Saturday, July 30, 2005

Steve Emerson: "The American Islamic Leaders' 'Fatwa' is Bogus"

It would be very interesting to see this debated, since a Fatwa against Terrorism is supposedly what the Free World has been looking for all this time. In any event, this is a very strange development:
In fact, the fatwa is bogus. Nowhere does it condemn the Islamic extremism ideology that has spawned Islamic terrorism. It does not renounce nor even acknowledge the existence of an Islamic jihadist culture that has permeated mosques and young Muslims around the world. It does not renounce Jihad let alone admit that it has been used to justify Islamic terrorist acts. It does not condemn by name any Islamic group or leader. In short, it is a fake fatwa designed merely to deceive the American public into believing that these groups are moderate. In fact, officials of both organizations have been directly linked to and associated with Islamic terrorist groups and Islamic extremist organizations. One of them is an unindicted co-conspirator in a current terrorist case; another previous member was a financier to Al-Qaeda.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Robert Spencer: "The war on terror is over!"

Spencer is typically provocative. Here is his opening paragraph:
Some time ago I suggested in an article that the phrase "war on terror" be discarded in favor of a more forthright acknowledgement that we are defending ourselves against a global jihad. And the good news today is that the Administration has, after over a year, heeded my advice and discarded the "war on terror" label. The bad news, however, is that we are no farther than we were before from being honest about what we are really up against. Who can defeat an enemy he is afraid to name? But in any case, we are now fighting "a global struggle against violent extremism."

Hugh Hewitt on the Ressam Sentencing

Hewitt does a good job of identifying what is wrong with this picture:
Whatever the message the judge hoped to send, the one he in fact did send was to Islamicists all around the globe: Come to America. Try and kill us. Either you succeed and get to your version of heaven, or you'll get a second chance 22 years later after spending a couple of decades setting up networks that can help you with round 2.

The arrogance of this renegade judge's lecture is simply beyond belief. Congress should summon the judge to testify as to his inane remarks, but precede and follow his appearnce with panels comprised of vitims of terror and the families of military killed in the war.

I am ashamed to say Judge Coughenour is a Reagan appointee.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Salim Mansur on "The myth of the 'moderate' Muslim"

This is typical of the point of view of sites such as Jihad Watch, which is where I learned of this essay. The idea seems to run counter to the views of writers such as Daniel Pipes. See, for instance, Pipes' essay "The Evil isn't Islam," (which does not save him from being vilified by the likes of CAIR.) Here is an excerpt:
The truth is there does not exist an identifiable body of Muslims, substantive in number or an outright majority, who could be described as "moderate" by their repudiation of Muslim extremists.

Violence has been an integral part of Muslim history, irrespective of whether it is sanctioned by Islam, and Muslims who unhesitatingly use violence to advance their political ambitions have created a climate within their faith-culture that any Muslim who questions such practice is then deemed apostate and subject to harm.

Consequently, what might pass for "moderate" Muslims, the large number of Muslims unaccounted for as to what they think, in practical terms constitute a forest within which extremists are incubated, nurtured, given ideological and material support, and to which they return for sanctuary.

I don't endorse either view, and for that matter I wouldn't even describe myself as knowledgeable about Islam, but this is a fascinating and important debate.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Joseph Farah: "No to 'disengagement'"

More against disengagement:
And make no mistake about it, that is the only reason the Jews of Gush Katif and other communities in Gaza and the West Bank are being forced out – because they are Jews.

Imagine this happening in any other part of the world. Imagine any other religious or ethnic group being told they have to abandon their homes and businesses because a budding new government has no use for them. Imagine any other peaceful group of people being forced off their land because of appeasement to a terrorist enemy.

(Hat tip: Disengagement)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Powerline's Paul Mirengoff on "Paving the Way for Hamas"

The Powerline post is actually based on an article by Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post. According to Glick:
The tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens – estimates of their actual numbers run between 30,000 and 60,000 – were exercising their democratic right to protest the government's plan to expel 10,000 Israelis from Gaza and northern Samaria and destroy the communities they built from sand next month. The protesters oppose this plan for moral reasons. It is simply obscene, they say, to carry out these expulsions. These people are set to be thrown out of their homes and their farms just because they are Jews.

Israel receives nothing in return. These people's homes will be either destroyed or turned over to the same Palestinian terrorist forces that have been attacking them continuously for the past five years. Their hothouses and livestock are set to be turned over to the Palestinians as well.

I am framing this as a link to Powerline because we need to mobilize the blogosphere against the Gaza pull-out.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Barbara Lerner on being "Eyeless in Gaza"

I just got finished complaining about the lack of high-profile conservatives speaking out against the Gaza pullout, and here I see, thanks to LGF, that I missed this article in the National Review Online:

The good news is that unlike the Biblical Samson, we are not irrevocably blind, only seduced and blindfolded by a mix of propaganda, ideology, and wishful thinking that prevent us from seeing reality. If we tear off our blindfold and call a halt to the Gaza retreat before August 17, we will save ourselves and our friends in Iraq much anguish, and save our Israeli friends and perhaps our Lebanese friends too. And if we do it boldly, proclaiming our determination to defeat Islamofascist terror in Gaza as we are defeating it in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will bring a final American victory much closer.

P. David Hornik on "Israel's Delusionary Politics"

The blogs are currently focused on the new London bombings and the Roberts confirmation. However, the most important currently-unfolding story, in my opinion, is Israel's planned disengagement from Gaza. If it takes place, G-d forbid, the terrorists will be simply handed a major victory. It would be nice to see some high-profile political writers stating this, but here is some sanity:
. . . Israel is reaping the results of its democratist policy as Palestinian terror erupts both within and outside pre-1967 Israel, taking a renewed toll of dead and maimed among Israeli civilians.

Democratist? This is a mindset found in democracies whereby military matters are interpreted as political, and clear threats are dealt with via appeasement and vague hopes that foes will turn pacific and reasonable. The above words by the head of Israeli military intelligence show that Israel’s highest echelons knew perfectly well that it was squandering the military gains of its stepped-up campaign against the terror masters, allowing mass-murder organizations to rearm, and virtually inviting another onslaught.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Honest Reporting Asks: "Who Broke the Ceasefire?"

Last week was particularly deadly, with an Islamic Jihad suicide bombing outside a Netanya mall that killed five and wounded 90 Israelis, and Hamas rocket attacks over the Gaza border that claimed the life of 22-year old Dana Glakowitz, who had been sitting on her porch.

In response to these ongoing attacks, Israel acted against the Hamas leadership. Two major media outlets defied all logic and chronology to claim that it was Israel's response that 'ended' the ceasefire . . .

Saturday, July 16, 2005

New York Times Story on Angry Muslims

There is a link to this story on many blogs. I would like to comment on the following from one of the Muslims interviewed:
"We know that the killing of innocents is forbidden," Dr. Waheed said. "But we don't see two classes of blood; the blood of Iraqis is just as important to us as English blood." He emphasized that they in no way condoned the bombings. "But when you understand things from that perspective, why should we condemn the bombing?"
Is this really the voice of someone angered about the spilling of "the blood of Iraqis"? Who exactly has been doing the most spilling of Iraqi blood lately and by what means? That wouldn't be Islamic radicals carrying out suicide attacks, would it? So isn't that an odd rationale for one to become an Islamic radical carrying out suicide attacks? I think we are dealing here with Muslims who have become adept at whining to liberal reporters. They are at least honest in admitting that they are angry, but they are reluctant to reveal the true nature of their anger. I would guess that they cannot stand the thought of an Infidel country invading a Moslem one.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A few Interesting Bits from a Current AP Story

The story is entitled "Support for bin Laden falls in Muslim countries." Here is Interesting Bit #1:
When asked what caused Islamic extremism, 40 percent in Lebanon and 38 percent in Jordan blamed U.S. policies and influence; in Morocco, Pakistan and Turkey, respondents were more likely to blame poverty, unemployment or poor education.

Notice that recruiting by exremists and extremist education
never come up as causes. I don't even think that the latter
is what is meant by "poor education."

Here is Interesting Bit #2:
Anti-Jewish sentiment was overwhelming in the Muslim countries. In Lebanon, 100 percent of Muslims and 99 percent of Christians said they had a very unfavorable view of Jews, while 99 percent of Jordanians also viewed Jews very unfavorably.

No comment.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Recycled Usenet Post # 2: Eight Varieties of Instant Potato Pancake Mix

This is from Oct 15, 2001, and it is actually my inaugural post to

Why is it that when a supermarket has a few feet of shelf-space devoted to kosher food, the food itself is completely lame and without interest? When is the last time you had the urge to buy a big jar of borscht? If they are only going to stock 15 items, why do 5 of them have to be jar gefilte fish? Why are there four kinds of egg noodles? A whole store devoted to nothing but kosher food doesn't have as much matzah as this stupid little two feet of kosher food in the regular supermarket. I feel like grabbing the supermarket manager and screaming at him, "Would you buy this garbage?! What makes you think I want to buy it?! Agghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I wonder if I should get credit for inventing the Howard Dean scream?

Michael Ledeen on, ahem, "The Jews"

On the NRO homepage this article is called "What do Iraq and Israel have in common?" A sample:

The final component of British blindness on the subject of the Middle East is one we are not supposed to talk about in good company: the Jews. Yet I don't know any country this side of the Levant in which there has been so much anti-Semitism, so many complaints that "Zionists," "Likudniks," "Jewish hawks," and — the single epithet that sums up all of the above — "neocons" had manipulated America and its poodle Blair into the ghastly blunder of Iraq. The BBC has devoted hours of radio and television to slanderous misrepresentations of places like the American Enterprise Institute, where I sit, and of such Jewish luminaries as Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, and Paul Wolfowitz. Sometimes it seemed one was reading translations from the Saudi or Egyptian or Iranian press, so total was the hatred of the Jews.

Mark Steyn: "Islam does incubate terrorism"

A sample:
Among those of us who aren't Muslim, meanwhile, there's a stampede to be first to the microphone to say that "of course" we all know that "the vast majority of Muslims" are not terrorists but law-abiding peace-loving people who share our revulsion at these appalling events, etc.

Mr Blair won that contest on Thursday, followed closely by Brian Paddick and full supporting cast. If "of course" Mr Blair and Mr Paddick and the rest do indeed know that "the vast majority of Muslims" do not favour terrorism, is that because they've run the numbers and have a ballpark figure on the very very very slim minority of Muslims who do? And, if so, what is it? 0.02 per cent? Or two per cent? Or 20 per cent?

And, if they haven't run the numbers, why do they claim to speak with authority on this matter? If it were just a question of rhetorical sensitivity, I'd be happy to go along with Mr Paddick's multiculti pap and insist that "Islam and terrorism don't go together" - events in Beslan, Bali, Israel, Nigeria, Kashmir, etc, notwithstanding. But the danger in separating "Islam" from "terrorism" is that it leads the control-freaks of the nanny state into thinking that "terrorism" is something that can be dealt with by border security, ID cards, retinal scans, metal detectors. It can't.

Terrorism ends when the broader culture refuses to tolerate it. There would be few if any suicide bombers in the Middle East if "martyrdom" were not glorified by imams and politicians, if pictures of local "martyrs" were not proudly displayed in West Bank grocery stores, if Muslim banks did not offer special "martyrdom" accounts to the relicts thereof, if schools did not run essay competitions on "Why I want to grow up to be a martyr".

Daniel Pipes on "Weak Brits, Tough French"

A sample:

Counterterrorism specialists disdain the British. Roger Cressey calls London "easily the most important jihadist hub in Western Europe." Steven Simon dismisses the British capital as "the Star Wars bar scene" of Islamic radicals. More brutally, an intelligence official said of last week's attacks: "The terrorists have come home. It is payback time for … an irresponsible policy."

While London hosts terrorists, Paris hosts a top-secret counterterrorism center, code-named Alliance Base, the existence of which was recently reported by the Washington Post. At Alliance Base, six major Western governments have since 2002 shared intelligence and run counterterrorism operations - the latter makes the operation unique.

(Hat tip: Little Green Footballs)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Save Gush Katif

Some reasons not to pull out of Gaza:

Reward for terror

Terror regimes all over the world see it as a "cave in" which undermines our position of no concessions and no negotiations with terrorists.

Blow to democracy

Gives prestige to the P.L.O./P.A., the most corrupt and repressive Arab regime in the Mideast. It's a fatal blow to moderate, democracy-minded Palestinians.

Undermines our Mideast allies

Pro Western regimes like Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar will become destabilized and risk radicalization.

Strengthens our global rivals

Facilitates the road to a reassertive Russia in the Mideast via arms sales to the P.L.O./P.A. China and North Korea are also making deals with the P.L.O./P.A.

Undermines Egyptian/Israeli Peace Agreement

Erases the DMZ & puts Egyptian & Israeli forces face-to-face for the first time in 26 years.

Ignores the plight of Christians

The handover of Bethlehem to the P.L.O./P.A. in 1995 caused a mass exodus of Christians resulting from assault, rape, murder and intimidation.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

John Derbyshire on "The Calculus of Appeasement"

On the National Review Online homepage, this article is entitled "Britain will do a Spain. I am sure of it." A sample:
I don’t mean to imply that the British are mean or cowardly. If a man seeks to steal my car, burn my house, and assault my wife, it would indeed be cowardly of me to appease him; but if a man shows up to break a couple of my windows every third or fourth year, he is just a nuisance, not a threat, and there would be nothing dishonorable in paying him off for a few hundred dollars, if the law could not help me. Back in the 1930s, many English people thought that appeasing the kaiser in 1914 would have been a wiser policy that rushing to the aid of Belgium, and would have saved the nation from a ghastly catastrophe and millions dead and maimed. Some respectable historians agree. When Hitler showed up, appeasement was therefore the natural response. It might have worked, if Hitler had not been Hitler. However, no English person of today thinks that Osama bin Laden is Hitler. Appeasement of the jihadists is a rational course of action.

Is it the correct course of action? I don’t myself believe it is. I believe that weapons of mass destruction alter the old logic, in ways that not many people outside America — and not a very satisfactory number inside, come to think of it — have thought through. I support the war on terror; would, in fact, support a much more vigorous and ruthless one.

Make sure to follow the link in the passage just quoted.

Daniel Pipes on the "British 'Covenant of Security' with Islamists"

Pipes explains:
Covenant of security? What is that? In an August 2004 story in the New Statesman, "Why terrorists love Britain," Jamie Campbell cited the author of Inside Al Qaeda, Mohamed Sifaoui, as saying, "it has long been recognized by the British Islamists, by the British government and by UK intelligence agencies, that as long as Britain guarantees a degree of freedom to the likes of Hassan Butt [an overtly pro-terrorist Islamist], the terrorist strikes will continue to be planned within the borders of the UK but will not occur here."

However, now:
But in January 2005, Mr. Mohammed determined that the covenant of security had ended for British Muslims because of post-September 11, 2001, anti-terrorist legislation that meant "the whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb," or territory open for Muslim conquest. Therefore, in a reference to unbelievers, "the kuffar has no sanctity for their own life or property."

The country had gone from safe haven to enemy camp. To renew the covenant of security would require British authorities to undo that legislation and release those detained without trial. If they fail to do so, British Muslims must "join the global Islamic camp against the global crusade camp."

Interesting, right?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

And now for some Torah . . .

Recently Joshua Waxman introduced his newly created blog on soc.culture.jewish.moderated:
I recently started a Rif blog that posts the Rif in scan and
translation, keeping approximate pace with Daf Yomi.

Rif is shorter than the daf because he removes agada and much of the
back and forth of the gemara, while adding analysis to arrive at a
halachic conclusion, though from a sfardi position. As a result, it is
a great supplement or alternative to daf yomi.

You can check it out:

I can only say Hatzlachah Rabbah and Yasher Koach!

Mark Steyn observes: The quiet-life option ensures that attacks go on

Other blogs already have exceprts, so I'll just provide a link.

Friday, July 08, 2005

LGF on "Payday for Hamas"

Charles Johnson observes:
The G8 responded to the London attacks by handing a huge payoff to the society that, perhaps more than any other, breeds and fuels the terrorist ethos

All the recent LGF posts on the London bombing are worthwhile.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Andrew McCarthy on the London Bombings

McCarthy concludes:
Amid the carnage today, Home Secretary Charles Clarke is talking about the people who carried out "these terrible criminal acts." That's an understandable reaction--and we shouldn't quibble too much over a choice of words by people who have been stellar allies, who are in the middle of a rescue effort, and who are unsure the bombing has actually stopped. But it is worth repeating that what happened today is not mere crime.

This is war. It can't sensibly be separated from Bali or Mombassa or Istanbul or Madrid or Baghdad or Virginia or lower Manhattan--or any of the other places where the enemy has attacked.

The only security--and an imperfect security it is--is to acknowledge that this is a war and fight it like a one. Prime Minister Blair has been a staunch ally after 9/11, but many in his country, and throughout Europe, have not grasped what we are up against.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Powerline on Judith Miller

Powerline's John Hinderaker provides a good critique of recent press coverage of the whole Judith Miller business. A sample:

If you're going to serve up a conspiracy theory--without any evidence, of course--shouldn't the theory at least make some kind of sense? Kuttner's theory makes none. It is almost certain that no crime was committed by whoever told Novak (and, apparently, other reporters) that Plame works for the CIA. (Kuttner misstates the law, too.) No administration official has been fingered for talking to reporters. Fitzgerald has said that he is ready to wrap up his investigation, but for getting evidence from the two reporters. Let's suppose that it really was Karl Rove who told Novak that Plame was a CIA employee. Why would the administration want Fitzgerald to send reporters to jail to force them to reveal that fact? If the administration were pursuing its political interests, it would want the whole affair to die, and it would side with the reporters who want to take their "secret" to the grave. If Fitzgerald were serving the administration's political interests, he would defer to the reporters' assertion of privilege and conclude his investigation without identifying their sources.

Monday, July 04, 2005

This looks like a very useful site. Translation/adaptations of ma'amarim from Likutei Torah and Torah Or for most Parshas and Yomim Tovim. For you non-Chabadniks, Likutei Torah and Torah Or collect the discourses of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad and author of the Tanya.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Efraim Karsh on "Columbia and the Academic Intifada"

The conclusion:

Even if the Columbia leadership were to do the decent thing, by acknowledging the ongoing bigotry of its professors and by disciplining the offenders, such action would only address the symptoms and not the causes of the pervasive anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias in the field of modern Middle East studies. Not only is the academic intifada against the Jewish state thriving, the reigning terms of discussion it has introduced for understanding Middle Eastern reality have become perfectly normal, perfectly conventional, perfectly accepted in academic discourse. It will take more than a single student protest to undo the rot that has settled into the study of the Middle East and that is now quite comfortably at home in Western universities.

The whole article is here.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Krauthammer on "The Neoconservative Convergence"

A sample:
Ajami has called this (in the title of a recent article in Foreign Affairs) the “Autumn of the Autocrats.” Not the winter—nothing is certain, and we know of many democratizing movements in the past that were successfully put down. There are too many entrenched dictatorships and kleptocracies in the region to declare anything won. What we can declare, with certainty, is the falsity of those confident assurances before the Iraq war, during the Iraq war, and after the Iraq war that this project was inevitably doomed to failure because we do not know how to “do” democracy, and they do not know how to receive it.

The whole article is here.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Great Weekly Story-Based D'var Torah

Don't miss Rabbi Tuvia Bolton's Torah Online. Gut Shabbos.

Some Afterthoughts on the Previous Post

You may have noticed that there is some room for disagreement with Peretz's last point, which attributes left-wing Xian Israel-bashing to traditional Xian anti-Semitism. Certainly the Atheist Left is hardly any less prone to Israel-bashing. And for that matter, the sort of Anglicans who bash Israel might just be the Atheist Left. Then again, perhaps someone would like to explain to me why the folks at Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to keep funding congregations of Messianic so-called Jews at the same time they were making their divestment vote. In any event, when you buy your next tractor, consider getting a Caterpillar.

Martin Peretz on Anglican Divestment from Israel

The author is Editor-in-Chief of the New Republic and here is how the article concludes:

And, even if you take to the harshest reading of Israeli behavior in their ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, dozens and dozens of other peoples in the world, some of whom have a much sounder claim to be a real nation than those for whom the official Anglicans and Presbyterians shed so many tears, suffer infinitely more deprivation and indignity than they do. But tears are not shed for those people at Canterbury Cathedral in England or, for that matter, at Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose rectors have for years been virtual street agitators against Israel. So I come to an unavoidable conclusion. The obsession here is not positive, for one side, but rather negative, against the other side. The clerics and the lay leaders on this indefensible crusade are so fixated on Palestine because their obsession, which can be buttressed by various Christian sources and traditions, is really with the Jews. A close look at this morbid passion makes one realize that its roots include an ancient hostility for the House of Israel, an ugly survival of a hoary intolerance into some of the allegedly enlightened precincts of modern Christendom.

Read the whole thing (registration required).