Friday, June 24, 2011

Dutch Court Acquits Geert Wilders of Hate Charges

June 23, 2011 - An enormous victory for free speech was won in the Netherlands (Holland) on June 22, 2011. Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been fighting charges of "inciting hatred" by speaking out against sharia law and other Islamic practices. Wilders' Freedom Party is the Netherlands' third largest political party in the nation's parliament. (Below is a video report by AlJazeera, followed by a video titled "Geert Wilders' Warning to America.")

"The acquittal yesterday of Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders on charges of inciting hatred," reports The Independent (UK), "has split the Netherlands down the middle as effectively as the populist MP's right-wing rhetoric." The report about the acquittal of Geert Wilders noted that the judge "ruled that some of Mr Wilders' comments may have been "crude and denigrating" but they did not amount to inciting hatred against Muslims and remained within the boundaries of free speech."

“I am delighted with this ruling,” wrote Geert Wilders on his own website today. “It is a victory, not only for me but for all the Dutch people. Today is a victory for freedom of speech. The Dutch are still allowed to speak critically about islam, and resistance against islamisation is not a crime. I have spoken, I speak and I shall continue to speak.”

Wilders's final remarks in his Amsterdam trial were powerful. You can watch a video Wilders' closing remarks on YouTube (in Dutch with English subtitles).

The Independent report quoted a sociologist in Amsterdam as saying that Wilders "has been told that he has been rude and offensive but it is on the border of what the criminal law allows. It is good. The Netherlands is, after all, a tolerant country and we should keep it that way."

Wilders went on trial in October 2010 because he compared the Koran with Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf." In Geert Wilders' closing statement, reports Der Spiegel, he "said that his controversial statements against Islam were protected by the right to free speech. Wilders said he believed the process of Islamization presents a threat to Europe and that it is his right and duty to warn the public about it. If he had been convicted, Wilders could have faced up to one year in jail or a fine of up to €7,600 ($10,865). At the peak of the controversy over his statements, Wilders was once even banned from entering the United Kingdom."




Source: Chicago News Bench

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"67 BORDERS NOT DEFENSIBLE" - SAYS ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU


"67 BORDERS NOT DEFENSIBLE" - SAYS ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU

BY: FERN SIDMAN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was greeted with great enthusiasm and thunderous applause at the concluding banquet of the 2011 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington last night. "America! We're with you, this day and every day", he said, mentioning the tragic death tolls in the aftermath of the tornados in Joplin, Missouri.

Thanking his "good friends", Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House John Boehner, (R-OH) he said that "Israel thanks you for your deep commitment to its security". Embellishing on the unbreakable United States/Israel relationship, Netanyahu said, "Israel is America's indispensable ally" and thus, the two nations should stand "shoulder to shoulder" and protect their common interests. On a lighter note, the Prime Minister mentioned that he and his wife toured Washington, visiting the monuments to America's founding leaders and said that, "I read the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, 'we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal', and these exalted principles were "first championed by the Jewish people; that we are all created in G-d's image", adding that "Israel is the cradle of our civilization".

"Today, one million Muslims enjoy full democratic rights in Israel; Christians are free to practice their faith; all because of the shared principles of democracy that bind us," he said. Receiving a great round of applause, the Prime Minister said, "these rights go forth from the one, united city of Jerusalem".

Saying that "Israel and America share deep well springs of our common values as we have forged an enduring friendship, not just between our governments, but between our peoples."

At one point in his speech, he stopped and heaped accolades upon Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut; one of Israel's greatest friends and allies in the US Senate and said there is hope for uniting, 'even independents like you, Joe"

"The American people's support for Israel is reflected in my invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress tomorrow" he said. "I will talk about the great convulsion taking place in the Middle East; I will talk about the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran. I will also outline a vision for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace. I will speak the unvarnished truth. Now, more than ever, what we need is clarity', he added

"Since the days of Harry Truman', said the Prime Minister, "there has been broad support for Israel in the US and they have stood by us as we meet the challenges of the future" He also thanked President Obama and Congress "for vital assistance so Israel can defend herself, by herself".

Making special mention of the "Irondome" missile defense system, the Prime Minister related a recent incident in which Hamas rockets were intercepted in mid-air.

Speaking of the cooperation and state of the art advancements in science, trade, technology and investments, Netanyahu said, "not only do American companies invest in Israeli companies, but Israeli companies have invested $50 billion in American companies, helping to stimulate the US economy."

In the field of medical research and development, he spoke of the rapid advancements in research of Alzheimer's disease and cancer and spoke of the Israeli invention of a "tiny diagnostic camera that can fit inside a pill" and of the "miraculous bandage that helped to save the life of Arizona congresswoman Gabriella Giffords" who was the victim of an attempted assassination in January.

On the political front, the Prime Minister spoke of the "great convulsion in the Middle East" and "the dangers of a nuclear powered Iran". The simple truth, he said is, "the problems of the region are not rooted in Israel". Illustrating the yearnings for "freedom, progress and a better life" by peoples throughout North Africa and the Middle East, he said that their aspirations are not related to Israel but to their own brutal governments and despotic leadership.

In an indirect manner, he took issue with US President Obama by intoning,"peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not a panacea for problems in the Middle East. Israel is not what is wrong with the Middle East but what is right about the Middle East." Expressing his desire for a just and lasting peace, the Prime Minister said, "We want peace; we know the agony of war; the pain of terror". Stating that the impasse of peace negotiations rests squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinians, he declared, "peace has not been achieved because they (the Palestinians) refuse to recognize the Jewish state".

Firing yet another salvo at President Obama for his recent shift in foreign policy towards Israel that was outlined in his now infamous speech delivered on May 19th, the Prime Minister declared, "Israel must be left with defensible borders and this cannot be achieved with the 1967 lines".

Thanking the US for condemning Hamas in the most vociferous of terms, he also spoke of the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Hamas for five years with not a single visit from the Red Cross. “The whole world should join together with a simple message for Hamas: release Gilad Shalit!” called Netanyahu.
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AIPAC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ADDRESSES UPRISINGS IN THE MIDDLE EAST



AIPAC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ADDRESSES UPRISINGS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BY: FERN SIDMAN

During the morning session of day two of the AIPAC 2011 Policy Conference, the organization's Howard Kohr addressed the recent insurrections in North Africa and the Arab countries of the Middle East. "Think back just one year ago: Which one of us, when people thronged the streets and squares across the Arab world, demanding regime change – which one of us would have predicted they would not be shouting slogans against the United States, or carrying signs slandering Israel? Which one of us would have predicted we would hear those voices crying out against the injustices of their own rulers – crying out for the right to determine their own fates?" he queried.

Despite the initial hopes that the advancement of democracy and freedom would eventually become endemic to these countries Mr. Kohr pointed to the fact that the precise opposite results have unfolded with "America and Israel once more the enemy." Using oblique references to the rise in popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamic elements, Mr. Kohr said, "There are forces – internal and external – in every one of the Arab nations who seek a different ending to the story. Who seek to strengthen the forces of oppression and stifle democracy. Who seek to defeat America and to destroy Israel. Who seek to use this moment of hope to advance their own power and substitute a new era of repression and aggression."

Reminding his audience of the recent January 25th revolution that took place in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Mr. Kohr spoke of fallen president Hosni Mubarak and the ultimate outcomes of the uprising. "Even now, when the dictators have been deposed, that remains their legacy heard today on the Arab Street. Is it any surprise that the fall of a dictator leaves a vacuum – setting off a scramble for power in which the forces of democracy are just one contender among many?"

In stark contrast to the true nature of democratic institutions, Mr. Kohr addressed the underlying anti-Semitism that accompanies the protracted events. "We should all celebrate the genuine green shoots of democracy in the Arab world, but we must never shrink from calling out and condemning anti-Semitic policy under the guise of popular will. True democracy is more than the right to vote. True democracy includes building civil institutions and a sense of civic responsibility. And true democracy can never be rooted in racist hatred." He added, "We have an obligation to urge our policy-makers to do all they can to ensure that Egypt holds to its peace treaty with Israel" and said that this should be an imperative of American foreign policy.

"For 30 years, the prospect of an all-Arab war against Israel has been inconceivable – impossible, without the participation of Egypt. For 30 years, not only Israel, but the United States and the world have benefited in a shared strategic interest that there be no regional war in the Middle East. Should the new Egyptian Government renounce the peace treaty with Israel – the inconceivable becomes possible", he intoned.

Declaring that a post-Mubarak Egypt must maintain its commitment to peace with Israel, Mr. Kohr added that that would include "a continuation of the blockade of Gaza, no rapprochement with Iran and maintaining the integrity of the Suez Canal."

Pertaining the draconian measures employed against pro-democracy protestors by the Syrian government, Mr. Kohr was livid by the abject silence of the world."In Syria – we are witnessing political turmoil not seen in 30 years. What we see there is the raw power of repression. Indiscriminate killing. Mass graves. Tanks rolling through the streets. Secret police going door to door, rounding up thousands of people – torn from their homes, many never to be seen again. Where is the international outrage? Where are the demands that this must stop? And where is the U.N. Security Council Resolution? We applaud last week’s decision by the White House to sanction Assad, and we hope this is the beginning of ratcheted pressure on this regime."

Also addressing the international nemesis that is embodied by Iran, Mr. Kohr declared, "There is one regime whose leaders regularly celebrate the rising masses in every Arab nation – and yet, will not tolerate the smallest street gathering at home. When it comes to Iran – the international community has fallen silent. Yet, Iran is fomenting unrest in Bahrain. They are aiding the crackdown in Syria. Iran is funding Hezbollah, and they are arming Hamas. Iran is projecting its strength by sending naval ships into the Eastern Mediterranean. Iran is running new weapons into the region, and they are encouraging their proxies to probe and provoke Israel. And if that were not enough, Iran just went to the International Atomic Energy Agency and said – “We are ready to implement the next phase of our nuclear program.”


Concerning the ill advised partnership of Fatah and Hamas, Mr. Kohr proffered an astute analysis of the reluctance of the PA leader to takes the steps necessary to create a long-term peace agreement with Israel. "Abbas is ready to go to the ends of the earth but he will not travel the few short steps to sit down with Israel to pursue real peace." Citing Abbas willingness to orchestrate a propaganda campaign against Israel, he said, "So for the past 18 months, he has traveled a long and winding path, taking him farther and farther away from the neighbor he needs to sit down and negotiate with. Instead, Abbas has traveled as far as European and South American capitals, where he has encouraged the de-legitimization of the Jewish state, aimed at sapping Israel’s very ability to defend her own citizens. He has even begun to carve a path to the United Nations to seek a unilateral recognition for statehood. And now, in the last month, he has decided to come back – closer to home and pursue an effort to make peace with Hamas."


Mr. Kohr urged "faith, trust, and confidence between the leaders of Israel and the United States", adding that, "if Israel's foes come to believe that there is diplomatic daylight between the United States and Israel, they will have every incentive to try to exploit those differences and shun peace with the Jewish state."

PRESIDENT OBAMA ATTEMPTS TO SHORE UP SUPPORT AT AIPAC CONFERENCE




PRESIDENT OBAMA ATTEMPTS TO SHORE UP SUPPORT AT AIPAC CONFERENCE


BY: FERN SIDMAN


In an address aimed at placating his disgruntled Jewish supporters, President Barack Obama told his audience of over 10,000 at the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C. on Sunday that "a strong and secure Israel is in the interest of the United States and the bond between our two vibrant democracies must be nurtured."


He maintained that he did not say anything fundamentally new in his Thursday speech,, when he mentioned the "1967 borders" as a basis for future peaceTaking intense criticism from pro-Israel supporters since then, when he called for Israel to negotiate a future Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, he sought to heal wounds by enumerating actions taken by the US to foster Israel's security."We have made the most advanced technologies available to Israel including the 'iron dome' anti-rocket system. We have imposed the toughest sanctions on the Iranian regime as we remain committed to stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We have told the United Nations that it will meet resistance from the US as we stand in steadfast opposition to their efforts to isolate and delegitimize Israel. We responded to the Goldstone report by reasserting our belief that Israel has a right to defend herself", declared President Obama.


Obama said "demographic realities are making it harder to maintain Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state and a just and lasting peace can only be achieved through the establishment of two states for two peoples. Warning that procrastination on a peace deal with the Palestinians will only serve to "undermine" Israel's security, President Obama said that any borders for a proposed Palestinian state would be predicated upon "mutual swaps" and recognition that geo-political realities have changed since 1967. "We must acknowledge that a failure to try and make peace is not acceptable," he said.


He insisted that his statement last week, in which he mentioned the 1949-1967 borders as the basis for a peace agreement, was a continuation of the policy of previous administrations. Regarding the phrase “1967 lines,” Obama repeated part of his Thursday speech verbatim.


“Let me reaffirm what ‘1967 lines with swaps’ means,” he then added. “The parties themselves will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed in 1967. That is what ‘mutually agreed swaps’ means. It allows for the parties to take account of the changes that have taken place over the past 44 years, including demographic facts on the ground and the needs of both sides.”


Disclosing the essence of his meeting on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama said, "As friends often do, we may disagree. We have an open and honest relationship.".


“Core issues can only be negotiated in direct talks between the parties,” he said, and reaffirmed that no country can be expected to negotiate with a terror organization bent on its destruction. Hamas, he said, must recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence and adhere to all existing agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

He called on Hamas to release captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – and received a rousing ovation.

“What I did Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately,” he explained. “I did so because the world is moving too fast for us to wait another decade. Delay will undermine Israel’s security.”


He concluded with a quote from the Talmud, which says that as long as a person breathes, he should not abandon faith.

There was speculation that Obama would use the opportunity to announce a visit to Israel in late June, but he did not do so.

In his speech, which began shortly before 11:00 EDT, Obama told the audience that in his meeting with Binyamin Netanyahu, "We reaffirmed the fundamental truth that the bonds between the U.S. and Israel are unbreakable and the commitment of the US to Israel’s security is ironclad."

The US and Israel do not just share strategic interests or common dangers – like terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons, he said. Rather, America’s commitment to Israel’s security flows from common values.

Obama reminded his audience of his visit to Israel before the 2008 election, and of his meeting with a Sderot boy who lost his leg in a Kassam attack.

He promised to continue to stand up to Hizbullah, and to block any attempt to delegitimize Israel. He cited the Durban conference, from which the US withdrew. “In both word and deed we have been unwavering in our support of Israel’s security,” he told the audience.

The conference is the largest in AIPAC history and includes more than 10,000 delegates, from all 50 states. According to AIPAC, the Policy Conference is the largest annual bipartisan gathering of U.S. senators, representatives, administration officials, diplomats and foreign ambassadors except for the State of the Union address.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GLENN BECK ANNOUNCES "RALLY IN JERUSALEM" IN AUGUST



GLENN BECK ANNOUNCES "RALLY IN JERUSALEM" IN AUGUST

BY: FERN SIDMAN

On Monday, May 16th, FOX news personality and conservative talk show host Glenn Beck announced his intention of organizing a major rally in Jerusalem that is scheduled for August. During his morning radio program, he reminded his listeners of his previous rally, held in Washington, DC on August 28, 2010 called "Restoring Honor" which drew hundreds of thousands of people. Mr. Beck exhorted "all decent people and people of faith" to join him in Jerusalem in a rally called "Restoring Courage". Having recently returned from a trip to Israel, where he visited the Temple Mount, he said upon his departure, "The Temple Mount almost pulsated. I could feel it.”

As a vocal advocate and fervent supporter of Israel, Mr. Beck has made Israel and the Jewish people a focal point of his broadcasts. On Feb. 4, 2011, Mr. Beck offered his prognostications on the revolution in Egypt by telling his television audience that, "If President Hosni Mubarak does step down, however, the Muslim Brotherhood would be the most likely group to seize power. They've openly stated they want to declare war on Israel and they would end the peace agreement with Israel and they would work towards instituting something we told you about, a caliphate."

Often declaring his deeply held conviction that Israel and the Jewish people are being "set up", Mr. Beck has consistently addressed the exponential rise in anti-Semitism. "Old hatreds are coming over the horizon; it's a well-laid plan. Right now, when you're paying $4 a gallon for gasoline, it's tough. Pretty soon, you're going to want somebody to blame. And politicians always are there to give you someone to blame. And mark my words, we will be paying 10 dollars a gallon for gasoline. When that happens and someone comes to you and says, "It's the Jews. It's Israel. If they would just give up Jerusalem. If they would just divide Jerusalem." It is coming. This will be the mantra come September. "If they just divide Jerusalem, they just give it up! Go back to the '67 lines." It's coming", he ruefully observed.

Issuing an impassioned appeal to his listeners earlier today, Mr. Beck warned that Israel is in imminent danger, "Things in Israel are going to get bad. They are going to spread across the Middle East. The things that I've told you are coming, will come. It's only a matter of time." Making an oblique reference to the upcoming meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Beck said, "There are people that will promise you "peace" in the coming months. They are going to attack the center of our faith; our common faith, and that is Jerusalem but it won't be with bullets or bombs. It will be with a two-state solution that cuts off Jerusalem; the Old City, to the rest of the world."

Alluding to the dramatic escalation in global anti-Western and anti-Israel animus, Mr. Beck said, "There are forces in this land, and forces all over the globe that are trying to destroy us, but remember, 'we are the great Satan and Israel is the little Satan'". Offering a historical retrospective, he said, "Many in the history of man have had the opportunity to stand with the Jewish people; Poland, Russia, Germany, and time and time and time again, they have failed."

As a devout Mormon, Mr. Beck spoke of his religious beliefs in the unfolding of geo-political realities. "The only seat of government that can and will solve this problem, with or without us is G-d. It is time to return inside the walls that surround Jerusalem and stand with peoples of all faiths, all around the world." Beseeching his listeners to join the rally in Jerusalem, Mr. Beck exclaimed, "As a citizen of America and a brother in the family of man, I come to you today and ask you to stand; stand with me in Jerusalem."

Candidly admitting that he didn't know how many people would show up, or how much the event would cost, he declared that the rally would be "a life altering event" and warned that the "very gates of hell" would fight his attempts to hold the rally.

FOLLOWING ISRAEL'S LEAD



FOLLOWING THE LEAD OF ISRAEL

BY: FERN SIDMAN

Now that the hoopla over the successful United States "hit" on arch terrorist Osama bin Laden has begun to fade into the annals of history, the stark realization that the US and the free world are still bereft of a concrete plan of action to stem the tide of al-Qaeda terrorism is beginning to set in. Having spent close to 10 years assiduously tracking down the elusive 9/11 mastermind, we hasten to remind the CIA, along with the various and sundry intelligence networks, that the task of eradicating Islamic radicals bent on global domination demands replication of the kind of "muscle" that bagged bin Laden.

Taking a cursory glance at the modern state of Israel's 63-year history and the bold modalities employed to confront the existential perils presented by a veritable panoply of terrorist organizations, it would appear that the Jewish state can teach the world a lesson or two in the area of "focused foiling". Having enshrined targeted assassinations as the pillar of their counter-terrorism doctrine, Israel has succeeded in creating a profound cumulative effect on the vast array of terror organizations in its midst. Leaving Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in a state of obfuscation and disarray through the routine elimination of their leaders; such actions clearly serve as a viable deterrent for those next in line for succession into their predecessors' shoes.

For a brief historical retrospective, let us recall that the long arm of the Mossad often launched surprise attacks terrorists in the most remote locations. In April 1973, Ehud Barak (who was dressed as a woman), led Israeli commandos as they landed in Beirut and "took out" senior members of the Fatah movement including Yusuf Najjar who was Yassir Arafat's deputy and Fatah spokesman Kamal Nasir. Israel also had a direct hand in the 1979 explosion in Beirut that killed Hassan Ali Salamah, founder of Fatah's elite Force 17. In April of 1988, yet another brash operation was undertaken when an Israeli commando force under the leadership of former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon landed in Tunis and killed Khalil al-Wazir, known by his nom de guerre Abu Jihad. This reprehensible miscreant was the head of the PLO's military branch and the second in seniority in the organization.

Subsequent to a bloody barrage of suicide attacks which claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis, agents from the Mossad shot and killed Fathi Shiqaqi, the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in October of 1995 in Malta. Yahya Abdel-Tif Ayyash, the notorious Hamas operative, better known to many by his sobriquet "The Engineer" was the next in line for Israeli retribution when in 1996 he made his last call in Beit Lahya, Gaza using a booby trapped cellular phone that exploded in his hands. For those who don't remember, he was responsible for masterminding suicide attacks in which 50 Israelis died and 340 were wounded.

Other Hamas leaders targeted for their role in the Al-Aqsa intifada of 2000 included Mahmoud Adani, killed in February of 2001, Jamil Jadallah, killed in November 2001, Salah Shahade, killed in July 2002, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, killed in March 2004, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, killed in April 2004 and Adnan al-Ghoul, killed in October 2004. And the list goes on.

In terms of vanquishing terrorism, targeted assassinations can be classified as a measured response in that they exclusively focus on actual perpetrators of militant attacks, while dramatically reducing collateral damage in terms of civilian and non-combatant casualties. In a 2010 article entitled "Targeted Killings Work" that appeared in Infinity Journal, the argument was made that targeted assassinations are a strategy that entails "limited force in support of policy" and that it has proven most successful.

The context of the article specifically related to proclamations from Hamas that called for cease fires and "periods of calm" in 2004 after the hub of their leadership had been targeted by Israeli forces. The article states that Israeli targeted killings throughout "the 2000-2005 armed rebellion represented a successful strategy" because "the tactics never undermined Israeli policy enough to alter Israel’s overall political objectives" and because Hamas' will to perpetuate armed violence was broken, albeit temporarily.

And for those who are of the opinion that targeted killings are extrajudicial; thus standing in direct contravention to the values and norms of a democratic society, let it be known that on December 14, 2006, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that targeted assassination is indeed a legitimate form of self-defense against terrorists.

Perhaps the United States should follow Israel's lead in terms of beefing up their intelligence, getting down to the nitty-gritty and taking the gloves off. Al-Qaeda leaders and others in their coterie have promised to exact revenge against America, its president and its people. One would have to be exceptionally naive at best and abysmally ignorant at worst to take such saber rattling lightly. Let's not forget Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian surgeon who joined a jihadi cell when he was just 15. His militant group Al Jihad is believed to have played a pivotal role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and according to reports, Zawahiri is viewed as al-Qaeda's most significant ideological mouthpiece. Some terrorism experts believe that he was more instrumental in the 9/11 attacks than even bin Laden.

The wanted list, however, doesn't stop here. As a top ranking member of Al Qaeda, Saif Al-Adel was indicted by the United States for his role in the same 1998 bombings in Tanzania and there is speculation that he may now be the military commander of the terrorist group. Also an Egyptian, al-Qaeda member Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah has orchestrated the establishment of terrorist training facilities in Somalia and assisted Saif al-Adel in providing military intelligence and training to al-Qaeda members in the Sudan.

Terrorists come in variant forms, shapes and sizes and are not necessarily limited to minimalist cave dwellers. They can be also be found as heads of state in that bastion of instability known as the Middle East and their names can also be Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad. The time is long overdue to reconsider all options in the ongoing war on terror; to learn lessons from the intrepid Israelis and to prepare to gird our loins for the battles that lie ahead.

JUSTICE HAS ITS DAY



JUSTICE HAS ITS DAY

BY: FERN SIDMAN

There is no doubt that the infamous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 constituted the most definitive moment in modern history. On that frenetic day the world stood still; frozen in time as gruesome memories were etched in our collective psyches for eternity. It was on that day that an elusive, shadowy figure named Osama bin Laden, (who hitherto was considered a parenthetical nemesis) was suddenly and unceremoniously plucked from historical obscurity and catapulted head first into the global amphitheater.

In the days and weeks to follow, we learned of such organizations as al-Qaeda and the Taliban; predicated on a doctrine of religious fanaticism and unadulterated hatred for all things Western; namely the United States. The names and motives seemed more enigmatic to us than the countries in which they originated in, but there was one thing we knew: The man at the helm of this agglomeration of barbaric zealots was responsible for the murder of close to 3000 Americans and it was he that represented an existential peril to the freedoms and liberties that we hold so dear.

So now, it is close to 10 years later, and the wretched life of Osama bin Laden has finally been snuffed out through the legendary doughtiness of US Navy SEALS in a far away compound in Pakistan. Six days after the 9/11 attacks, a reporter queried then President George W. Bush if he wanted bin Laden dead. “I want him — I want justice,” the president answered. “And there’s an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’” We can take some comfort in knowing that the last face that bin Laden saw before his long awaited demise was that of an American serviceman. Over the last 10 years, we have witnessed bin Laden displaying an unabashed insouciance towards the righteous indignation of the US and the free world in a series of grotesque videos that he's released. While endlessly taunting his American adversary; he has also launched acrimonious salvos that are replete with clear indications of future attacks of this magnitude.

While President Obama can use this as a feather in his cap for his re-election bid and bolster his flagging ratings in the foreign policy department, we know that timing is a strange thing and only through a fortuitous confluence of events did US intelligence ultimately pinpoint bin Laden's location and exact long awaited justice. On that note, Pakistan has a lot of explaining to do as it has been revealed that they knew of bin Laden's whereabouts for years while remaining criminally mum on the subject and playing a sinister double game with the United States.

Despite the jubilant news that this foreboding paradigm of evil incarnate has been eradicated, it would be foolhardy to believe that bin Laden's brainchild, namely al-Qaeda, was buried along next to him the North Arabian sea. Al-Qaeda is alive and well, as we've so painfully learned during our military involvement in Iraq. We need only turn our heads to the deadly civil strife plaguing Libya to comprehend that al-Qaeda cells have created an unholy partnership with the NATO backed rebel forces. Only the politically myopic would promulgate the erroneous and dangerous notion that the killing of bin Laden is tantamount to the final chapter of al-Qaeda history and those that emulate their pernicious ethos.

We must remain cognizant of the fact that al-Qaeda will maintain its status as a multinational purveyor of terrorism unless the US remains vigilant in their quest to do real battle with this seemingly intractable foe. At this juncture, we're riding a superlative wave of national pride and inspiration. Let's capitalize on this euphoria, lest we backslide into complacency by listening to the inexhaustably loquacious liberal rantings of certain political pundits and other opinionistas with a skewed perspective on justice.

Al-Qaeda, under bin Laden's leadership, has declared the entire world as fair territory in their holy war against those "recalcitrant" infidels. Let us remember the tourist spots that were bombed in Bali and the passenger trains that were likewise bombed in Spain. Let us never forget the 17 sailors murdered on the USS Cole warship in 2000 and the scores of other US military personnel who were murdered in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Let us remember that prior to 9/11, al-Qaeda was implicated in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, an aborted plot to hijack a dozen jets, the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and a plan to crash a plane into the CIA headquarters and murder President Bill Clinton. Let us also take heed of the fact that al-Qaeda operatives have successfully insinuated themselves into the fabric of the very Western culture that they ostensibly abhor, utilizing technological advancements to further their objectives of global domination.

Case in point: Reports reveal that bin Laden issued "fatwas" (religious decrees) by fax as he lived a purportedly Muslim ascetic existence while declaring his war on Americans through an e-mail that he had beamed by satellite around the world. His al-Qaeda members routinely communicate through encrypted messages on their computers and use CDs to store their bomb-making manuals. Let's face the cold, hard facts. We're not exactly dealing with a rag tag cadre of rogues who are running the revolution from an undisclosed boiler room.

Osama bin Laden is finally dead but the task of extricating his legacy and ridding the world of the evil that he wrought will be a protracted and sometimes grueling battle. Persistence is the key; as we just saw before our very eyes. It took the United States 10 years to "get" bin Laden and it may take many more years to enitrely vanquish his terrorist acolytes, but it is incumbent all of us in the free world to try. Our lives and the lives of our children depend on it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wild Islamism on rise in Bangladesh

By: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury Finally state minister for law, Advocate Qamrul Islam in Bangladesh made open statement expressing his government’s realization that some Islamists and radical clergies are trying to turn Bangladesh into another ‘Afghanistan’. He said, “Few 'fanatics' and 'religion-mongered' want to make the country 'an Afghanistan' by snatching away women rights”. The minister further said, a group of fanatic clergies are conspiring to destabilize the country. This statement came following an Islamist group's protest against the policy, which, they claimed, incorporates anti-Quranic provisions. Islamic Law Enforcement Committee chief Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini, also chairman Islami Oikya Jote, has threatened to enforce a countrywide shutdown on April 4, 2011 unless the 'anti-Quranic provisions' are not revoked. Since past couple of weeks, Islamists are on continuous protests in Bangladesh, which is led by pro-Taliban clergies like Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini and Moulana Rezaul Karim. Both the clergies are infamous for giving instigations to Jihad and anti-West as well as anti-Semitic activities. Islamists are gaining strength in Bangladesh for past few years, as none of the government ever showed sincere attitude in combating such elements fearing reaction from the large number of followers and supporters of radical clergies like Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini or Moulana Rezaul Karim. The rise of such forces that advocate theocratic religious universalism and the creation of an Islamic state did not happen overnight, of course. The interplay between religion and politics in Bangladesh has a long history, and religion has always been susceptible to politicization. The trend is not just pushed along by organized radical groups such as the Hizbut Tahrir, Hizbut Towhid and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami, Bangladesh [HuJI-B], which aim to replace the parliamentary democracy with an Islamic Sharia state. The leading political parties, many foreign-linked charities and non-governmental organizations, and the external environment are all playing a significant role in promoting religious radicalism. The two dominant political parties, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP] and the Bangladesh Awami League [AL], have both emphasized a religious identity at various points. Though the opposition AL has repeatedly accused BNP government, led by Begum Khalida Zia, of forging an unholy alliance with radical Islamic groups, even the AL, which once took pride in its secular identity, has accepted the importance of religion in Bangladesh. AL even formed alliance with Islamists during the general election in 1996, and even in the current government, it has formed alliance with Jatiyo Party, which is headed by former military dictator General Hussain Muhammed Ershad, whose political vision is very similar to those Islamist parties and fronts. The current ruling party, Bangladesh Awami League has readily adopted religious trappings and symbols for its political purposes. Its leaders, despite her strong secular legacy, have begun to carry prayer beads and wear a headscarf of Islamic cap. Public meetings have included Islamic religious proclamations to woo an electorate that is becoming increasingly comfortable with its Islamic identity. On the other hand, the BNP has always been drawn toward right-wing forces. During 2001-2006, the BNP government have witnessed increasing militant activities, including alleged targeted killings of opposition leaders, violence against religious minorities, and terrorist attacks against the personalities and institutions that oppose the creation of an Islamic state. Bangladesh also serves as a logistical hub for transnational extremist groups such as the Arakan Rohingya National Organization [ARNO] and the Rohingya Solidarity Organization [RSO]. These are Myanmar Muslims who claim to be fighting for an autonomous Muslim region in Myanmar's Arakan state. Terrorist groups based in Pakistan and parts of Kashmir, such as the HuJI and the Lashkar-e-Toiba, also managed to set up operational bases in Bangladesh, and a number of Jihadist terrorists entered India via Bangladesh. Attacks in Delhi, Bangalore and Varanasi have all revealed Bangladesh as an important link in the Islamic terrorist network of South Asia. The political parties and terrorist groups are aided by funds received from charities in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in their bid to spread the message of radical Islam to the masses. Despite an embargo on releasing its funds because of alleged terror links, the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society [RIHS] was said to be using bank accounts to run official work without the Bangladeshi government's knowledge. The RIHS provided funds to several terrorist outfits. On the other hand, a huge segment of terror fund to Islamists is channelized through madrassas [Koranic schools]. Since madrassas are educational institutions within the country, they are under the purview of the country’s educational ministry. While almost all funding for these institutions comes from private donors in Saudi Arabia, there is no statute against their regulation by proper national authorities. Bangladesh has been a secular Muslim state since its independence from Pakistan and founding by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971. While its short history has been full of military coup d’├ętats, it has always returned to its roots as a secular democratic state. There are, however, troubling new signs of a shift towards a growing Islamism that could jeopardize the sanctity of secularism in the country.

Monday, March 21, 2011

PUBLIC MEGILLAH READING HELD AT IRANIAN MISSION TO THE UN

PUBLIC MEGILLAH READING HELD AT IRANIAN MISSION TO THE UN

BY: FERN SIDMAN

"Ahmadinejad: Remember What Happened to Haman" was one of the many signs held aloft on Sunday afternoon, March 20th, as close to 500 Jews gathered on Purim day for a public reading of Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther) that was held outside the Iranian mission to the United Nations on Manhattan's east side. Organized by Americans For A Safe Israel (AFSI), Amcha - the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, Z Street and the Jewish Political Education Council, the reading was held as a symbolic representation of the indefatigable nature of the Jewish people and G-d's intervention in their survival throughout the millenium.

"Purim is a day that we celebrate the survival of the Jewish people against evil rulers who sought our complete annihilation in the city of Shushan in Persia. In every generation the names of our oppressors and their countries of origin may change, but they are driven by one common denominator and that is visceral hatred of the Jew", intoned Larry Domnitch, a freelance writer and designated reader of the megillah.

"Today we will read about the plans for mass extermination of the Jewish people designed by the prototypes of evil, namely Achashveirosh and Haman. We are gathered here today to remind the modern day Haman who resides in Iran named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that we will not be silent while he creates his plans to "wipe Israel off the map". As in the days of Queen Esther, we will raise our voices to G-d, seeking His divine intervention and we will boldly speak out against a regime that is not only a nemesis to Israel but to the entire free world," he added.

Glenn Richter, long time Jewish activist and former leader of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, introduced the leaders of the sponsoring organizations as the crowd held specially made Purim groggers with the face of Ahmadinejad and a red line cancelling it out, along with other signs and Israeli flags. "The Obama administration is willfully deluding itself by touting the line that the source of all the problems in the Middle East is due to Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria", he declared. "It is clear that the source of anti-Western and anti-Israel terrorism today emanates from Iran; the very same government that sought to destroy us centuries ago", he added.

During the megillah reading the sounds of acrimony could be heard from a small contingent of Neturei Karta counter-protestors who chanted, "Down, Down, the State of Israel" and held signslambasting Zionism as antithetical to against Judaism. One each occasion that the name of Haman was read aloud, the noise generated by the plethora of groggers and loud boos by those gathered to hear the megillah drowned out the hateful rhetoric of the protestors.

Subsequent to the megillah reading, Helen Freedman of the Americans For A Safe Israel said, "We are putting the government of Iran on notice and we are here today to tell Ahmadinejad and other sponsors of terrorism against Israel and the Western world, that your fate is sealed. Learn from history. When you lift your hand against the Jewish nation, you will succumb to defeat, just as Haman did in Persia and all the others after him."

Sending a strong message to President Obama, Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale declared, "When you weaken Israel, you weaken the United States. When the United States ambassador to the United Nations states that Jewish settlements are illegal you create an atmosphere in which the gruesome murders of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar can take place", he intoned.

Udi Fogel, 37, his wife Ruth, 36 and three of their children, Yoav age 11, Elad 4, and a three month old daughter named Hadas were murdered in cold blood in the Israeli settlement of Itamar on Friday evening, March 11th by Palestinian terrorists connected to Fatah.

Tears filled the eyes of those gathered as Rabbi Weiss delivered an impassioned and emotionally charged address when he listed the names of each member of the Fogel family and asked, "What kind of beasts could have carried out this heinous act of murder?"

Speaking of the innocence and love of 11-year-old Yoav Fogel, ZTK"L, Rabbi Weiss read the words that hung over Yoav's bed: "May it be Your will, Lord God and God of our forefathers, that I love every one of Israel as myself, and to graciously perform the positive commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself. May it also be Your will, Lord God and God of my forefathers, that you cause the hearts of my friends and neighbors to love me fervently, and that I be accepted and desirable to everyone, and that I be loving and pleasant, and that I be gracious and merciful in the eyes of all who see me."

"Our message to the remaining members of the Fogel family and to all our brothers and sisters living in Israel is the same message declared by Queen Esther who said, "gather all of the Jews', all decent people and cry out, "We stand with you!" He reiterated the words of devotion uttered by 12-year-old Tamar Fogel who said after the funerals of her parents and siblings; "Now, I will be the mother" and called upon all of the entire Jewish nation to become active participants in raising this family and all others who are suffering.

"Just as we read in Megillat Esther, we have the power to turn this tragedy in Itamar around", said Rabbi Weiss. He spoke of a millionaire who told the Fogel family, "get used to having me around" as he made a committment to stock their pantry every Sabbath until the youngest child turns 18; and of those who organized the delivery of 108 shalach manos (food packages) to the families of Itamar and of his daughter's wishes to hold his granddaugher's Bat Mitzvah in Itamar as a sign of love and solidarity.

"The message of the "brit", the covenant between the Jewish people and G-d is a simple one and that is, don't give up", said Rabbi Weiss as he led those gathered in rousing chants of "Am Yisroel Chai" (the people of Israel lives).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

DAVID HOROWITZ TAKES ON MUSLIM STUDENTS AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE


DAVID HOROWITZ TAKES ON MUSLIM STUDENTS AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE

BY: FERN SIDMAN

Exceptionally heavy security prevailed at Brooklyn College on Thursday evening, March 10th, as conservative commentator, prolific author and founder of the FrontPage Mag web site, David Horowitz, delivered a lecture in response to the propaganda being promulgated by the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week on campus.

Over 150 people gathered at the college library auditorium to listen to Mr. Horowitz's speech entitled the "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Myths and Facts" and was sponsored and organized by Brooklyn College student Yosef Sobel and Mitchell Langbert, an associate professor in the department of business and economics. "Because the Hillel organization on campus was too afraid to sponsor me, I must thank those who had the courage to do so." said Mr. Horowitz. Despite numerous warnings prohibiting verbal disruptions, bellicose Muslim student hecklers abounded and Mr. Horowitz's remarks were often punctuated by the sounds of acrimonious, ad hominem attacks.

A native New Yorker and a graduate of Columbia University, David Horowitz has led a polemical existence as a one-time self proclaimed Marxist and a former left-wing academic whose political beliefs have now shifted to the right. As one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s, he was also the editor of its most influential magazine, Ramparts. Along with Peter Collier, he is the author of a number of best-selling dynastic biographies on the Rockefellers, the Kennedys, the Fords, and the Roosevelts. With Collier he also wrote "Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the 60s" (1989), a chronicle of their break with the 1960s Left, that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers' "Witness" and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism.

Through the work of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, he champions an array of causes including the defense of the principles of individual freedom as well as the preservation of free societies in the war against the values inherent to Western civilization and the reestablishment of academic freedom in American schools. His recent books include, "Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left" (2004), "Indoctrination U: The Left's War Against Academic Freedom" (2007) and "Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party" (2007).

Making oblique references to the security of Israel, Mr. Horowitz began by ruefully observing, "When I went to college you didn't need all of this security on campus, but things have changed and that's the reason we now need checkpoints on campuses. Checkpoints are essential to defend against terrorists and Jew haters."

Adding that he has been verbally and physically assaulted on campuses around the country for his forthright views, he said, "Our campuses are controlled by liberal fascists and it is a movement to suppress the free speech rights of conservatives. He said that the International Socialist Organization, a Marxist organization, is culpable for creating an academic climate of intimidation and hate. "It is they who spread lies about me and work with their Muslim allies towards the mobilization of radical jihad against the West. The Muslim community needs to stand up and defend democracy in this country and that's what we're all waiting for."

Providing a historical backdrop to the Middle East conflict, Mr. Horowitz said, "There was no Palestine since the days of the Roman conquest of the land of Israel and there certainly was no Palestine in 1946. The war against the Jews started in the form of Pan Arab nationalism and the PLO was created by the KBG. They advised Arafat that the best way to succeed is to play the victim role and say that all they want is their own state and that Israel is occupying Palestine." Saying that the entire region around the Jordan River was created by imperialist powers such as the Ottoman Empire, he intoned that, "Israel was not built on Arab land."

Declaring that he is a "political Zionist", Mr. Horowitz said he believes that the Jewish people have a right to exist and have a right to their own state. Equating such terrorist organizations as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Islamic Republic of Iran as "Nazis in the Middle East", he said that their objective is "not to create a Palestinian state but rather, to push the Jews into the sea" because they can't live alongside a people of another faith. "In 1922, 80 percent of the land of Israel was ceded to become the state of Transjordan that is now ruled by the Hashemite kingdom and there are more Palestinians in Jordan than in Israel", he said, adding that their calls for a Palestinian homeland are eclipsed by their desire to eradicate Israel.

"Democracy is a threat to political Islam and they believe that everyone who is not a Muslim is an infidel and is deserving of death. The Christian population of Bethlehem once stood at 80 percent and is now 12 percent because of Islamic influence," he said.

Addressing the subject of Israeli Apartheid Week on over 55 campuses across North America, Mr. Horowitz said, "Muslims have more rights in Israel than they have in any Arab country in the world" and called the notion of Israel as a state that practices apartheid as "disgusting". Pointing to the sheer hypocrisy of such egregious and fraudulent accusations, Mr. Horowitz said, "If you want to know what real religious and gender apartheid is just look at the entire Muslim Middle East, and not Israel."

Speaking of the political realities in the aftermath of World War II, he said, "12 million ethnic Germans were purged from Poland, but after the state of Israel was established, no one expelled the Arabs, hoping that one day rationality would take hold, but it never did." He said that such organizations as the Muslim Students Association and the Islamic Society of North America who are the chief sponsors of Israeli Apartheid Week are "fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood" and are "hate organizations" that make campuses unwelcome for Jewish students. On campuses around the country, he said, the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week erect an "apartheid wall" and proffered the idea that "a wall of lies" be built to counter their pervasive myths and distortions of the truth. Speaking of the well known Saudi Arabian funding of Middle East Studies departments at Western universities, Mr. Horowitz suggested that this is the impetus for the inextricable links between Muslim organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Calling the expulsion of close to 10,000 Jews from Gaza in the summer of 2005 as part of the disengagement a "mistake", Mr. Horowitz said, "a normal people in a normal state would never have done so, but would have driven out the 1.2 million Arabs because they are possessed by hate as manifested in their violent destruction of the thriving horticultural industry that the Jewish population had created there and their incessant rocket assaults on such towns as Sderot."

Taking aim at the ubiquitous political zeitgeist that views the Palestinians as a nation of oppressed refugees, Mr. Horowitz intoned, "No people have shown themselves as so morally sick as the Palestinians", adding that, "In the history of all mankind, there was never a people who strapped bombs on their bodies and killed innocent people. No other people have sunk so low as the Palestinians and everyone is afraid to say it." Describing Islam as a religion possessed by "hate, violence and racism", he said that a resolution to the protracted Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio could is not beyond reach. "If you disarm the Palestinians in the Middle East there will be peace, but if you disarm the Jews there will be further death and destruction."

"How is it that Jews do not get the narrative?" he queried. "The Palestinians are suffering, but it is not by the hand of the Jew, but rather their true oppressors are Hamas and Hezbollah" he said. Calling the Palestinian Authority a "terrorist government", Mr. Horowitz said, "when we see hate we must call it so, we must label the enemy as who they are". "The Palestinians don't want peace. How can you negotiate with those who won't recognize Israel's right to exist? Look what happened to those Arab leaders that have tried to establish peace with Israel. They were assassinated by radical Islamist elements."

Extolling the idea that "jihadist murderers" are tantamount to "Nazis and blatant Jew haters", he said although they may appear to be perfectly decent, nice people, a great many of them support Osama Bin Ladin and like minded genocidal murderers. "Hitler did not publicly announce his 'final solution' in the fear that the German people were too civilized to accept it, but Ahmadinejad proudly and publicly announces his version of the 'final solution' and no Islamists condemn him. To the contrary, they cheer him on and embrace his vision."

Challenging the belief that America is an Islamophobic country, Mr. Horowitz said, "Muslims are treated with kid gloves in America and are a protected species." He said that 8 to 10 times more hate crimes are committed against Jews than there are against Muslim in America. Pointing to the case of the Holyland Foundation, a purported Islamic charity that was found guilty of funding terrorism on the West Bank by their direct contributions to Hamas, Mr. Horowitz said that the unindicted co-conspirators in this case were the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and that there has been "no significant condemnation of this group or others of this ilk". He unabashedly condemned Hamas as a "fanatically religious, Jew hating, America hating, Nazi organization."

During the question and answer period, a male Muslim student implied that a witch-hunt cabal was taking place and drew a parallel between Mr. Horowitz and the late Senator Joseph McCarthy, adding that Horowitz was a racist. When asked by Mr. Horowitz if the student would condemn Hamas, the student refused to do so, but proceeded to engage in further equivocation. Referring to Mr. Horowitz as an "ignorant racist" a female Muslim student who identified herself only as Magdalene said, "he has no proof of anything that he's said here tonight", adding that women in Muslim countries are "not persecuted by the rules of Sharia law but by draconian dictators who serve American political puppets."

According to Lauren Kunis, a pro-Israel supporter who sought entry into the auditorium but was denied, "I had wanted to bring my Israeli flag in with me and was told by the Brooklyn College security that I couldn't. I told them that I'd wear the flag around my neck as the Arab members of the audience were wearing keffiyahs around their necks. I was then strong armed out by an African American security guard, who I've learned is the Brooklyn College deputy director of security. She accused me of making a ruckus and then called other police officers to escort me to the gate and out of the college. Seems like anyone who takes a proud pro-Israel position is considered a troublemaker and an enemy on campuses today."

Friday, March 4, 2011

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES OF WOMEN IN IRAN SPOTLIGHTED NEAR THE U.N.


HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES OF WOMEN IN IRAN SPOTLIGHTED NEAR THE U.N.

BY: FERN SIDMAN

Graphic depictions of the most egregious forms of human rights abuses against women in Iran took center stage at a special seminar in New York City on March 3rd. Sponsored by "Iran180", an organization dedicated to spotlighting the litany of human rights abuses that take place on a daily basis in Iran, the seminar was entitled, "Securing Gender Equality: Iran and the CSW". Held at 777 UN Plaza, a building directly across the street from the United Nations, the objectives of the gathering included raising awareness of Iran's violations of women's rights and the staging of symbolic protests against the welcoming of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the newest member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women at its 56th session.

Among the speakers were the Honorable David Kilgour, J.D., co-chair of the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran - Shabnam Assadollaki, host and producer of Hamseda Persian Radio in Canada - Fakhteh Luna Zamani, CEO and co-founder of the Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran - Renee Redman of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center - Reza Khalil, former Iranian Revolutionary Guard member and author of "A Time To Betray", winner of the 2010 National Best Books Award - Fariba Davoodi, a formerly imprisoned Iranian women's rights activist, and Mertash Rastegar, an Iranian blogger and international law expert.

Quoting the findings of exiled Iranian lawyer, Zohreh Arshadi, Mr. David Kilgour, co-chair of the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran intoned, "the Iranian penal system is a principal means of sustaining inequality of genders. Its ludicrous premise is that women are deficient in abilities." He added that Arshadi stresses that Iranian women, "have managed to achieve equality in one field only: equal right to imprisonment, exile, torture, being killed and now being slaughtered..."

Speaking of the many Iranian women who are unjustly imprisoned, tortured and often sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit, Mr. Kilgour relayed the narrative of Sakineh Ashtiani, a mother of Turkic descent (a minority known to be targeted for human rights abuses, especially in Teheran) who did not speak Farsi or understand her charge of alleged adultery. "She was incarcerated and beaten, then humiliated in front of her family by a public lashing. Her plight and narrow escape from death by stoning became a successful test case for the global community's response to the regime's misogyny," he said.

Mr. Kilgour also spoke of Irwin Cotler, a Canadian member of parliament and chair of the Inernational Responsibility to Protect Coalition who recently warned that Iran is on an "execution binge", while engaging in a "wholesale assault on the rights of its own people." He added that, "in 2011 alone, the Iranian regime has already executed at least 120 people. It now leads the world in per capita executions, many of which are in secret, taking place after arrests, detentions, beatings, torture, kidnappings, disappearances, and brief trials in which no evidence is presented."

Calling for the disqualification of Iran's membership in the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Mr. Kilgour suggested that the CSW convene a special session to discuss women's rights in Iran and act in its capacity to stop the repression of women. "It is our responsibility to act in robust solidarity with the struggle for women's rights everywhere across Iran," he concluded.

Addressing the issues facing ethnic minority women in Iran, Fakhteh Zamani of the Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP) said, "In Iran, as throughout the world, women are victims of violence on a daily basis but Iran's justice system provides little or no remedy to the obstacles and violence facing women and girls." She noted that women are not encouraged to bring complaints against their attackers for fear of bringing, "dishonor" on the family as well as reprisals from the attacker and relatives.

Quoting the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Ms. Zamani said, "discriminatory law in both the civil and penal codes in Iran play a major role in enpowering men and aggravating women's vulnerability to violence. In particular, discriminatory provisions in the civil code relating to the areas of marriage, child custody, freedom of movement and inheritance may lead to, perpetuate or legitimize violence against women perpetrated by private actors."

Highlighting the ubiquitous phenomenon of trafficking in or girls and women, Ms. Zamani said that the UN Special Rapporteur reported that, "most of the trafficking is said to occur in the eastern provinces, which are mainly Baluchi areas, where women are kidnapped, bought or entered into temporary marriage in order to be sold into sexual slavery in other countries." Concluding with an oft quoted phrase used amongst Iran's women human rights defenders, she said, "We are both women and minorities; so, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, we are doubly accused."

"I am absolutely opposed to the imposition of Sharia law," declared Shabnam Assadollahi, the producer and host of the Canadian based Hamseda Persian radio program. "Sharia law tells us that female hair has evil energy and those women's rights activists in Iran who refused to wear head coverings were beaten and tortured while their children watched," she said. She detailed gruesome accounts of torture of women in Iran saying, "young girls and virgins were raped prior to being executed and after execution their bodies were burned and electrocuted."

Fulminating at the decision to include the Islamic Republic of Iran on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Ms. Assadollahi said, "There is no place for Iran on this commission. Just think about the arrogance of this regime to judge others concerning gender equality and human rights."

Speaking in her native Farsi with an interpreter, Fariba Davoodi, an Iranian women's rights activist told of her incarceration in Iran and the barbaric tortures that were inflicted upon her by her captors. "It is the common aspiration of all Iranian women to be free", she said. "When the regime came to arrest me for my activism on behalf of women's rights, they beat me up in front of my children and brought me to their notorious prison where I was kept in solitary confinement in a tiny cell where I was interrogated for long periods of time; where tey kept the lights on all the time and forced me to shower in front of them."

"The fear that women's rights advocates in Iran have is not only from the repressive government but from male family members including husbands, fathers and brothers," she said. Trying to remain optimistic about the future of Iran as it pertains to women's rights is a daunting challenge for women such as Ms. Davoodi. "We hope that very soon we will live in a free and democratic Iran, but so long as the regime stays in power, our hopes will not be realized," she said.

Monday, February 21, 2011

"ANTI-ZIONISM IS THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM" - SAYS DR. PHYLLIS CHESLER


"ANTI-ZIONISM IS THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM" - SAYS DR. PHYLLIS CHESLER

BY: FERN SIDMAN

Israel National News caught up with frequent op-ed contributor, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, as she delivered remarks at a first-of-its-kind conference in Toronto entitled, "When Middle East Politics Invade Campus" on February 16th. No stranger to the lecture circuit or to controversy, Dr. Chesler's appearance at this seminal intellectual forum served as the epicenter of the conversation on the continued and increasingly hostile demonization of Israel, both on the college campus and in the media.

FS: Today, you addressed the escalating hatred of Israel in the realm of the Western academy. Can you tell us your observations of this phenomenon since your book, "The New Anti-Semitism" came about some years ago?

PC: As I first wrote in 2001-2002, the new anti-Semitisim also consists of a rather frightening, genocidal anti-Zionism. The global demonization of Israel has gathered such speed and force that it could, potentially – it is certainly meant to – delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state. In 2005, Iran’s Ahmadinejad said that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” In 2006, he said that the Middle East would be better off “without the existence of the Zionist regime” and that Israel would “soon be wiped out.”

In 2011, Many signs and placards in Cairo, including the many effigies of Hosni Mubarak, all bore Stars of David; Mubarak was accused of being a Zionist—the worst epithet imaginable. Predictably, on February 11, 2011, the anniversary of the so-called 1979 Iranian revolution, President Ahmadinejad congratulated the triumphant Egyptians. He said: “Despite all the West’s complicated and Satanic designs…a new Middle East is emerging without the Zionist regime and U.S. interference, a place where the arrogant powers will have no place.” Israel is under the most profound, even existential siege.

On February 13, 2011, the Israeli government urged Israelis to return home from the Sinai for fear “that the peninsula will become a launching pad for terror attacks as Egyptian police abandon their posts.” Thus, Israel is now surrounded by Hamas in Gaza, Iran’s Hezbollah in Lebanon, potentially the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the various Islamist and jihadist groups on the West Bank. In addition, let’s not forget that in the early years of the Intifada, Israeli civilians were murdered and maimed in huge numbers. Had the equivalent happened in the United States it would have instantly launched World War IV.

FS: Do you think the Egpytian people will eventually embrace a civilian government that is predicated on secular, democratic principles?

PC: Please remember that the women in Tahrir Square were mainly wearing serious hijab and even niqab. They are already pro-Islamist. According to a June 2010 Pew Research opinion survey of Egyptians, it stated that, “Fifty nine percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics….Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion."

What will it mean that such a population can vote? Will the vote be any different than the vote which elected Hamas in Gaza? Without the necessary precursors: the rule of law, a constitutional system of checks and balances, the separation of mosque and state, freedom of religion, a free press, education, women’s rights, human rights, a modern economic base, etc. the vote does not mean that true democracy exists.

FS: Many speakers here today have spoken of the inherent danger of defending Israel against such accusations of the kind of racism that apartheid represents. You have, on many occasions, addressed audiences on various campuses about this very issue. Can you tell us your experience in doing so?

PC: The campuses have become increasingly and aggressively anti-Israel and pro-Islam. Today, anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism. “Brownshirt” behavior rules the day. Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents are met with menace, if they are invited to speak at all and pro-Israel truth tellers are not even invited to speak. Israel is not an apartheid nation. Muslim countries persecute non-Muslim minorities. The Arab Middle East is “judenrein,” Arab Christians are under siege. Say this on most campuses, as I have, and you will be jeered, booed, possibly physically menaced, certain demonized afterwards as a “racist” and “Islamophobe.” You will lose your publishing contacts and your former feminist political world. You will not be invited to speak by Women’s Studies programs. My work on Islamic gender apartheid has been attacked in these quarters.

FS: You mentioned today that your former feminist associates have shunned you for documenting the horrors of Islamic gender apartheid. You also mentioned their reluctance to speak out on this issue. Why do you think that is the case?

PC: Islamic gender apartheid is a human rights violation and cannot be justified in the name of cultural relativism, tolerance, anti-racism, diversity, or political correctness. The battle for women's rights is central to the battle for Europe and for Western values.

FS: Do you have any statistics on the number of Israelis who have lost their lives due to the forces of radical Islam?

PC: Based on an American population of approximately 310 million, the Israeli civilian death count is the equivalent of 48,700 Americans killed by terrorists on our own soil, in pizza parlors, on buses, at Passover sedorim, in our beds. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, between 2001 and 2007, 8,342 Israelis were wounded by terrorist attacks, including 5,676 civilians. This is the equivalent of 340,000 wounded Americans.

FS: Do you believe that there are any Muslims who would publicly oppose the forces radical Islam if given the opportunity?

PC: Yes, moderate, radical, and extremely brave anti-Islamist Muslims do exist. They are endangered in their birthplaces and mainly live in exile where Western governments do not call upon them for their views. Governments instead prefer the views of Islamists and terrorists whom they refer to as “moderates.”

FS: In your opinion, who is in the forefront of disseminating the ubiquitous myths about Israel?

PC: The politically correct line is that Israel, tiny Israel, is the “Nazi, Apartheid state.” Only Orwell would understand this misuse of language, this reversal of logic, which is meant to confuse and brainwash people. Such brainwashing has worked. Sixty years of Soviet and Arab League activism and Saudi monies have accomplished the unbelievable. Israel is not only the “bad guy,” it is the “very worst bad guy” in the entire universe.

FS: What is your message for those who are indifferent to the growing scourge of Islamic propaganda and terrorism?

PC: We, the world’s civilians, are now all Israelis. The same world which refused to stop the airplane hijackings and suicide killers which blew up countless Israeli civilians has now inherited this whirlwind. As they say: It may start with the Jews but it never ends there.

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HONORARY MEMBERS
of

Muslims Against Sharia
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Hasan Mahmud

ANTI-FASCISTS of ISLAM
Prominent.Moderate.Muslims
Tewfik Allal
Ali Alyami & Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
Zeyno Baran
Brigitte Bardet
Dr. Suliman Bashear
British Muslims
for Secular Democracy

Center for Islamic Pluralism
Tarek Fatah
Farid Ghadry &
Reform Party of Syria

Dr. Tawfik Hamid
Jamal Hasan
Tarek Heggy
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser &
American Islamic
Forum for Democracy

Sheikh Muhammed Hisham
Kabbani & Islamic
Supreme Council of America

Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh
Nibras Kazimi
Naser Khader &
The Association
of Democratic Muslims

Mufti Muhammedgali Khuzin
Shiraz Maher
Irshad Manji
Salim Mansur
Maajid Nawaz
Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
& Cultural Institute of the
Italian Islamic Community and
the Italian Muslim Assembly

Arifur Rahman
Raheel Raza
Imad Sa'ad
Secular Islam Summit
Mohamed Sifaoui
Mahmoud Mohamed Taha
Amir Taheri
Ghows Zalmay
Supna Zaidi &
Islamist Watch /
Muslim World Today /
Council For Democracy And Tolerance
Prominent ex-Muslims
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Magdi Allam
Zachariah Anani
Nonie Darwish
Abul Kasem
Hossain Salahuddin
Kamal Saleem
Walid Shoebat
Ali Sina & Faith Freedom
Dr. Wafa Sultan
Ibn Warraq

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ISLAMIC FASCISTS
Islamists claiming to be Moderates
American Islamic Group
American Muslim Alliance
American Muslim Council
Al Hedayah Islamic Center (TX)
BestMuslimSites.com
Canadian Islamic Congress
Canadian Muslim Union
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Dar Elsalam Islamic Center (TX)
DFW Islamic Educational Center, Inc. (TX)
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (Closed)
Ed Husain & Quilliam Foundation
Islamic Association for Palestine (Closed)
Islamic Association of Tarrant County (TX)
Islamic Center of Charlotte (NC) & Jibril Hough
Islamic Center of Irving (TX)
Islamic Circle of North America
Islamic Cultural Workshop
Islamic Society of Arlington (TX)
Islamic Society of North America
Masjid At-Taqwa
Muqtedar Khan
Muslim American Society
Muslim American Society of Dallas (TX)
Muslim Arab Youth Association (Closed)
Muslim Council of Britain
Muslims for Progressive Values
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Muslim Public Affairs Council (UK)
Muslim Students Association
National Association of Muslim Women
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