous undercurrents of anti-Jewish sentiment.”
According to German news reports, the Dusseldorf community is calling for a boycott of the concerts scheduled for Sept. 4 in Berlin and Sept. 6 in Dusseldorf.
Michael Szentei-Heise, the Dusseldorf community’s general manager, was cited in Der Spiegel as calling Waters “a spiritual arsonist who should not be given a forum in our city.” He said the stage set was reminiscent of  Nazi Party rallies and propaganda. It would be “scary if tens of thousands attend this event and celebrate, dance and applaud to Roger Waters’ music despite the anti-Semitic and Nazi symbolism.”
Waters has told reporters that he uses numerous symbols on his set, and that he has many Jewish friends and even some family members. His sole concern is to protest war and fascism, he says. Earlier this month Waters drew some 28,000 fans to his Frankfurt concert.
Not long afterwards, Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli demanded that Waters remove her image from video art displayed at his shows. According to the Telegraph, she tweeted in Hebrew: “If you’re boycotting, go all the way.”
Frankfurt-based pro-Israel activist Sacha Stawski, in publicizing the Dusseldorf  protest via e-mail,  praised the community for taking a stand and suggested that Berlin Jews do the same, particularly given the venue. Waters is slated to play the huge Olympic stadium, which “is particularly reminiscent of the Third Reich party rallies.”
“One hopes,” Stawski wrote, “that there would be protests coming from Berlin, too, and maybe even charges filed [against Waters] for incitement of hate, because that’s exactly what’s going on here.”

Terrible Days are Coming Upon Europe

Europe is passive as it goes down and lower down once again.

By Giulio Meotti

Only negativity is unleashing in the spiritual sky of Europe.
In some European countries, such as Greece, Hungary and Ukraine, anti-Semites are already serving openly in parliaments. In Italy, one of the lawmaker of the Five Stars movement, the country's biggest party, Paolo Bernini, just called Zionism "a plague", not so much different from Iran's Rouhani rethoric.
Just as 14th-century Christians once held the Jews responsible for the epidemic Black Death, the Israelis are now blamed by the Europeans for all the ills of today's world.
Anti-Semitism in Europe has become a spiritual disease which is growing like a cancer, like the HIV virus which ultimately destroys the body.
Anti-Semitism in the United States is mere racism; in Europe it is more than intolerance, it is a religious disease, infectious and massively destructive.
After the Second World War, anti-Jewish contempt in Europe was confined to neo-Nazi hooligans. Now it resists any rational exorcism and it is hegemonic in public opinion. Europe is again approaching, as many prefer to avert their eyes, the paroxysm of Jew-hatred that plunged the continent into its XX century abyss.
It is quite clear that incitement against Jews in Europe has crossed the danger lines. Resurrecting the blood libels of the Middle Ages, pamphlets accuse Jews of murdering Arab children. Jewish cemeteries are routinely desecrated, tombstones daubed with swastikas and pro-Islam slogans. Jewish schoolchildren are abused, assaulted, robbed and beaten by hooligans, and Jewish women are afraid to go out alone even in their own neighborhood.
Only the deliberately callous or the hopelessly naive would deny that there is an atmosphere of complacency where horrible things are going to happen.
But brutal, vulgar blood libels and street assaults may actually be the lesser danger. The greater one is that a continent which stood by in such cowardly fashion under Nazism is allowing anti-Semitism to regain respectability in the very core of its institutions in the form of Islamopholic cosmopolitanism.
And what is most frightening is that Europe's nations are disintegrating socially along with it Their spiritual essence is lost in favor of relativism and multiculturalism. Hatred and anti-Semitism always explode when a nation shows a derisory survival instinct and it is pervaded by illogic and inconsistency.
Seventy years ago, one of Europe's greatest writers, the Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig, committed suicide after watching the European culture he worshiped devour itself in World War II.
A year and a half before that, Walter Benjamin, then Europe's most important Jewish intellectual, had killed himself with a morphine overdose as he tried to flee the Gestapo.
Benjamin's friend, Arthur Koestler, also attempted suicide.
There is the same, poisonous atmosphere in Europe today. And like during Zweig and Benjamin days, Europe is both the executioner and the victim.
Terrible thing are going to happen here in Europe. A horizontal feeling of desperation is ravaging the continent.
The last sounds of pride come from the muezzin's lament. The rest of us live in a cold, nostalgic and pusillanimous comfort.

France: A "Secularism Charter" in Every School

 By Soeren Kern
"Nothing could be worse than posting a secularism charter on the wall and then the students see around them that what actually happens in school life is the exact opposite of what we tell them." — Philippe Tournier, Secretary General, French Teachers Union
The French government has announced a plan to post a "secularism charter" in all public schools in France by the end of September.
The document -- which is to appear in a prominent location in all of the 55,000 public schools in France -- would serve to remind students and teachers of a list of secular principles underpinning the separation of mosque and state.
Although the initiative has enjoyed a generally positive reception, many observers are saying they doubt the Socialist government of French President François Hollande will have the political willpower actually to enforce secular principles in French schools -- with or without a charter.
This skepticism stems from the fact that Muslim children constitute an increasingly large proportion of the 10 million students in the French public school system -- and because Muslim parents make up an increasingly important voting bloc in French politics. Muslims, in fact, cast the deciding vote that thrust Hollande into the Elysée Palace in May 2012.
French Education Minister Vincent Peillon, who announced the plan in an interview with the French daily newspaper L'Est Républicain on August 26, said, "Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not to dispute lessons or to skip classes [for religious reasons]. The charter will be a reminder of [secular] principles. It will be posted in all schools in late September. The law provides for a moral and civic education that promotes freedom from judgment, the capacity to emancipate, and rights and duties. I want to see the return of those values of the [French] Republic in schools in 2013."
Although the final content of the charter will not be made public until the middle of September, a draft of the list which contains a total of 17 paragraphs has been circulating since July 11.
The first section of the draft list is entitled "The Republic is Secular," and consists of six rather straightforward paragraphs that mostly echo the French Constitution. Paragraph 2 of the draft, for example, states that, "France is a republic that is indivisible, secular, democratic and social. It ensures equality before the law, on the whole of its territory, for all citizens. It respects all creeds."
According to Paragraph 3, "The secular Republic is based upon the separation of religion and state. The state is neutral with regard to religious or spiritual beliefs. There is no state religion." Paragraph 4 states that "Secularism guarantees freedom of conscience for all. Everyone is free to believe or not to believe. It allows the free expression of his beliefs, respecting those of others within the limits of public order." And so on.
The second section of the list, entitled "The School is Secular," changes tack by directly confronting Muslim students who take to disrupting classes whenever they do not agree with their teachers on certain subjects.
Paragraph 14 states: "Lessons are secular. To ensure that students are as objectively open as possible to the diversity of worldviews as well as to the extent and accuracy of knowledge, no subject is a priori excluded from scientific and educational inquiry."
According to Paragraph 15, "No student may invoke religious or political convictions to challenge and/or to prevent a teacher from teaching certain parts of the curriculum." Paragraph 16 states that "the wearing of conspicuous symbols or dress by pupils as relates to their religious affiliation is prohibited in public schools."
The draft charter also states that "the secular school offers students the conditions to forge their own personality, exercise their free will and learn about citizenship. It protects them from proselytizing and from any pressure that prevents them from making their own choices."
Reactions to the announcement have been mixed, with some questioning if or how the measure will be enforced.
The Secretary General of the French Teachers Union, Philippe Tournier, told Radio Europe 1 that while he welcomed the secularism charter in principle, he worried about its implementation. "The intentions are quite positive, but the essential thing still remains: putting into force what [the charter] affirms," he said. "Nothing could be worse than posting a secularism charter on the wall, and then the students see around them that what actually happens in school life is the exact opposite of what we tell them."
A teacher named Yvon from the town of Les Mureaux in north-central France, who was also interviewed by Radio Europe 1 , said he hoped the measure was not just a political gimmick. "If it is a charter posted on the wall, teachers must be encouraged to enforce it in their daily classes," he said.
Peillon's predecessor as Education Minister, Luc-Marie Chatel , from the main opposition party in France, the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), expressed his tentative support for the charter: "I think it is a good idea. Any time we can give children a point of reference as to what the French Republic is, and what our values are, that is a good thing."
But UMP Chairwoman Michèle Tabarot accused the Hollande government of "lacking determination" when it comes to enforcing the separation of mosque and state.
In a statement, Tabarot said the "the reality is that in recent years, the Left has singularly lacked courage in the difficult fight to defend secularism. This is demonstrated by the fact that the current majority [in parliament] refused to pass the law banning the wearing of full face veils in public places when it was in opposition."
Tabarot was referring to the burqa ban, which was approved by the French Parliament in July 2010, even though most members of the opposition (Socialists, Communists and Greens) voted against the measure.
According to Tabarot, "Recently, the government has also refused to legislate a ban on wearing conspicuous signs in private nurseries. Once again, the French can therefore only see the intolerable gap between the words and deeds of the governing majority."
This is the second time in recent months that Peillon has courted controversy with a plan to reinforce secular values in French schools.
In April, Peillon announced a project for students in primary and secondary schools to debate "secular morality" [morale laïque] for one hour every week beginning in September 2015.
Peillon's original plan was for the subject to be taught as a separate subject with dedicated teachers. But after a wave of opposition from teachers, the plan was watered down, and discussion of secular values will now take the form of debates rather than formal teaching. Teachers will be given special training on how to lead debates on issues in which Islam takes a different position, and students will be evaluated individually based on their knowledge and behavior.
The debate over secularism in France has continued throughout 2013:
In August, the High Council of Integration [HCI], a government-funded research institute, recommended that the wearing of religious symbols -- such as crucifixes, Jewish skullcaps and Muslim headscarves -- should be banned in French universities to ease the "escalating religious tensions in all areas of university life."
In a 54-page report (PDF here), HCI says its research has shown that some universities have experienced problems from demands to be "excused from attendance for religious reasons... for separation of the sexes in lectures and seminars, instances of proselytizing, disagreements over the curriculum, and the wearing of religious clothes and symbols."
A law passed in 2004 prohibits the wearing or open display of religious symbols in all French schools and colleges, but does not apply to universities.
In January, a 24-year-old Tunisian student at the University of Nantes in western France was asked by her professor to remove her hijab when she arrived for class. After she refused, the professor asked her to leave the lecture. The student went immediately to complain to officials in the Faculty of Sciences; the professor was forced to apologize to the student.
In July, hundreds of Muslims in Paris went on a rioting spree to protest the enforcement of the burqa ban after police checked the identity of a Muslim woman who was illegally wearing a full-face Islamic veil in public. A similar outbreak of unrest occurred in June, when police stopped a 25-year-old woman for wearing a veil in Argenteuil, a suburb 12 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of Paris.
In March, a school in the town of Arveyres in south-western France said it would no longer offer a meat alternative to students who do not eat pork. According to French television TF1, 28 of the 180 children attending the school used to be offered a substitute meat when pork was on the menu.
The mayor of Arveyres, Benoît Gheysens, said the move was taken because of the cost of providing alternative meals, many of which went to waste. "Often children who did not take the substitute dinner complained and did not eat the pork. It distressed the staff to see how much food was wasted," Gheysens said. Muslim parents were enraged by the decision, and some responded by vandalizing Gheysens' car and harassing him after hours at his home.
Also in March, an appeals court in Paris overturned the sacking of a nursery school teacher for refusing to take off her Muslim headscarf at work. The landmark ruling involved Fatima Afif, a nursery assistant who was fired in 2008 by Baby Loup, a privately-run daycare center in Yvelines, a suburb of Paris.
Baby Loup has rules requiring its staff to maintain "philosophical, political and denominational neutrality" at work. But the court ruled that because the nursery is a private establishment, and it was not an "urgent professional necessity" that Afif remove her veil, the French "principle of secularism does not apply." According to the court, the principle cannot be invoked to deny "employees of private companies that do not perform a public service...the protections guaranteed them under the work code."
According to Eric Rocheblave, an employment lawyer interviewed by the weekly magazine L'Express on March 19, "This ruling is unheard of. It is the first time that the Court de cassation [the highest appeals court in France] has made a judgment on wearing the veil in a company. Therefore, it is a major decision in the context of French legal precedent and jurisprudence. The decision means that now, an employer can only restrict an employee's religious freedom if the practical functions of the job make it necessary."
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls condemned the court's decision, saying, "this puts secularism in France in doubt." UMP Deputy Eric Ciotti told French Television TF1 that the court's decision was "a severe blow against secularism" and a victory for "the claims of ethnic groups, to the detriment of republican values."
The former head of the official Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Jeanette Bougrab, told Radio Europe 1 that "This is a dark day for secularism in France…It is like a feeling of mourning. My republic is dying."

While the Syria operation may be dead, so indeed is Washington

By Richard Fernandez

It’s over for President Obama’s plan to launch a “limited but decisive” strike on Syria. The Washington Post reports, “Prime Minister David Cameron lost a preliminary vote in Parliament late Thursday on intervention in Syria. … The British parliamentary vote marked a stunning defeat for Cameron’s government.”
The Wall Street Journal explains, “Thursday evening’s vote was nonbinding, but in practice the rejection of military strikes means Mr. Cameron’s hands are tied. In a terse statement to Parliament, Mr. Cameron said it was clear to him that the British people did not want to see military action.”
This followed the rejection in the UN Security Council of a resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria; there is no hope that it will ever be passed. “After the council fell short of reaching an agreement, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in Washington that the U.S. sees ‘no avenue forward’ given Russia’s past opposition to action by the council on Syria.”
The Obama administration was prepared to go forward without NATO approval either, a sign that it believed support in those quarters was scant as well. Defense One reported that “with its military ready to attack Syria on President Obama’s command, the United States is no longer pursuing a United Nations or NATO stamp of approval to respond with force to the purported deployment of chemical weapons.”
Neither has Obama secured the consent of Congress for his planned operation. Speaker John Boehner wrote to the president, saying: “I have conferred with the chairmen of the national security committees who have received initial outreach from senior Administration officials, and while the outreach has been appreciated, it is apparent from the questions above that the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation.” Boehner wrote:
I respectfully request that you, as our country’s commander-in-chief, personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America’s credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy. In addition, it is essential you address on what basis any use of force would be legally justified and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution.
Jack Goldsmith, the Henry L. Shattuck Professor at Harvard Law School, examines the legal authority under which presidents can order a military action without the authorization of Congress. He noted that the previous presidents invoked treaty obligations and national interest considerations notably absent in this case.

What is the important national interest in intervening in Syria? No U.S. persons or property are at stake. That fact alone distinguishes most executive branch precedents. In the Libya opinion, OLC argued that the “credibility and effectiveness” of a Security Council Resolution gives rise to an important national security interest. This is a stretch considered by itself – but in any event, there is no Security Council resolution for Syria. Nor can OLC even invoke the “credibility and effectiveness” of a regional organization in which the USG participates (such as NATO, in Kosovo) as giving rise to an important interest that would justify the President’s use of military force. That leaves the weakest of all interests: preservation of “regional stability” and maintenance of “peace and stability.” These interests will of course always be present when the President is considering intervention, and thus by themselves are no limit on presidential power at all. Such interests were invoked in Libya and in earlier OLC opinions, but they were always invoked in connection with other factors (such as the consent of the nation in question) or other interests (such as the protection of U.S. persons or property, or the preservation of the U.N. Charter or a regional security treaty commitment), and never as sufficient by themselves.
Now, with Britain out of the operation, Obama faces the prospect of going into Syria almost literally alone, without the UN, NATO, Congress, or even the UK to back him up. Two courses are now open to him. He can climb down as best he can and pretend he’s changed his mind or he can go forward risking a wider war for nothing. As Andy Borowitz of The New Yorker said in a satirical piece, Obama has tried to mollify the antiwar left by promising the Syria strike “would have no objective.” It would just be a couple of days worth of random drive-by shooting without strategic content and therefore moral.
Yet a climbdown would represent a public and devastating humiliation of the man who once believe he bestrode the world. It would also represent a huge propaganda victory for Assad.
The alternative would be for Obama to double down and order an attack on his own authority despite having, as Professor Goldsmith noted, no apparent legal leg to stand on. He would risk starting a wider war that he doesn’t even want to win, and possibly illegally to boot.
Whichever way it goes, Obama’s plan for a “limited but decisive” attack on Assad is probably over. George Will advised the president to quit talking himself into trouble. “The administration now would do well to do something that the head of it has an irresistible urge not to do: Stop talking. If a fourth military intervention is coming, it will not be to decisively alter events, which we cannot do, in a nation vital to U.S. interests, which Syria is not. Rather, its purpose will be to rescue Obama from his words.”
The bigger question is whether Obama himself is now over. There was a brief scare yesterday following reports that the Egyptian government was planning to close the Suez Canal to U.S. warships, in the event the Truman battle group passed through. That is what things have come to.  But the narrative was prepared for hard and heavy tidings. Michael O’Hanlon wrote a possibly prophylactic piece in the Washington Post asking, ”Who needs the Suez Canal?” This follows earlier pieces that said, “Who needs Egypt?”
Yet how long before everyone starts to ask themselves a more fundamental question: who needs Obama? It is too early to tell how damaged he has become with this, his latest debacle. But it is not inconceivable that the British rejection will mark the end — or the beginning of the end — of Barack Obama’s presidency.
The most disturbing aspect of the Syria episode was that it wasn’t Boehner’s token resistance but the cumulative refusal of other sovereigns to go along that derailed the plan. Washington left to its own devices would have failed; it would have walked off the cliff. But reality worked, which is a bad sign really, since the Constitution is supposed to trap exceptions like this before they become actual physical problems.
It was the cumulative strategic effect of Obama’s blunders that provided an almost palpable pushback. That can’t hide the fact that the error handlers didn’t work. Congress was supine. The media was complicit to the end; and it required an actual debacle — a system crash — to alert the somnolent administrators to the problem. An E-bomb had to go off right in front of them to shake them awake. That is a huge worry because it suggests that while the Syria operation may be dead, so indeed is Washington.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

‘If Assad Falls, Al-Qaeda Rises’ - Mideast expert: If America intervenes in Syria – God protect us

If the United States and other Western nations intervene in Syria, Israel will pay a heavy price – not because of immediate retaliation, but because of the nature of Middle East politics, an expert on Mideast affairs has warned.
“Bashar Assad made a huge mistake when he used chemical weapons… But on the other hand, if the West strikes him, G-d protect us,” Dr. David Bukay of Haifa University told Arutz Sheva.
“If the Sunni opposition defeats him, that means that next to us, on the Syrian border, will be Al-Qaeda loyalists,” he warned.
“We had 40 years of quiet. The Alawite Assad regime was wonderful,” he continued. “The Al-Qaeda alternative would be a disaster.”
Bukay, who has written on fundamentalist Islam and Arab political culture, told Arutz Sheva that attempts to overturn authoritarian leaders will, in many cases, just lead to violence.
“Everyone there [in Syria] is murdering everyone, it’s a terrible tragedy. But that’s exactly the nature of Islamist political culture… they reach a positive place only when there is a strong leader who can hit them on the head,” he argued. “Arab rulers have to use violence, because without violence, they cannot rule.”
Assad has warned the West that by supporting his opponents, it supports Al-Qaeda. "The West has paid heavily for funding Al-Qaeda in its early stages. Today it is doing the same in Syria, Libya and other places, and will pay a heavy price in the heart of Europe and the United States,” he told the state television channel Al-Ikhbariya.
Analyst Mark Langfan is among those who have questioned the argument that Assad is better than Al-Qaeda. In a recent op-ed for Arutz Sheva, Langfan noted that Assad himself assisted Al-Qaeda terrorists in the years before the rebellion in his country.
For now, Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria are firmly against Assad, and have even vowed revenge on the entire Alawite community for Assad’s actions.
Islamist rebel groups have also targeted Syria’s Kurdish minority, and have enraged moderate Syrians with actions such as the murder of a teenager for “blasphemy.”


Report: Hezbollah Declares State of Alert, Mobilizing Troops in Southern Lebanon

By Joshua Levitt

Lebanon based terror group Hezbollah declared a state of alert on Thursday and began deploying troops to the country’s south, as the possibility of a U.S.-led strike on Syria was publicly weighed, website NOW Lebanon reported, quoting party sources.
NOW Lebanon’s sources within the Shiite party said its leadership is meeting to discuss “the nature and results of such a strike” and “all options regarding the manner of dealing with the potential attack,” while the party coordinates with its allies in Iran, Syria and Russia.
Iran, Hezbollah’s top ally, has issued implicit threats and warnings over a potential strike against Syria, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying on Wednesday that any “U.S. intervention will be a disaster for the region. The region is like a gunpowder depot. [Its] future cannot be predicted,” NOW Lebanon reported.
The Hezbollah mobilization comes as the U.S. and its allies plot a response to the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, crossing a “red line” set by U.S. President Barack Obama. However, Obama, in an interview with PBS on Wednesday, said that he has not yet made a decision about an attack on Syria. Meanwhile, the U.S. continued to position military assets in the Eastern Mediterranean, preparing for the potential strike.

SWC: Obama Administration Should Declare, ‘An Attack on Israel Will be Treated as an Attack Against U.S.’

Iran Revolutionary Guards Chief: “Israel will be destroyed if Syria is attacked”

As the world awaits US-led action against the Bashir Assad regime's deploying poison gas on its own citizens, Iranian leaders have escalated their threats of deadly attacks against the Jewish state. According to the state-sponsored Iranian Tasnim News, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Chief, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, (pictured with Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran) threatened that a war in Syria, “will result in the imminent destruction of the Zionist regime of Israel."

"As the civilized world prepares to take action against Bashar Assad, the Iranian regime is desperately attempting to rally support in the Arab world for a Syrian regime guilty of crimes against humanity against its own people, by ramping up its threats against Israel, a country that has no involvement in the current civil war in Syria," charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO.

"While we are certain that Israel can defend herself against all enemies, the specter of Israeli citizens lining up for gas masks on the eve of the Jewish New Year is proof enough that Jerusalem has to take all threats, including those from Damascus and its chief ally and partner in the brutal civil war, Iran, very seriously."

"We call on the Obama Administration to declare that an attack on Israel will be treated as an attack against the US, and to ratchet up Washington’s efforts to thwart Tehran's headlong rush to nuclearization," Hier and Cooper concluded.

Last week the Wiesenthal Center urged the US and NATO to destroy or remove Syria’s entire massive arsenal of chemical weapons.

Merkel warms to Syria action, Germans say no

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that Merkel viewed an international response to the gas attack as inevitable. “The gas attack is a turning point in the already lengthy internal conflict,” he said. “The Syrian government cannot hope to continue this kind of illegal warfare and go unpunished.” But later on Thursday Merkel and Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for the UN Security Council to study a report by UN experts on the alleged chemical attack outside Damascus, the Kremlin said. In Berlin, Seibert confirmed the telephone conversation, saying Putin and Merkel agreed that the "conflict can only be resolved politically". The German chancellor "emphasised that the inhumane poison gas attack against Syrian civilians requires an international reaction," Seibert added. The conversation comes as Russia is expected to veto any attempts to win UN Security Council backing for Western-led military action against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad over last week's attack, which activists say killed hundreds of people. Seibert said that Merkel, who will fight for a third term in elections on September 22nd, had told Putin that discussions at the UN Security Council should lead to a "unanimous and quick international reaction". Meanwhile, a poll released on Thursday showed that most Germans would oppose military action by the West in Syria. Fifty-eight percent of those asked said they would reject a military response, while 33 percent said they would back it, according to the survey for ZDF public television which said nine percent were undecided. If military action led by the United States did go ahead, 41 percent said they believed Germany should contribute financially and with equipment, compared to 55 percent who disagreed. The phone survey was carried out from Monday to Wednesday among 1,348 people. With the debate over whether the West should intervene in Syria intensifying, Merkel spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron on the phone on Wednesday night, while Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière spoke with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel. But with the USA, UK and France reportedly preparing for a military strike against Syria, the German government would not be drawn on what, if any, role it would play. Merkel has continually stressed that she wants to see a political resolution to the conflict and is cautious of involving Germany’s armed forces in any military action. Britain moved to introduce a discussion on the matter at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday but a meeting ended without touching the subject. Referring to Merkel's conversation with Cameron, Seibert said: "Both hope that no member of the United Nations Security Council will close their eyes to this crime against humanity." He said they both saw the "extensive use of poison gas against the Syrian civilian population" as proven, although UN inspectors have not yet reported on their work.

South African Anti-Israel BDS Protesters Sing “Shoot the Jew” instead of “Shoot the Boer”

By Daniel Greenfield

We’ve discussed “Shoot the Boer” before. It’s one of those cheerful anti-Apartheid songs about shooting white people. Now it’s been narrowed down in its specificity by the BDS pro-terrorist crowd.
A concert at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa featuring Israeli saxophonist Daniel Zamir turned ugly Wednesday night when members of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group began to sing, “dubula e juda” (“shoot the Jew”) as concert attendees were entering the music hall, according to Wits Vuvuzela, a paper affiliated with the university.
Wits Vuvuzela, reported that BDS protestors also chanted “there is no such thing as Israel” and “Israel apartheid.”
Despite the hateful rhetoric, Muhammed Desai, coordinator of BDS South Africa, rejected the notion that anti-Semitism played a role in the group’s protest, telling Wits Vuvuzela that “the whole idea [of] anti-Semitism is blown out of proportion.”
Clearly. I’m not sure what the right proportion for inciting the murder of Jews would be. Based on what most supporters of terrorism think, any criticism of that sort of thing is out of proportion.

Only eight per cent of Britons want urgent strikes on Syria, new poll reveals

Britons are overwhelmingly against an immediate missile strike on Syria, an exclusive Express Online poll reveals, with only eight per cent of the public backing such action.The poll results, which come as MPs begin their historic Commons debate on military action, show 80 per cent of people are against David Cameron launching an immediate attack, while 12 per cent are undecided. A significant 41 per cent of people are against action by Britain in any circumstances, while 39 per cent would only agree with a launch if the UN confirms chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian regime and then sanctions a strike. The results are a blow to David Cameron who has been arguing for intervention amid a growing chorus of MPs urging caution following the lessons of the Iraq war 10 years ago. The Prime Minister believes the use of chemical weapons in Damascus last week, which the UK and US argue was ordered by Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, represents a breach of international law.

Where's the anti-war left?

By Rick Moran

President Obama is about to start his third war, and the anti-war crowd is nowhere to be seen.

The problem? The bad economy has caused donations to dry up and besides, no one cares now that a Democrat sits in the White House.


Some activists argue that it's mostly an issue of money and membership, and not an indication that the left supports Syria intervention.
"Among the long-standing peace and disarmament groups that we work with, everybody is angry and pissed about what seems to be an imminent attack," said Kevin Martin, the executive director of Peace Action. "Public opinion is not supporting it either. But you're not going to see hundreds of thousands of people in the street."
"I don't think me or Medea or anyone else should be defensive about that," Martin said. "We don't push a button and get hundreds of thousands of people in the streets."
Martin blamed the anemic response among peace groups to Syria on the economy, noting that all nonprofits are struggling -- not just protest groups.
Plus, Martin said, the energy on the left has been focused on drones and civil liberties, which "doesn't rise to the level of an obviously unjust war where hundreds of thousands of people are being killed because of a belligerent president."
Though Benjamin and Martin both say the fact that Obama is a Democrat is not to blame, other antiwar stalwarts suspect the energy fizzled out when a Republican antagonist was no longer in office.
"The Democrats are missing in action because of course the president is a Democrat," said David Swanson, a longtime antiwar activist and author of War Is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War, who works with Roots Action, a progressive nonprofit. "That's the biggest factor, I think. What's tamping down the activism is partisanship."
"This started in 2007 when it was time to focus on electing a Democratic president and the Democrats forgot about the wars," Swanson said. "We've been struggling ever since to get back to where we were in 2006."
Swanson also blamed the apathy on the left on a belief that intervening in Syria is a humanitarian mission, whereas with Iraq the sales pitch was defense-related.
"The war in Syria is incredibly unpopular according to the polls, but there are some who support it because they believe it's philanthropy," he said.

At least one activist was honest about it. But what about those leftists who are supporting Obama because they think it's "philanthropy"?

Yes, I suppose one could say that helping al-Qaeda is a worthy philanthropic venture. But more importantly, it points up the ridiculous posturing on the left when it comes to the US taking any military action.
To most of them, the only reason to sacrifice American blood and treasure is if our vital interests are not at stake. Only a completely selfless, noble, and altruistic intervention justifies going to war. This is a pathetic realization of the liberal self-image that projects a heroic personae for which the rest of us must stand in awe. Their absolute moral goodness places them above petty concerns like nation or even self defense. The natural outgrowth of this philosophy is the now discredited "responsibility to protect" doctrine that was used to justify military action in Libya.
Intervening in Syria is not a "humanitarian mission" and it definitely isn't "philanthropy." Killing the enemy is always a brutal, inhuman means to an end - except in this case, there is no discernible "end" except to make good on the president's ill-advised "red line" comment on chemical weapons.
We're not going to bomb the Syrian army to save civilians or overthrow President Assad. Nor, apparently, is President Obama going to have to deal with tens of thousands of Americans in the streets screaming at him that he's a baby killer and a murderer of innocents.
That kind of treatment is reserved for the partisan enemies of the left.

And Jazz Shaw sums up the position of Code Pink nicely:

When it comes to groups like Code Pink, war is a terrible thing if there's a Republican in the White House. (And make no mistake... war is a terrible thing.) But if it's one of their own pulling the trigger and giving the Go Command, well... it's kind of hot and humid out. Do you really want to go marching in this weather? And most of the Magic Markers are dried up and we'd have to go get more if we're going to make protest signs. Maybe we should just send a nice e-mail to our Senator.
Way to stand firm on those principles, ladies.
Even if Obama were to blunder us into a general war in the Middle East, I doubt there would be much stirring among the fanatics. They just can't seem to work up any outrage against anyone but their political enemies.
Remember that the next time a Republian is in the White House and we hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the left when the war tocsin sounds.

Roger Waters and BDS Movement are an Embarrassment

By Ben Cohen

JNS.orgBack in 1976, when the burgeoning punk movement began transforming the rock’n’roll landscapes of London and New York, a young man named John Lydon scrawled the words “I Hate…” on his Pink Floyd t-shirt. With this one stroke, Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, the lead singer of The Sex Pistols, demarcated the past from the future: eschewing the lengthy and ponderous compositions of Floyd’s frontman, Roger Waters, Rotten and his mates set about delivering sharp, angry tunes in a compact three-minute format.
Almost 40 years later, popular music has undergone numerous other transformations, but Rotten (who now calls himself Lydon again) and Waters have remained polar opposites.  And as Israelis know better than most, that’s true both inside and outside the recording studio.
Back in 2010, Lydon rounded on critics of his decision to play a gig in Tel Aviv by telling them, “I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they (the Palestinians) are treated.”
By contrast, Waters—outwardly, a much more refined and eloquent fellow—has firmly hitched himself to the movement pressing for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Waters’s support for BDS is thought to be the reason that his scheduled appearance at the 92nd Sreet Y in New York City was canceled back in April, while more recently, he tussled with the Simon Wiesenthal Center over an accusation of anti-Semitism that stemmed from a feature of his live show, in which a Star of David is projected onto a flying inflatable pig.
In his response to the Wiesenthal Center, Waters stridently denied that he was an anti-Semite, coming out with the standard response that hating Zionism and hating Jews are completely distinct. But a subsequent letter written in August to “My Colleagues in Rock’n’Roll” —as you can see, his legendary pomposity remains unaltered—is certain to revive the charge. This time, it’s hard to see how Waters can wriggle around it.
The letter begins by citing another British musician, the violinist Nigel Kennedy, who slammed Israeli “apartheid” during a recent concert that was recorded by the BBC. “Nothing unusual there you might think,” Waters wrote, “then one Baroness Deech, (Nee Fraenkel) disputed the fact that Israel is an apartheid state and prevailed upon the BBC to censor Kennedy’s performance by removing his statement.”
Why did Waters think it necessary to point out the maiden name of Baroness Ruth Deech, a noted academic and lawyer? The answer’s obvious: before she was Deech, a name that resonates with English respectability, she was Fraenkel, a name that sounds positively, well, Jewish. And much as she might try to hide her origins, the intrepid Waters is determined to out her, along with her nefarious Jewish—sorry, I mean, Zionist—agenda.
Sarcasm aside, this is anti-Semitism of the ugliest, most primitive kind. Appropriately, Waters’s letter appeared first on the website of the Electronic Intifada, a resolutely anti-Semitic U.S.-based outfit that has emerged as one of the prime organizing platforms of the BDS movement.
The Waters letter ends as follows: “Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.” In case it’s not clear, in the BDS movement, such elaborate formulations are code for “until such time as the State of Israel, which was born in a state of original sin, is finally eliminated.”
Here’s the rub, though: 10 years ago, when the BDS movement was a relatively new phenomenon, statements like these would have set off a minor panic in the Jewish world. These days, we’re far more sanguine, and we’ve learned that the State of Israel can survive and flourish no matter how many graying prog-rockers like Roger Waters dedicate their lives to removing the world’s only Jewish state from the map.
A hashtag on Twitter that’s popular with pro-Israel activists, #BDSFail, neatly encapsulates my point. Responding to Waters, the Israeli model and actress Bar Refaeli, who normally sets pulses racing for other reasons, demanded that the singer remove her picture from the multimedia show that accompanies his live set. “If you’re boycotting,” she teased, “go all the way.”
Times of Israel blog by a writer who uses the name “Brian of London” helpfully listed the artists who have defied the intimidation of the BDS movement by playing in Israel. Among them: Depeche Mode, Julio Iglesias and the inimitable Pet Shop Boys. Not mentioned: Morrissey, the former lead singer of The Smiths, one of my favorite bands, who asked his Tel Aviv audience in 2012, “Mah Nishmah?” (“How Are You?” in Hebrew), and wrapped himself in the Israeli flag.
As unpalatable as this may be for Roger Waters’s digestion, the plain truth is that the BDS movement has failed. Its original aim was to replicate the massive outcry against South African apartheid during the 1980s, when songs like “Free Nelson Mandela” and “(I Ain’t Gonna Play) Sun City” ruled the airwaves. Instead, it has remained a fringe movement, a minor irritant that has had precious little impact on Israel’s economic life and garners media attention only when someone like Waters decides to shoot his mouth off.
We’ve arrived at this happy situation for several reasons, among them the growing realization, as articulated by John Lydon, that there is something absurd about boycotting Israel when the states that surround it engage in egregious human rights violations. Waters won’t play in Israel, but he was quite happy to play in Dubai in 2007—an Arab city almost entirely built by slave labor imported from Muslim countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. If other stars grasp the appalling hypocrisy this represents, then having Roger Waters indulge his hatred of Israel at every opportunity is a price worth paying.

69% of Egyptians Don’t Want the Muslim Brotherhood to Run for Office

By Daniel Greenfield

Suddenly Obama is going to sour on Muslim democracy if it produces results like these.
A poll conducted by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research, or Baseera, published on Tuesday, showed that 69 percent of Egyptians reject the Muslim Brotherhood’s future engagement in Egyptian politics.
That figure compared with just six percent who said the Muslim Brotherhood should play a part in politics in the future.
According to the poll, 69 percent of Egyptians reject the continued involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood in politics.
Thirteen percent approved of their existence on certain conditions, such as keeping away from politics and concentrating on preaching only. Twelve percent said they were undecided.
Thomas Friedman hardest hit.

David Cameron Bows to Parliamentary Pressure, Delays Syria Vote

By  Charles C. W. Cooke

In London, the British goverment has run into trouble obtaining parliamentary approval for a strike on Syria. Per the Telegraph, the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, told Prime Minister David Cameron that he would not yet be able to count on the support of the Labour party. Meanwhile, some senior members of Cameron’s own Conservative party have indicated that they might refuse to back their leader, too.
Unlike in the United States, in which the separation of powers ensure that legislative initiatives fail regularly, in a parliamentary system the failure to win a vote represents a serious embarrassment to the government. Miliband did not rule out his party’s support entirely, but he did insist that tomorrow’s motion include the line, “Before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place.”
As the Telegraph notes:
The Prime Minister has now said he will wait for a report by United Nations weapons inspectors before seeking the approval of MPs for “direct British involvement” in the Syrian intervention.
Downing Street said the decision to wait for the UN was based on the “deep concerns” the country still harbours over the Iraq War.
MPs had been recalled to vote on a motion on Thursday expected to sanction military action. Instead, after a Labour intervention, they will debate a broader motion calling for a “humanitarian response”.
A second vote would be required before any British military involvement. This could now take place next week.
The general consensus here in America appears to be that the president is nervous about asking Congress for permission in case it refuses. Novel a theory about the appropriate role of the legislature as this is, the news that the British parliament is asserting itself will likely do nothing to bring the president back around to his former view that any war conducted without the permission of Congress is illegal.

Israeli apology to Turkey over Marmara affair viewed by Erdogan as act of weakness

Less than six months have passed since Israel officially apologized to Turkey, but the gesture can already be defined as a huge mistake. The Israeli government knelt before Ankara and asked forgiveness for a sin it did not commit, and in exchange it received mainly spits in the face. Prime Minister Erdogan continues to pester us, to despise us publicly and make false accusations against us. He did not release even one conciliatory glance towards us since we admitted - while bowing, as though we were defendants in a public trial – that we were to blame for the Marmara affair. “I do not believe Erdogan will continue to attack Israel as he did before,” National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror told Channel 2 on the night of the apology, but Erdogan did continue. As soon as he received the apology Erdogan kicked off a public humiliation festival, and last week he accused us of being behind the coup in Egypt, an accusation which embarrassed even our traditional enemies. Contrary to its prior commitments, Ankara has yet to return its ambassador to Israel, but it benefits from the thousands of Israeli tourists who returned to Antalya. At this juncture, Turkey can be considered Israel’s most bitter enemy in the region after Iran. What does this prove? That in contrast to the familiar mantra, sometimes it is more important to be right than to be wise. The Israeli instinct to sacrifice values and assets for the sake of good relations with the neighbors is leading it from one failure to another. Netanyahu and Amidror relinquished our honor for the sake of peace, but in the end we were left with neither honor nor peace. Erdogan interpreted their apology as an act of weakness and concluded from it that he can continue his assault on us. Now one can only hope that we too will reach some conclusions of our own. The apology to Turkey cannot be withdrawn, but we can still take a tougher stance with regards to the European boycott of the settlements. For example, the government can take a deep breath and declare that it is banning the “Horizon 2000” program as long as Europe continues to ban Israeli projects in Judea and Samaria. Europe will think twice before declaring another boycott. It may even cause Erdogan to rethink his attitude towards Israel.

Western Christians Are Out Fighting en Masse for Islam

For these converts to Islam, there is only Jihad, the war for heaven and for hell.

By Giulio Meotti

The latest video of Jihadist propaganda from Syria shows the black flag proclaiming allegiance to Allah and a man who calls himself Abu Abd Al-Rahman.
"I am French," he says. His parents were baptised as Catholics - as was he - and they know him as Nicolas. He is a 30-year-old convert from a middle-class background in Toulouse, where four Jews were gunned down last year. His mother works for the French army. In the the video, Nicolas appears in military fatigues, a Kalashnikov rifle across his legs.
French intelligence believes there are 220 Frenchmen who have gone to fight in Syria so far. 40 of them are Christian converts. The estimates of Westerners fighting in Syria range from 600 to 1,000 fighters. The vast majority are "white converts to Islam" or "naturalized immigrants with a Muslim background".
His name was Ibrahim Giuliano Delnevo. He was a regular guy from Genoa, Italy's biggest sea industrial location. Raised as a Catholic, Giuliano converted to Islam and was killed as a "martyr" in Syria. He was fighting with the jihadists against Bashar el Assad's secular regime.
There exists a generation of Western converts to Islam in deep intimacy with death. Delnevo had written that "everyone meets the good actions in the tomb as a friend, while evil deeds instead increase the suffering."
According to Delnevo's father, "my son died as a hero".Giuliano Delnevo died fighting a war fought between Arabs, but his death tells us a lot about the West.
The son of Dimitri Bontinck was a Jesuit from Belgium as well as a normal western child, who had the best Catholic education. He is now "lost" in Syria.
This is not the story of Patricia Hearst, the hostage who embraced her captors. There is no Stockholm syndrome to analyze here. Instead, these converts are the lost children of the West. It is like the Red Army Faction, the Baader Meinhof gang in Germany in the autumn of the seventies, when the left spoke of militarization, but in fact a small educated middle class was militarized and in the name of the class struggle, as the poet Jean Genet said, tried to plant a spear "in the fat flesh of Germany."
This is the first generation of Westerners which has immolated itself upon the altar of a pure choice of apocalypse. There is no Hanoi behind these "new Vietcong", as they have been called by the sick imagination of the left. There is no Moscow, there is no Beijing, there is no Havana, there is no Ramallah. There is only Jihad, the war for heaven and for hell. And "paradise under the shade of swords."
John Walker Lindh was the beginning of this tragic metamorphosis. Unrecognizable with a beard when he was captured by the US forces in Mazar el Sharif, Lindh was a happy boy who grew up in Marin County, the US region most celebrated for its hippy lifestyle. Walker's parents, like those of Giuliano Delnevo, are Catholics. They named him in honor of John Lennon. Walker became interested in Buddhism, only to fall in love with the hip-hop. He rejected the "rigidity of the Catholic Church" to embrace the most austere form of Islam.
These converts see themselves as heroes and victims of a society deemed "unworthy", "wicked", "apostate." Like all converts to Islam, Walker has joined the repugnance for the West with the liberal conservative loathing of modern permissiveness. Islam, for these converts, is the point where the extremes mix and explode.
In the liberal enclave of California, as in the leftist Italian province where Delnevo grew up, there is no "wrong" and "right", but only judgment (hateful) and tolerance (admirable). The liberal doubts and the progressive choices of Walker's permissive environment found a "final solution" in the absolute certainty of a medieval faith - it is brutal, irresistible. This is the lesson of these converts to Jihad.
These former Christians today are now the avant guarde of terrorism: Adam Gadahn, the translator of Mullah Omar, who figures in the FBI's most wanted list; Shane Kent, who has red hair, a former rock musician trained in a camp in Afghanistan; the Australian David Hicks, who has become kangaroo skinner "Al Qaeda's 24 Carat Golden Boy"; the French Willie Virgile Brigitte, who participated in the assassination of Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud; Alexandre D., another French convert who just tried to cut the throat of a French soldier on patrol in Paris; the French convert Pierre Richard Robert, "the emir with blue eyes" who in 2003 organized the Casablanca bombings which killed 45 people.
Take one of the leaders of the dell'Hofstadt Group, the Dutch cell that planned the murder of Theo van Gogh, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, a white convert to Islam named Jason Walters. The son of an African-American military man stationed in the base of Soesterberg and a Dutch woman, Walters had a few dreams at high school: "Get married and have two children, a good job and a house".
Michael and Michael Adebolajo Adebowale are the two former Christians who just slaughtered the British soldier Lee Regby in the heart of London with a machete.
Only a small percentage of converts to Islam embrace terrorism. But it is true that the increasing number of converts bears witness to a unique phenomenon in the West, comparable to the de-Christianization that devastated Europe in the sixties. In England there are 100.000 converts, two-thirds women, seventy percent white. It began with the musician Cat Stevens, aka Yousuf Islam, and went on with Richard Reid, the terrorist who wanted to blow up a Paris-Miami flight 63 American Airlines with explosives in his shoes and who converted to Islam in a British prison.
But even in the bombings of 7 July 2005 there was a convert, Germaine Lindsay, "a father and a loving husband." When he blew up in Kings Cross, his wife was expecting a second child. Germaine had just bought a car seat for the baby. Lindsay's wife, Samantha Lewthwaite, also converted to Islam and she fought with the Shahab in Somalia. Among the reasons given for the conversion, many cite "lack of morality" and "sexual permissiveness" of English society.
These converts are all good children of the European bourgeoisie, as was Fritz Gelowicz, who recently wanted to commit a massacre at the airport of Frankfurt, a symbol of "the harmony of the German middle class," the father is a seller of solar panels, the mother is a doctor.
These converts are the symbol of the end of the Western city, the Brechtian "Im Dickicht Städte", the New Canaan of Dvorak which Sayid Qutb, the father of Islamic fundamentalism, saw in New York as "saturated with lust." Fanaticism is preferable to Komfortismus.
These Christian converts to Islam proudly betray the West. And one day these blond-haired, blue-eyed fighters will return to Europe's cities and turn them into nightmares.