Archive for the ‘America’ category

FULL MEASURE: June 18, 2017 – Shared Security

June 19, 2017

FULL MEASURE: June 18, 2017 – Shared Security via YouTube, June 19, 2017

(America shares counter-terror intelligence with Germany, but Germany does not share with America. — DM)

 

The Third Debate: ‘What Kind of Country Are We Going to Be?

October 20, 2016

The Third Debate: ‘What Kind of Country Are We Going to Be? Front Page MagazineRobert Spencer, October 20, 2016

rd

The peculiar self-contradiction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was on abundant display Wednesday night during her third and last presidential debate with Donald Trump: running as the anointed heir of a two-term president in whose administration she served, she has to maintain both that everything is going great and that the nation in general  is in drastic need of repair. Above all, amid all the bluster and platitudes, she and Trump took up opposing sides on virtually all the major fault lines of contemporary America, emphasizing yet again that this election is for all the marbles: either the U.S. will continue on the road to socialist internationalism, or recover a sense of itself. This may be the last time that question is at stake in a presidential election.

“What kind of country are we going to be?,” Hillary Clinton asked near the beginning of the debate, and that indeed was the question. The Supreme Court, she told us, needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on side of the wealthy. What would a Supreme Court that stood on the side of the people, rather than the plutocrats, look like? Why, of course it would be one that said no to Citizen’s United, and yes to Marriage Equality and Roe vs. Wade: as far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, anyone who stands for traditional values is simply not of the people, or any people she has any interest in representing. Nor, presumably, among Hillary Clinton’s people are those who respect and want to uphold the Second Amendment – in which she firmly believes, she assured us Wednesday night, as long as it is gutted of any actual substance.

Trump, on the other hand, affirmed that he would appoint justices who would interpret the Constitution as written, repeal Roe v. Wade and return the abortion question to the states, and protect gun rights. Chicago, he pointed out, has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, yet also has more gun violence than any other city. This was a telling point; in response, Clinton promised she would give us both the Second Amendment and “reform,” but did not explain how this sleight-of-hand would be performed.

The situation was the same when the topic turned to immigration. Trump spoke of the need for strong borders, pointing to the drugs pouring into the country over the Mexican border as the reason why a border wall was needed, and declaring: “We have no country if we have no border.” In response, Clinton spoke about not wanting to send illegal immigrant parents away from their children who are citizens – an answer that may have tugged at Leftist heartstrings, but left the drug problem unaddressed.

Clinton danced all night. When moderator Chris Wallace quoted her earlier statement saying she wanted open borders, Clinton turned the question into one about Wikileaks, and pressed Trump over whether he would condemn Russia, which she insisted was behind the leaks, for meddling in an American election. “That was a great pivot,” Trump noted drily, “from her wanting open borders.”

Once Clinton had brought up Putin, Trump bored in, charging: “She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her in every way.” In response, Clinton promised to work with our allies all over the world. That highlighted her campaign’s nagging contradiction again, leaving unanswered the question of why the world is so aflame today after eight years of Barack Obama, who came into office with similar promises to mend America’s relationships with friends and foes alike globally – promises that were taken so seriously that he won the Nobel Peace Prize before he had done anything at all. (What’s left to give President Hillary Clinton as she begins herefforts to bring peace to our troubled world? Sainthood?)

There was so much that he had heard before. Clinton promised to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes. Some enterprising and independent-minded historian should research the history of that shopworn phrase, used by so very many Democratic presidential candidates before Hillary. Who was the first to use it? Certainly not Barack Obama, although he made the same promise, or John Kerry or Al Gore, who did as well, or Hillary’s husband. Was it Mike Dukakis? Jimmy Carter? Harry Truman? Woodrow Wilson? Grover Cleveland? How far back does this phrase go, and why, after eight years of Barack Obama, are the poor soaked rich still not paying their fair share? If he couldn’t make them pony up, how will Hillary accomplish it?

That was the rub, on all the issues Trump and Clinton discussed Wednesday evening. She pledged to eradicate the Islamic State, whereupon Trump noted that it was the vacuum created in Iraq by the precipitous Obama/Clinton withdrawal from Iraq that led to the creation of ISIS in the first place. Trump pointed out that the U.S. is pouring money into Syrian rebel groups of doubtful reliability, and noted that if they overthrow Assad (“and he is a bad guy”), Syria might end up with a regime’s worse than Assad, and noted that the chaos in Syria has “caused the great migration, the great Trojan Horse,” with “many ISIS-aligned” coming into the U.S. “Thanks a lot Hillary,” he said acidly, “thanks a lot for doing a great job.”

Indeed. If she didn’t get all this right when she was Secretary of State, how can Americans be confident she will get it right the next time, particularly when all she is offering is more of the same, more of the same failed foreign policies that have gotten the world into the fix it’s in today — with the centerpiece being the denial of the nature, magnitude and motivating ideology of the jihad threat?

That is what is ultimately the choice Americans face: more of the same, or a drastic change of course. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, and the mainstream media is in a frenzy to do all it can to make sure that she is, Americans will at very least know what they’re getting, and a great many of them will applaud it. Ultimately, however, politically correct fantasies will collapse under the weight of reality. If that happens while she is president, there will be more of the same in another way as well: many Americans who applauded her platitudes, generalities, and appeals to sentiment on Wednesday night will be looking for ways to blame the Republicans.

Europeans Abolished Slavery; Africans/Muslims Still Practice it

August 4, 2016

Europeans Abolished Slavery; Africans/Muslims Still Practice it, Front Page MagazineIlana Mercer, August 4, 2016

slaves_ruvuma

First he exposed the History Channel’s miniseries “Roots” as root-and-brunch fiction. Now, the courageous epistolary warrior Kunta (Jack) Kerwick has turned his attention to correcting lies about slavery, promulgated in media and scholarly circles.

A point forcefully made by Kerwick is that although a vibrant, indigenous slave trade was conducted well into the nineteenth century in the interior of West Africa, slavery has become the White Man’s cross to bear.

Also omitted, in the course of the “honest” conversation about race directed by our political masters, is that credit for the demise of the slave trade in Africa belongs to Europeans. In his compact study, The Slave Trade, British historian Jeremy Black (London, 2006), highlights the “leading role Britain played in the abolition of slavery [as]… an example of an ethical foreign policy.” Britain agonized over this repugnant institution, failed to reconcile it with the Christian faith, and consequently abolished it.

Professor Black condemns the exclusive focus on the Atlantic—or transatlantic—slave trade to the exclusion of the robust slave trade conducted by Arabs across the Sahara Desert. Or, across the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea to markets in the Middle East. This exclusive focus on westerners as slave owners and traders, notes Black, “fits with the [political] narrative of Western exploitation” of underdeveloped countries and their people.

The greatest development economist to live was Lord P.T. Bauer. As The Economist quipped, Bauer was to foreign aid what Friedrich Hayek was to socialism: a slayer. In his Dissent on Development (London, 1971), Bauer bolstered Black’s point well before the latter made it: “The slave trade between Africa and the Middle East antedated the Atlantic slave trade by centuries, and far outlasted it. Tens of millions of Africans were carried away—north through the Sahara, and from East Africa, by Arab and Muslim slave traders, well before Europeans took up the trade from West Africa.”

Arab affinity for slavery, ethnic prejudice and purges lives on today in the treatment, for example, of blacks in Darfur and Yazidi Kurds in Iraq.

Considering Europeans were not alone in the slave trade, Black, in particular, questions “the commonplace identification of slavery with racism,” given that, like serfdom, slavery was a device (albeit an inefficient one) “to ensure labor availability and control.”

At its most savage, child slavery still thrives in Haiti in the form of the “Restavec system.” Children are kept in grinding poverty and worked to the bone. In the Anglo-American and European worlds this would be considered perverse in the extreme; in Haiti owning a Restavec is a status symbol. (Haiti, incidentally, is another spot on the globe that “Hillary Clinton’s State Department” “helped ruin,” by ensconcing an illegitimate and corrupt leader, with a preference for corrupt NGOs such as … The Clinton Foundation.)

The savagery of the indigenous slave trade in the interior of West Africa owed a lot to the rivalries and relationships between Africans powers. By Black’s telling, “Both Arabs and Europeans worked in collaboration with native polities that provided the slaves through raids and war carried out against their neighbors.”

For the Atlantic slave trade, contemporary Americans and Britons have been expiating at every turn. But more than engendering a cult of apology, the Atlantic slave trade has been instrumental in the effort to control and define the past as an “aspect of current politics,” not least in shaping the historical treatment of the Civil War, the South, and the American Founding Fathers.

Jeremy Black rejects these ritual apologies as empty ploys, which “all too often conform to fatuous arguments about ‘closure,’ resolution, and being unable to move on until we acknowledge the past.” In reality, this bowing-and-scraping, by obsequious Anglo-Americans, to their black political overlords, entails the opposite of all these, and, instead, involves the reiteration and institutionalization of racial grievance.

The cult of apology that has gripped America and Britain is uniquely Western. What other people would agonize over events they had no part in, personally, for damages they did not inflict?

Grievance is leveled at a collective, all whites, for infractions it did not commit: Africans who were not enslaved are seen as having an ineffable claim against Europeans who did not enslave them.

At its core, the argument against racism, at least as it works to further black interests, is an argument against collectivism. You’re meant to avoid judging an entire people based on the color of their epidermis or the conduct of a statistically significant number of them.

It is, however, deemed perfectly acceptable to malign and milk Europeans for all they’re worth, based on the lack of pigment in their skin and their overall better socio-economic performance.

**

Adapted from Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) by ILANA Mercer.

US State Department’s perfidy undermining Israeli sovereignty

July 13, 2016

US State Department’s perfidy undermining Israeli sovereignty | Anne’s Opinions, 13th July 2016

 

I often write about “perfidious Albion”, referring to the hypocrisy and two-faced bias of Britain against Israel. But in the last few years under the Obama Administration, it is America, or more precisely the State Department, that has earned the dubious distinction of being the most perfidious of our friends.

The latest scandal concerns the V15 NGO which worked to undermine Israel’s election process in order to bring about the defeat of Binyamin Netanyahu. Already back then, during the election season, it was revealed that it was the State Department that stood behind V15, hiding behind other proxy organizations. In other words the United States Administration was interfering in Israel’s domestic politics – something which is an absolute no-no for democratic countries, and something for which Netanyahu himself was (wrongly) accused of by the State Department itself (!) when he led the campaign against the Iran nuclear deal.

A State Department-funded V15 anti-Netanyahu campaign poster

After this shocking revelation of State Department involvement, the US Senate, an altogether more balanced and pro-Israel institution, undertook an investigation into the accusations. The Weekly Standard reports that The Senate has now issued a report confirming this State Department interference (via Chaim):

A new report posted today by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), led by chair Rob Portman (R-OH) confirms that the U.S. State Department funded an Israeli political organization that later ran a campaign dedicated to ousting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The group, OneVoice, has drawn media scrutiny that led to this investigation.

Some key findings from the report:

On December 2, 2014, at the urging of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Knesset voted to schedule new national parliamentary elections for March 2015. Within weeks, an international organization known as the OneVoice Movement absorbed and funded an Israeli group named Victory15 or “V15” and launched a multimillion-dollar grassroots campaign in Israel. The campaign’s goal was to elect “anybody but Bibi [Netanyahu]” by mobilizing center-left voters.1 The Israeli and Palestinian arms of OneVoice, OneVoice Israel (OVI), and OneVoice Palestine (OVP), received more than $300,000 in grants from the U.S. State Department to support peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine over a 14- month grant period ending in November 2014.

The grants funded expanded “social media presence, built a larger voter database, and hired an American political consulting firm to train its activists and executives in grassroots organizing methods in support of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

Only, once the infrastructure was built, it was used in an attempt to topple the government of one of America’s closest allies.

[…] This pivot to electoral politics was consistent with a strategic plan developed by OneVoice leadership and emailed to State Department officials during the grant period. The State Department diplomat who received the plan told the Subcommittee that he never reviewed it.

OneVoice’s use of government-funded resources for political purposes was not prohibited by the grant agreement because the State Department placed no limitations on the post-grant use of those resources. Despite OneVoice’s previous political activism in the 2013 Israeli election, the Department failed to take any steps to guard against the risk that OneVoice could engage in political activities using State-funded grassroots campaign infrastructure after the grant period.

You can read the whole report here.

Just one small item from the 28-page report (on p.13) demonstrates the nefarious strategy of this organization:

OneVoice refined this strategic plan over the course of several months. By August 2014, OneVoice leadership circulated a revised, “finalized AND APPROVED” strategy memo framed around a top strategic objective:

SHIFT SUPPORT WITHIN THE KNESSET AWAY FROM
LIKUD/RIGHT WING COALITION BY ADVOCATING TO
‘SWING’ CENTRIST VOTER’S [sic] POLICIES AND SUPPORT POLITICAL CANDIDATES WHO EMBRACE AN EXPEDITED NEGOTIATION TOWARD A [TWO-STATE SOLUTION] AND THE END OF SETTLEMENT EXPANSION.

Adding insult to injury, the Jewish Press reports that the State Department has been destroying evidence connected to this blatant disregard for democratic norms:

Meanwhile, according to the Washington Free Beacon, a State Department senior official admitted to the committee that he deleted several emails with information about the campaign, or as the report put it, “The State Department was unable to produce all documents responsive to the Subcommittee’s requests due to its failure to retain complete email records of Michael Ratney, who served as US Consul General in Jerusalem during the award and oversight of the OneVoice grants.”

How convenient. Again, the Senate report (p.17) contradicts the State Department’s denials:

The record is clear, however, that OneVoice did inform at least two State Department officials of its political plans, and it did so during the grant period. The Department took no action in response, although it is unclear whether the officials in receipt of the plans reviewed them.

With the exposure of this outrageous interference in a democratic ally’s domestic politics, you would think the US Administration would keep a more low profile for the moment. You would be wrong. The Elder of Ziyon discovered that the State Department is actively working to promote a boycott of Ariel University:

I visited Ariel University last week. It is a very impressive place and, considering that it is considered by most of the world to be an “obstacle to peace”by virtue of its location on the wrong side of an arbitrary line drawn by some Westerners in 1949, it is surprisingly apolitical, with students from all over the world including Israeli Arabs. (I am told that the PA will not let Palestinian Arabs attend.)

Ariel University campus

While there, a senior official told me about something that happened not too long ago.

Ariel University was in negotiations to partner with two US universities on various initiatives as universities partner with each other all the time. (I was told which ones they were but am not permitted to name them.) One was intended to be a general partnership, the other was a specific partnership with the architecture school at Ariel which is well-regarded.

Both those negotiations were abruptly cancelled.

When officials at Ariel asked the schools what happened, they were told (off the record) that the US State Department had put pressure on the American schools to stop any partnerships with Ariel University since it is in the territories.

The State Department is working against Israel and is taking sides against Israel before any final status negotiations. The schools involved are too scared and vulnerable to push back.

This is a new low for the State Department in working clandestinely against its greatest Middle East Ally.

Furthermore, yesterday the US voiced concern for free speech over Israel’s new NGO bill which requires transparency from foreign-funded NGOs:

The law — approved by Knesset late Monday night — mandates that non-government organizations that receive more than half their funds from foreign governments or state agencies disclose that fact in any public reports, advocacy literature and interactions with government officials, or face a NIS 29,000 fine ($7,500).

State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a briefing that some of Washington’s concerns regarding the bill were alleviated by amendments made before it was finally passed by Israeli legislators.

Nonetheless, he expressed the White House’s concerns “not just about free expression but association and dissent.”

The law was passed a day before a bipartisan Senate report found that the V15 campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 was indirectly funded by US State Department dollars.

Likud minister Zeev Elkin said Tuesday that the Senate’s findings were proof “of how correct the laws of transparency in foreign state funding of NGOs is.”

Critics, meanwhile, maintain the law unfairly targets left-wing and human rights organizations, many of which receive funding from European countries.

Responding to those critics, Sheri Oz at Israellycool asks some very pointed questions:

  1. What makes an NGO that receives funds from a government, foreign or otherwise, an NGO? After all, in case people have forgotten – NGO means NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION. It seems that in order to qualify as such, the organization would have to have no government contribution to its functioning.
  2. How many left-wing organizations are NOT affected by the Transparency Law? If the answer is 0, or even 5, then the question of interest becomes: what is it about left-wing issues that makes left-wing NGOs disproportionately subject to foreign government investment? After all, money talks, money is power, follow the money. There have to be vital interests at stake for foreign governments to be willing to put their money down in any particular way.

These are very important questions, and the foreign-funded NGOs – as Sheri points out, foreign-government funded – should answer these points forthwith. But please don’t hold your breath.

And as a last aside on this issue of foreign interference, the ToI notes that the European Union too asserts that the NGO bill undermines Israel’s democratic values. This is indeed rich coming from that most undemocratic of institutions, i.e. the EU itself, which decrees how many refugees every country must take, and issues floods of regulations on the most minor of matters! No wonder that Britain voted to leave!

As David Hazony remarked:

The Israeli government must be much more forceful in rejecting this insidious foreign interference and undermining of our sovereignty and democracy. And they should throw the accusations of “violation of free speech” or “undermining democratic values” back in the faces of these foreign governments who have forgotten that Israel is not a vassal state nor managed by a UN Mandate.

 

Independence and Identity: What Israel Knows, Europe Has Forgotten, and America May Yet Remember

July 4, 2016

Independence and Identity: What Israel Knows, Europe Has Forgotten, and America May Yet Remember, American ThinkerAbe Katsman, July 4, 2016

The Fourth of July is beautiful.  Independence Day marks arguably the most consequential positive political event in history and deserves every bit of the enthusiastic celebration with which it is observed.  Yet the day goes by insufficiently appreciated by so many – a symptom of the erosion of our American identity.

For some perspective, let’s start by looking at Memorial Day.  In Israel.

Israel.  Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Day of Remembrance) is ushered in by a wailing siren.  Everyone – even drivers on the freeways – stops in his tracks for a minute of mournful silence.  The somber mood of the day is everywhere: no hot dogs or barbecues; no sales at the malls.  No rock music on the radio; no Friends reruns or light entertainment on TV – just reflective songs, unvarnished war documentaries, heart-piercing interviews with families of fallen soldiers, and coverage of countless memorial ceremonies at the nation’s cemeteries.  It is a poignant day, dripping with tragedy, loss, sacrifice, and suffering – but also with heroism, pride, honor, and gratitude.

Does that sound like your Memorial Day?

Israel may be unique in the intensity with which it observes Yom Hazikaron.  But other nations, including America, would be wise to learn from Israel about how and why it honors its fallen as it does.

Yom Hazikaron honors the 23,000 Israeli lives lost – mostly young citizen-soldiers, as well as some 2,500 terror attack victims – in modern Israel’s never-ending struggle to exist.  It is a heavy day, and everyone feels its weight: as a small nation resurrected in the wake of the Holocaust, with a culture that places a premium on each individual life, Israel knows too well not only that its freedom isn’t free, but that it comes at a steep, painful price.

As night falls on Yom Hazikaron, there is a jarring transition to raucous celebration: Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, begins.  There are fireworks, official ceremonies and celebrations, street partying, and happy prayers of thanksgiving.  There are military flyovers, ubiquitous barbecues, and the International Bible Contest finals.  And there is an outpouring of national pride and a sense of accomplishment over how the country has survived and thrived for yet another year, feelings intensified by an appreciation for the fragility of its very existence.

Though quite the 48-hour emotional rollercoaster, the two days add depth and meaning to one another.  As painful as that price has been for Israel to gain and maintain independence, it is dwarfed by the price the Jewish people paid for their prior statelessness.

These two days are a distillation of Israelis’ remarkably strong sense of national identity, healthy cultural confidence, and appreciation for the state they have – imperfect as it may be.  These are sentiments widely shared, even – perhaps especially – by Israel’s sizeable population of immigrants from around the globe.

That is all well and good for Israel.  What is worrisome is that such a strong national identity, though once the norm, has become aberrational in the Western world.  The failure to nurture national identities among new generations and new immigrants threatens the survival of the culture and values Western nations once strongly stood for.

Europe.  The competing cultures of European nations once proudly rivaled each other, spawning revolutions in philosophy, law, science, art, exploration, industry, religion, and academia while raising the prosperity, education, and human rights levels of millions in the process.

But nationalism run amok was also a factor in Europe’s bloody wars.  Since the end of World War II, nationalism-phobia has driven Western European governments.  Though nationalism has only once mutated into Nazism, European elites threw out the baby with the bathwater: to ensure that expansionist racial fascism would not rise again, European leaders strove to minimize individual nationalisms and shrink the autonomy of individual states, cobbling together instead a new, transnational, pan-European identity.

They succeeded, perhaps too well, at diminishing the particular nationalisms of individual states.  Their artificial new Europeanist substitute, however, is a watery, post-Christian, least-common-denominator amalgam which fails any identity’s most basic test: hardly anyone is inspired to identify with it.  As Europeans lament the failure of waves of Middle Eastern and North African immigrants to assimilate, perhaps one question that should be asked is, assimilate into what, precisely?

European nations used to make history happen; “Europe” now passively endures history happening to it.  The U.K. Brexit vote notwithstanding, the exploding rates of violent crime (particularly rape), the metastasizing of terror cells, and the proliferation of no-go zones of debatable sovereignty  seem not to rouse paralyzed mainstream political leaders to act in defense of any cultural value other than so-called multiculturalism.

As cultural identities erode, so erode the senses of purpose, belonging, meaning, inspiration, and cultural confidence of citizens.   Identity-stripped societies are marked by risk aversion, listlessness, passivity, economic stagnation, lack of innovation, and – perhaps most ominous – sub-replacement-level birth rates.  (Israel, notably, has by far the highest fertility rate of any OECD country.)  The European nations, by and large, no longer seem to understand who they used to be or what they are becoming.  They have lost their way.  They are cultures in retreat.

America.  The Unites States has not yet traveled as far down the post-nationalist cul-de-sac as has Europe, but it is heading in the same direction.

We may feel Americanism in our bones, but that does not make it part of our DNA; it is not inherited automatically.  An understanding and appreciation of what America means requires transmission to each new generation.  Yet that transmission is getting ever weaker: it is no longer fashionable within the education establishment to teach students about American exceptionalism or why tens of millions fled their own countries, immigrated to America’s shores, and proudly adopted American identities and values or the degree to which America has been an unparalleled force for liberty and decency in the world.  (It doesn’t help matters that our post-nationalist president, not shy with opinions about everything else, rarely speaks of American greatness, past or present.)

Universities long ago abandoned any thought of instilling in all students some understanding and appreciation for Western and American civilization.  Instead, students are taught the arts of grievance-manufacturing and victimhood, of countering privilege and power structure, of squelching free speech and seeing a complex world exclusively through the race/class/gender prism, and of becoming expertly hypersensitive to nano-aggressions and cultural appropriations.  A wrecking ball of intellectually lazy cultural and moral relativism has displaced the Western/American canon.

Students come out of college arguably are even more ignorant of their Americanism than when they entered.  By signing the Declaration of Independence, men of wealth and stature effectively signed their own death warrants, all in the name of political principle.  Yet if university students are taught anything about those who committed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to secure the liberty these students take for granted, it is that the founders were privileged white male slaveholders, thus more deserving of contempt than deep study.

There is far more sense of entitlement and cynicism about America inculcated on campus than sense of appreciation and gratitude for what it means to be American, or for the ultimate sacrifice of 1.35 million American war dead.  And every year, America’s colleges churn out another 3 million graduates thus indoctrinated.

There are only a few remaining cultural institutions where Americanism is honored: the military, talk radio, and country music come to mind.  The prevailing mass cultural influences at best reflect mild embarrassment over American pride and patriotism.

Reclaiming Identity.  National identity does not mean lockstep unity or uniformity, cheerleading, or papering over a nation’s faults.  Israel, for example, soberly faces monumental challenges both internal and external, and Israeli society is fundamentally fragmented – too often along demographic lines – in how to approach them.  While American politicians sometimes call for “national conversations,” Israeli citizens live in one.  Yet Israel’s rollicking, caustic debates, frequently over core questions of just what Israeli identity means, are themselves part of that identity.

Every nation needs to find its own path to instill identity in its people and an understanding of why it is worth preserving.  In Israel’s case, as fractious as society may be, it has utilized several tools to forge its strong sense of common identity.  Through maintaining a strong Jewish historical memory and reconnecting to an ancient homeland; through breathing new life into its historic, though largely dormant, Hebrew language; through ingathering of exiles and rescue of persecuted Jews around the world; and through surviving crises together against often daunting odds, the Jewish people have re-created the nation of Israel.  Infighting aside, there is a widespread sense of shared fate and a still potent recollection of pre-state Jewish powerlessness.  Reinforced through common tradition, education, and ceremony – including Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut – that powerful identity has kept Israelis together through some dangerous, trying times.

Tragically, reclamation of national identity may well be a lost cause in several European states.  But it is not yet lost in America.  The feelings of gratitude and appreciation for being American, and of understanding what America has meant to ourselves and to the wider world, still run deep in much of the population, in spite of prevailing cultural antipathies toward such attitudes.  But those sensibilities are endangered by insufficient transmission of American identity from one generation to the next and are in dire need of reinforcement.

America has always been a model to Israel of so much worth emulating.  Perhaps in the realm of strengthening of national identity, Israel can return the favor.

There are no simple solutions.  But we might start with something simple: perhaps it’s time to establish an Independence Day custom of sounding sirens for a national minute of silence.  Everyone can share a collective moment to honor the price paid for our liberty.  Linking the sacrifice of others with our own Independence Day celebration of freedom is a good way to enhance the respect and appreciation for both.  It is a small step, but it is at least a step forward, toward strengthening our American identity.

 

ISIS is a Footnote: The Real Threat is Sharia and Islamic Supremacism

June 29, 2016

ISIS is a Footnote: The Real Threat is Sharia and Islamic Supremacism, CounterjihadShireen Qudosi, June 29, 2016

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a top North American Muslim Reformer, sees Muslim reformers “as the most essential head of spear in the battle against Islamic theocracy.” The largest collective of Muslim Reformers are presently in the United States.

“Ideas of freedom can happen in the laboratory of America,” adds Dr. Jasser. The West offers Muslim voices for humanity a level of freedom that is unmatched in any other part of the world, making Western Muslim reformers critical in this battle against radical Islam — particularly because truthful conversations on faith are painted as persecution, courtesy of the regressive left.

**********************

The battle against radical Islam isn’t an ‘over there’ fight confined to the wastebin landscape of some forgotten town. It’s a ubiquitous problem that takes place on American soil in two forms. The first is through direct jihadi attacks as we most recently saw in Orlando; the second takes the form of political warfare.

Yesterday, the battle of ideas took place on the floor of a Senate hearing spearheaded by Senator Ted Cruz. The “Willful Blindness” hearing, attended by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser,Philip Haney, and Andrew McCarthy among others, offered testimony to better understand barriers to combating radical Islam.

Other witnesses included soft-Islamist Farhana Khera, President and Executive Director of Muslim Advocates, who refused to admit that jihad or radicalization had absolutely anything to do with radical Islam. In fact, Senator Cruz’s attempt to engage Khera in dialogue yielded a minimum of 6 instances of denial within five minutes, with Khera defaulting to a regressive left narrative that the conversation is somehow empowering ISIS.

National security consultant Chris Gaubatz debunks the myth of an all-powerful and seeing ISIS:

“The global Islamic movement is made of terrorist groups and nation states; all seeking to impose sharia.”

ISIS is a footnote at best, not the bogeyman that Islamists try to threaten free speech with. The real threat is sharia and a mindset of Islamic supremacism.

Testimony was also provided by Michael German, a fellow of the Brennan Center for Justice and a former FBI Special Agent. German sees radical Islam as a problem but not in the context we would assume is logical based on the facts and common sense. In the same line of thinking as Khera, German denounces a theological association with violent acts of terror under a political doctrine.

German’s reasoning fails. He is neither expert in nor a student of Islamic theology. Had he an objective mind and trained scholar in both academic and traditional Islam, he would see that Islam has become a highly political system that forms and orchestrates national movement. The version of radical Islam adopted by terror groups is not that different than the version of Islam adopted by Islamic states – and to go further – the version of Islam that Islamists identify with. All versions ultimately hold Islam as supreme, paving the way for what is an undeniable theological supremacy. In other words, Islamic supremacy. And that understanding of Islam is adopted by billions of adherents.

In the same vein of thought as Islamists, German believes “radical Islam” is used to smear a faith group. He further argues “collective national security [is not achieved] by undermining security of others.” For German, “Ideas cannot be killed and ideologies cannot be destroyed.” He points to Nazi ideology that while defeated, was not destroyed.

However, radical Islamic ideology can be challenged and destroyed…from within. A growing movement in partnership with allies is already underway by Muslim reformers. Reformers are the new wave of Muslim scholars appearing nearly a millennia after the original Muslim free thinkers, the Mu’tazilites. The waves of movement in Islamic critical thought from the time of the Prophet, through his passing, and till today, shows that Islam is not the monolith German and Khera try to depict.

Andrew McCarthy, a former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney, understands Islam has seen a struggle to define itself from its earliest days. As McCarthy points out, Muslims “have not settled the question what is an authentic Islam.”

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a top North American Muslim Reformer, sees Muslim reformers “as the most essential head of spear in the battle against Islamic theocracy.” The largest collective of Muslim Reformers are presently in the United States.

“Ideas of freedom can happen in the laboratory of America,” adds Dr. Jasser. The West offers Muslim voices for humanity a level of freedom that is unmatched in any other part of the world, making Western Muslim reformers critical in this battle against radical Islam — particularly because truthful conversations on faith are painted as persecution, courtesy of the regressive left.

For McCarthy, the focus needs to shift to the supremacist interpretation of Islam that is fundamentally at odds with Western values. A clash of civilizations between Islam and the West is not a case of multiculturalism where room can be made for both. Islamic supremacism in its nature allows for only one ideology: its own.

So while German underscores that radical Islam is not a problem – that it is a misnomer – McCarthy points to history which shows us something entirely different. He summarizes that a struggle in Islam has been “ongoing for fourteen centuries supported by centuries of scholarship,” adding that “Islam is less a religion than a political radicalization with a religious veneer.”

McCarthy doesn’t see this as something the U.S. can fix, but it is something that we need to understand and not obscure – particularly because as Chris Gaubatz added, “We can kill every member of Al-Qaeda tomorrow, but it won’t end.”

Zuhdi Jasser added that America has “a sophisticated whack-a-mole system” of combatting terrorism. These are key assessment recognizing that ultimately we need to target the ideology and develop a system that moves beyond a fear of might trigger ISIS – a running theme for both Khera and German.

Khera along with German were both supported by Senator Dick Durbin who brought up a failed ongoing argument that needs to die: Westboro and the KKK are no more Christian than ISIS is Islamic. A cheap, tired trick, it shows a fundamental lack of knowledge about both Islam and Christianity.

Westboro and KKK are not acting in the footsteps of Jesus. However, ISIS is in many ways following the post-Medina violent warring behavior of its prophet, Muhammad. If we’re to see whether something is Islamic or Christian, we need to look at the verses and the leadership. Christianity did not have a violent Jesus and the teachings of Christ himself do not advocate violence. On the other hand, Islam has a violent version of Muhamad, which however justified in whatever context, is still violent and includes violent rhetoric that justified jihadi and supremacist agendas.

Germans builds on the back and forth highlighting Nazi Germany was defeated in part by criminalizing the ideology, something he feels can’t be done with Islam because the ideology can’t be scrubbed. I would argue we’ve already scrubbed so much: over 900 instances of references to jihad and Islam from official documents in what is a systematic purge of intelligence in a critical war.

Let’s go further still and get to the actual problem: the ideology. We need to do the same to political and violent doctrines in Islam, while supporting alternate voices found in reformers who are well on their way by outrightly challenging the theology or through grassroots efforts calling for modernized adaptations.

 

Education Dept encourages Islam in classroom to stop bullying of Muslims

April 28, 2016

Education Dept encourages Islam in classroom to stop bullying of Muslims, Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer, April 27, 2016

(For some textbooks that might be appealing, please see also, I Love Islam. — DM)

Isn’t this unconstitutional? Wasn’t there a decades-long struggle to get Christianity out of public school classrooms? Now what had been accepted norms for the separation of religion from public school education are out the window. This initiative to introduce Islam into classroom teaching is based on spurious claims that Muslim students are bullied, when actual FBI statistics show that incidents against Jews are far more common.

peshawar-madrassa-school-007

“Department Of Education Encourages Islam In Classrooms To Stop Muslim Bullying,” by Diane Palmer, Parent Herald, April 27, 2016 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

The U.S. Department of Education calls educators to include Islam in the curriculum to address the bullying of Muslim students.

The Department of Education (DOE) in the U.S. encouraged educators to be more responsible in protecting Muslim students from bullying by teaching Islam in class. Many people rejected the demands of the DOE’s instructions by saying that it is inappropriate to bring up religion in class.

The DOE posted instructions on their website urging teachers to include Islam in classroom discussions. Educators are encouraged to incorporate experiences of Muslim people into the curriculum through current events, social studies and children’s literature.

The alleged bullying is said to be largely based on the lack of information about the religion and the tendency to associate Islam with terrorism. Although no firm statistics show how often Muslim students are bullied, activists claim that the numbers became higher after the attacks of 9/11, according to Huffington Post.

A 2010 survey of 57 Muslim teenagers aged 11 to 18 reported being called a name because of their faith. About 80 percent of the respondents also said they have been called a ‘terrorist’.

DOE cites an increase in incidents targeting the Muslim community due to the 10 incidents that happened nationwide, according to WND. Of the 10 events, two resulted in assaults, three reported the vandalism of mosques, five involved alleged threats and intimidation and only one involved a student inside school.

Parents were also called to educate their kids on how to prevent bullying. Parents were told to teach how to appreciate their peers and make friends across different cultures.

However, many groups rejected the claim of DOE by organizing a Change.org petition drive demanding the department to stop efforts to Islamize children in school. Nowhere in the blog does it talk about incorporating Christian or Judaism into classroom discussions despite far more actual violent attacks on Jews and Christians all over the world, according to Martin Mawyer, president and founder of Christian Action Network….