Posts Tagged anti-Semitism

Toulouse shootings are Islamist after all

So much for that neo-Nazi theory… French police raid house in school killings case – FRANCE 24.

AFP – A French police special forces unit hunting an anti-Semitic serial killer launched a pre-dawn raid Wednesday on a house where a man claiming al-Qaeda ties was holed up, a police source said. Two police were slightly wounded as the operation got underway, led by officers investigating three attacks by a lone gunman in which three off-duty soldiers, three Jewish school children and a rabbi were killed, he said. A source close to the inquiry told AFP that the suspect had exchanged words with the RAID team and had declared himself to be a member of al-Qaeda, the armed Islamist group founded by late Saudi extremist Osama bin Laden.

**UPDATE**

Reports are coming out on Twitter that the suspect is claiming that he was “avenging Palestinian children”. This goes to show yet again that our enemies do not distinguish between “Jews”, “Zionists” and “Israelis” at all (or, for that matter, between “civilians” and “combatants”, or “adults” and “children”…).

Meanwhile, there may be a reason why everyone was so gleefully jumping on the idea that it may not have been Islamists. Again linking into the third-worldist dynamic, a number of Jews (and other members of the Western intelligencia) seem want to do everything they can to deny that Muslims may sometimes be antisemitic. Jonathan Tobin made this point: Neo-Nazis Versus Jihadists? « Commentary Magazine.

However, if we are discussing what Jews and other civilized persons should be worrying most about today, the idea that there is any comparison between the danger posed by the scattered bands of neo-Nazi extremists and that of Islamism is not a serious proposition. The neo-Nazis are a nasty bunch and capable of violence. But Islamist terror has at its command, terrorist armies, control of sovereign territories (Gaza, Lebanon and a major state such as Iran) as well as the resources to finance a nuclear weapons project. While the persistence of Nazism, even in its current truncated form is upsetting and makes us wonder whether Western civilization really is in trouble, Islamism is a real threat, not a symbolic one. While we may dismiss this argument as the sort of thing that is … for people with nothing better to do, the fact is, a lot of liberal Jews really are more scared of the dangers that existed in the past than they are of their people’s current foes. For many liberal Jews … raising the question of Islamist hate for Jews — something that is the source of the rising tide of anti-Semitic agitation around the globe — is somehow in bad taste if not evidence of the dread charge of Islamophobia. They are so conditioned to believe that Muslim distaste for Israel’s actions is the reason for enmity that they ignore the vicious stream of Jew-hatred coming out of the Middle East and prefer to worry about an altogether mythical post 9/11 backlash against Muslims. Instead, they prefer to dwell on the far less potent danger posed by the tiny groups of Hitler-lovers who are generally too weak and isolated to do anything more than disturb the peace. While such groups are despicable and deserve the attention of law enforcement, to focus on them is to re-fight the last war.

Matthew Ackerman makes a similar point, but stresses the need for Jews to stop making the claim that Israel is the source of antisemitism – recognising that Israel was originally envisioned as the answer to antisemitism. The take-away point: antisemitism existed before Israel and it still exists today, but Israel is a source of pride and strength for the Jewish people that allows us to face this evil in a way that we were not able to before. ; Toulouse a Reminder of the Need to Refute Jewish Cowardice « Commentary Magazine.

There is one Zionist truth that Judt and his ilk pin their hat on, which is that the goal of the Jewish state is indeed and always has been, since Leo Pinsker put pen to paper, to change the way the world looks at Jews. For Pinsker, it was the unique quality of Jewish statelessness that prevented “a certain equality in rank” between Jews and non-Jews, a condition that fostered Jew-hatred and led to the terrible violence of Russian pogroms. For Theodor Herzl, his far more famous successor in Zionist pamphleteering, it was simply the presence of Jews that enraged the masses. He wrote, “We are naturally drawn into those places where we are not persecuted, and our appearance there gives rise to persecution.” The thing Pinsker, Herzl, and their followers got sadly wrong was the idea that Jews could be saved from Jew-hatred by creating a state of their own, either by “normalizing” the Jewish condition or by providing completely for their physical security. No state, though, can provide for the complete safety of all its citizens, let alone its ethnic kin abroad. And hatred of Jews, as should be beyond plain by now, clearly draws from deeper waters than the Jewish political condition, whatever it may be. We should call the fantasy that Jews would be able to live in peace if only they gave up their claim to independence cowardice because that is the term we reserve for those who willingly give up what is theirs in the hope that by so doing that may be freed of physical danger. The Jewish state may not be able to resolve the non-Jewish problem of hatred of Jews, but it can – as has been the case these last ten years in an Israel that has woken up to the truth that many of its enemies can be appeased only by its death – cure the Jews of their fascination with weakness. That is, if we have the courage to stand united against the irrational attacks launched against us and our children.

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Swan’s Monthly piece brings to mind some unsavoury images

I finally got round to reading the controversial “anti-billionaire” essay by Australian treasurer Wayne Swan in The Monthly. There were some connotations there that seemed uncomfortably familiar. Something about the language he was using really made me concerned.

The 0.01 Per Cent: The Rising Influence of Vested Interests in Australia | Wayne Swan | The Monthly.

In the last couple of years, Australia has seen the emergence of our own distributional coalitions willing to use their considerable wealth to oppose good public policy and economic reforms designed to benefit the majority. The combination of industry deep pockets, conservative political support, biased editorial policy and shock-jock ranting has been mobilised in an attempt to protect vested interest. It’s reflected in how the Coalition under Tony Abbott has recently radicalised itself into an Australian version of the Tea Party, more than willing to kneecap Australia’s three-decade reform project for cheap political points.

There are many Australians of great wealth who make important and considered contributions to the national debate. I always welcome that involvement in the discussion of public policy whether I agree with them or not. What characterises the vested interests that I’m concerned about is how they misrepresent their self-interest as the national interest. There has been a perceptible shift in this country in recent years, and it is sadly very much in the American direction of stronger and stronger influence being wielded by a smaller and smaller minority of vested interests. Crucially, much of our media seems more and more inclined to accept that growing influence.

… The latest example of this is the foray by Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, into Fairfax Media, reportedly in an attempt to wield greater influence on public opinion and further her commercial interests at a time when the overwhelming economic consensus is that it’s critical to use the economic weight of the resources boom to strengthen the entire economy. Without a blush, her friend and fellow media owner John Singleton let the cat out of the bag when he told the Sydney Morning Herald that he and Rinehart had been “able to overtly and covertly attack governments … because we have people employed by us like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Ray Hadley who agree with [our] thinking”.

I fear Australia’s extraordinary success has never been in more jeopardy than right now because of the rising power of vested interests. This poison has infected our politics and is seeping into our economy. Though these vested interests have not yet prevailed, every day their demands get louder.

… Instead of capitulating to the demands of the vested interests, and allowing the benefits to amass disproportionately to them, we have a chance to bend the extraordinary shift in the global economy from West to East to the advantage of all Australians. This is neither the fierce pro-market capitalism that got us into a global financial fix, nor is it anti-market socialist ideology. It’s simply the best way to keep growing Australia’s economic pie so ultimately we all end up better off. Ensuring the social contract does not erode is vital if we want to avoid a hollowed-out capitalism assured of its own collapse.

Then it clicked.

Wilhelm Marr, founder of the League of Antisemites, in Victory of Judaism over Germanism, 1879:

Highly gifted, with great flair for activities like these, the Jews dominated retail and wholesale trade as early as the Middle Ages and outwitted the hard working common folk.

The common people realized that their own sense of ethics was not shared by the Jews, because these, rather than striving for emancipation preferred to accumulate wealth.

… The same goal, disintegration of the Germanic state for the benefit of Jewish interests, is consistently pursued everywhere.

The daily press is predominantly in Jewish hands, which have transformed journalism into an object of speculation and industrial production, into a business with public opinion; critique of theater, of art in general — is to three quarters in the hands of Jews. Writing about politics and even religion is — in Jewish hands.

… After Jewish hustle and bustle had reduced journalism to a trivial but commercially successful enterprise directed at the mob’s liking of gossip and scandal, it had found the largest possible audience for its attempts at Judaizing. Centuries of a factual predominance of Jewish realism had done its preparatory work. Jewry dictated public opinion in the press.

…And in Germany, who carried off the prize of raw, material advantage? Jewry, represented by a handful of Jewish bankers; Semitic brokers. We Germans got the abstract, imaginary result — to be “Friends of the Reich”, to console us with the “Reich of dreams”.

… Starting from modest beginnings, [this Semitic people] outgrew you, it corrupted society in all of its aspects, squeezed all idealism out of it, occupies the most controlling influence in trade and daily life, penetrates ever more into public office, controls the theater, forms a social-political front and has left almost nothing for you, except raw labor which it itself has always shunned; it has tranformed talent into shiny virtuosity, pimpish advertising into the godess of public opinion and — rules you today.

… In our parliaments, where the topic of usury is paraded about as of burning importance, one can as usual, only hear — twaddle. The dogma of “individual freedom”, which really stands for the impertinence and gall of the most unbridled avarice, has become such a basic tenet of society, that our valiant representatives — what a despicable picture they offer — attempt to make an omelette without breaking the egg. Why! One might also have to curb the unbridled manipulations of big industry and of big capital and this is the reason why the question of usury remains without practical response and does not advance beyond theoretical resolutions.

The doctrinarism of our Judaized society is an aid in getting around the cliff of usury. The impoverished members of every layer of our society remain victims of usury and of its corrupted German helpers, who with the help of Jews would love to make 20 — 30% per month from the hardship and misery of the poor!

Note: I am very aware that Swan did not mention Jews or Israel anywhere and his essay is not remotely antisemitic. I am in no way equating him with the architect of Nazi-style antisemitism!

What I am doing is illustrating that his style of rhetoric and the specific accusations that he is levelling at Reinhart et al are polemical, conspiratorial and reminiscent of some extremely dangerous ideas from an earlier era.

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More Jewish antisemitism

Quick follow-up to this post yesterday, as well as the whole “Israel First” debate. Here’s Phillip Weiss again trying to justify antisemitic language on the basis that a Jew used it. This time, he is responding to Spencer Ackerman in Tablet noting that the term “Israel Firster” was popularised by neo-Nazis. (my bold)

Leading Zionist historian and president of Brandeis was first to say ‘Israel Firster’– in 1960.

Well Ackerman is wrong. The term Israel Firster was used by a Zionist before it was used by white supremacists. I just got a hold of the American Jewish Committee’s Yearbook for 1961. It cites the use of the term “Israel Firster” by a legendary Zionist, the late Abram Leon Sachar, the leading American historian of Jews and president of Brandeis when he said it.

Congratulations Mr Weiss, you managed to find a tenuous link to the term from several decades ago. Point proven, if Sachar said it there is no way that it could be antisemitic when used by people who you agree with. I wonder if David Duke got it from Sachar.

Meanwhile, have a look at the quality of comments Weiss is attracting (my bold):

there is no phrase as bitingly accurate to these traitors as israel firster. those to whom it applies know this too, which is why they’re so furious at its being applied to them. it’s as if they’ve been lassoed and are desperately trying to shake off the rope. for those who take pity on them, you let them loose at the risk of endangering not only yourselves but all living beings.*

Yup, nothing racist there.

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The absurdity of the anti-Israel movement


The Israeli embassy has contributed to a garden in Canberra that displays miniature houses with a sculpture of Masada, an ancient Jewish fortress in Israel that was the last stronghold in the revolt against the Romans, the fall of which marked the beginning of 2,000 years of exile from the Land of Israel.

But apparently, this is offensive. The rationalisation below is astoundingly bad – this is a historical display, Masada genuinely exists. What the “Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine” are essentially doing is denying the Jewish people their history. This is disgraceful and racist, it really exposes the underlying motives of these people.

Palestinians prickle at mini Masada – Local News – News – General – The Canberra Times

But chairman of Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine Kevin Bray said Masada represented the resistance to the death of freedom fighters against an all-powerful occupier.

”It seems that because the Masada freedom fighters were Jewish they may indeed, in the words of the embassy ‘represent Israel’s proud history’ to some,” he said. ”Others of us, however, appreciate how the tables have been turned. Today, Israel is the occupier and the Palestinians are the modern equivalent of the Masadan resistance.”

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Best Responses To Bin Laden’s Death

1. The Jews Did It

And that picture proves it.

Bin Laden – the conspiracy? – Israel News, Ynetnews.

The website compared satellite footage and imagery of the area with Israel’s outline and concluded that the main house – where bin Laden was captured and killed – is located where Jerusalem can be found on a map of Israel. The compound’s gate parallels the location of Tel Aviv, its dumping ground matches the location of Tiberias, and another building matched the location of Haifa.

2. He was a Jew anyway

At least according to the Iranian government.

Iranian MP: Bin Laden was Zionist puppet – Israel News, Ynetnews

“He was just a puppet controlled by the Zionist regime in order to present a violent image of Islam after the September 11 attacks,” he said, adding that the al-Qaeda leaders assassination proves he had “an expiration date” forcing the US to kill him. “Bin Ladens death reflects the passing of a temporary US pawn, and symbolizes the end of one era and the beginning of another in American policy in the region,” Kosari said.

3. I guess he’s a cat person…

Some Palestinian preacher.

At Al-Aqsa Mosque, Preacher Eulogizes Bin Laden| MEMRI.

Preacher: “Today, the dogs of the West are rejoicing at the killing of one of the lions of Islam. Today, the West rejoices at the killing of one of the lions of Islam. We say to them, from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, from the heart of the Caliphate, which, Allah willing, is soon to come: Dogs should not rejoice at the killing of lions. A country of dogs will always remain a country of dogs, while a lion remains a lion even after it is killed.

“We will not forget all the crimes being committed by these American dogs in all the Muslim countries.

“Even if a lion is killed, the nation of one billion Muslims will give birth to hundreds of millions of lions.

“We say [to President Obama]: You said yourself that you personally gave the order to kill Muslims. Know that the day will soon come when you find yourself hanging from the gallows, next to little Bush, and next to all your cronies involved in the killing of Muslims.”

4. The Jews loved it

Well, at least one Young Adult Chabbad rabbi did.
Is It Okay to Celebrate Bin Laden’s Death? – The Big Picture

What is so terrible, after all, about celebrating the death of a wicked evildoer? Why would you even think it decrepit to rejoice that a man who himself rejoiced over the demise of thousands of others, and connived ingeniously to bring destruction and terror across the globe, should now be removed from it? Is it so horrible to feel happy that the world has just become a better, safer and happier place?

No, it’s not. That’s perfectly legit. On the contrary, someone who is not celebrating at this time is apparently not so concerned by the presence of evil upon our lovely planet. Those who are outraged by evil are carrying now smiles upon their face. The apathetic don’t give a hoot.

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Bin Laden’s Death: Analysis

Now that the celebrations are dying down (and it’s not often that a death is such cause for celebration), we need to be a little more grounded about the implications of this assassination. There have been a lot of claims thrown-around recently – verging from a little naive to downright stupid. Let’s set a few of the facts straight here:

(Note: I’m not going to bother proving that Bin Laden was behind 9/11. If you believe this to be false, please seek help).

1) al-Qaeda is not finished

This is the unfortunate reality that we have to face. Bin Laden was the co-founder and leader of Al Qaeda, but he was not directly behind every terror attack in the world.

Unfortunately, the damage has been done already. Bin Laden’s “contribution” to the Islamic world was the idea of distinguishing between the “enemy nearby” and the “enemy far away”. To summarise a very complex history, Nazi propaganda attributing all of the world’s ills to the Jews was translated into Arabic and given Koranic justifications by the Grand Mufti of Palestine in the 1930s and 40s as part of his alliance with Hitler. This formed what is now Islamic Antisemitism – previously in the Islamic world, Jews had been viewed as weak and cowardly, but combined with Nazi ideology, there was now a European-esque notion of a global conspiracy to destroy Islam being orchestrated by a malicious cabal of Jews (for more on this, see The Flight of The Intellectuals by Paul Berman.)

These ideas then permeated the early Islamist ideology and gestated to the point where half a century later, Bin Laden used them to boost his ailing organisation by declaring a Jihad on the West (see al Qaeda In Its Own Words by Gilles Kepel and Jean-Pierre Milelli). He imagined a “Zio-Crusader alliance” controlling the (as he saw them) “infidel” regimes in charge of the Muslim states. He spread the idea that to truly re-establish the Caliphate (Islamic superstate), Muslims must strike not at their immediate enemies, but those allegedly pulling the strings – the US and their allies.

Al Qaeda has been decimated as an organisation since 9/11 and for many years has not been a centralised structure, but rather a “franchise” with offshoots in various regions (for a discussion of this, see How al-Qaeda Works by Leah Farrell for Foreign Affairs). The reality is that Bin Laden can be quickly replaced by his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Al Qaeda can continue to inspire and fund various partner organisations around the world.

So while this is a great symbolic triumph and may have some long term impact, we can’t start packing-away the metal detectors and arranging flights out of Kandahar just yet. In fact, in the short term, this assassination could well spark a series of reprisals around the world. We need to be weary.

2) Pakistan is dangerous

As Bruce Loudon observes in The Australian.

Pakistan a haven for enemy No 1 | The Australian.

But after years of the ISI double-dealing with terrorists and now the revelation that bin Laden was living in the heart of a garrison town virtually next door to the nation’s military academy and only a couple of hours’ drive north of the capital, Islamabad, Pakistani authorities cannot expect to escape the sort of questions that are now being asked.

There are conflicting opinions over whether or not Pakistan was actively harbouring Bin Laden, but I am pretty convinced that this is the case. Again from The Australian‘s excellent analysis, Greg Sheridan observes that:

Huge win for Obama and the Americans | The Australian.

Obama naturally praised Pakistan for its co-operation in the operation against Osama. Frankly, what else could he do? The Pakistanis have perhaps a hundred nuclear weapons. No US president can afford to alienate them altogether.

…It is utterly implausible that any international figure of note could hide in a mansion near Islamabad without the knowledge of the Pakistani intelligence services. Completely impossible.

If the Pakistani government did not know, it is the most incompetent government in the world. If it did know, then it was intentionally sheltering the most dangerous and infamous terrorist of our time.

The double-game being played by Pakistan is a major problem in the world today – it may even be the biggest threat to global security, given that Iran has not yet developed a nuclear weapon and America has not quite lost its dominant position. Pakistan is a nuclear power, so must be dealt with very carefully – but it seems to be slipping further and further into Islamism. If the Pakistani Taliban get hold of a nuclear weapon, the consequences don’t bear thinking about.

Bin Laden’s assassination had many benefits – it was a strong warning to all terrorists that the US can get them anywhere at any time. It was a symbolic victory for the West in general and the US in particular and will raise morale in dark times and vindicate our efforts to rid the world of the ideological plague that Bin Laden spread. Most importantly, justice has been served. That said, we can’t lose sight of the dangers still facing us and must continue to fight Bin Laden’s ideology of hatred and violence wherever it may be found.

(Photos: Foreign Policy)

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Everything’s not right in the fashion industry: WSJ takes on Vogue

More on this storyWall Street Journal assistant editors Bari Weiss and David Feith have managed to push through an op-ed in the Journal On Vogue Magazine‘s…faux-pas (I couldn’t think of another way to describe it in one phrase).

They go through a lot of the same points that I did, using a few good facts and stories to illustrate how absurdly innacurate Buck’s profile actually was. The whole article is structured with passages from the Vogue article juxtaposed with the unfortunate reality of life in Syria.

Weiss and Feith: The Dictator’s Wife Wears Louboutins – WSJ.com.

But none of those countries has Asma. “The 35-year-old first lady’s central mission,” we’re told, “is to change the mind-set of six million Syrians under eighteen, encourage them to engage in what she calls ‘active citizenship.'”

That’s just what 18-year-old high-school student Tal al-Mallouhi did with her blog, but it didn’t stop the Assad regime from arresting her in late 2009. Or from sentencing her, in a closed security court last month, to five years in prison for “espionage.”

Pretty biting, hey?

The best part, for me, was the point made at the end.

In the past weeks, as people power has highlighted the illegitimacy and ruthlessness of the Middle East’s strongmen, various Western institutions have been shamed for their associations with them. There’s the London School of Economics, which accepted over $2 million from Libya’s ruling family, and experts like political theorist Benjamin Barber, who wrote that Gadhafi “is a complex and adaptive thinker as well as an efficient, if laid-back, autocrat.”

When Syria’s dictator eventually falls—for the moment, protests against him have been successfully squelched by police—there will be a similar reckoning. Vogue has earned its place in that unfortunate roll call.

Weiss and Firth are completely right, this article should condemn Vogue to the same level of scrutiny as LSE, the UN Human Rights Council, Keysar Trad and others who openly support evil dictators. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a huge clamour in the fashion world going on about this – beside the online piece from The Atlantic (which loves taking shots at Vogue as the owners of Vogue publish Vanity Fair, one of The Atlantic’s main rivals), it took two assistant editors of a newspaper focussed mostly on finance to bring this story into the mainstream media, about 2 weeks after it first broke.

This is not an isolated incident. It took Natalie Portman, the (Jewish Israeli) face of Dior, to get apparent Nazi-sympathising designer John Galliano fired after a rant about how he loved Hitler, including the friendly observation, to his fellow patrons of the restaurant in which he was dining, that, “your mothers, your forefathers, would be fucking gassed and fucking dead.” As Barbara Ellen wrote in The Observer on Sunday:

If only John Galliano’s hate rant was a one-off | Barbara Ellen | Comment is free | The Observer

It’s interesting that John Galliano could just have got away with his antisemitic ravings, some caught on video in a Paris bar, had it not been for Jewish actress Natalie Portman.

Nicole Kidman and Sharon Stone still wore Dior to the Oscars. It was Portman, the “face” of Dior perfumes, who wore Rodarte. It was Portman who immediately stated she was “shocked and disgusted” and “would not be associated with Mr Galliano”. She added: “I hope these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.”

Ellen made the point that anti-Semitism seems to be (forgive the pun) en vogue at the moment in the entertainment industry.

Casual antisemitism appears to be having a “moment” right now. Casual antisemitism is “hot” and seemingly nowhere “hotter” than in the US entertainment industry. This is the very industry everyone is always moaning about being “controlled by Jews”, making the whole thing even more bizarre or, arguably, more understandable, if you stir envy and resentment into the mix.

There’s Charlie Sheen with his comment about Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre’s “real name” being “Chaim Levine”; Sheen’s other alleged comments about his manager, Mark Burg, being a “stooped Jew pig”; Mel Gibson’s “Jews responsible for all the wars in the world” outburst; Oliver Stone’s “Jewish domination of the media”.

It’s lucky that Portman was in a position to lead the charge against Galliano. Who is around to have Vogue disgraced and Buck fired, as she should be? Not a lot of people, in all likelihood. Writing in the New Statesman, Laurie Penny has analysed the not-so-veiled culture of racism in fashion that make these kinds of things possible:

New Statesman – Galliano’s fashionable beliefs.

Diversity in fashion is going backwards. The recent fashion week in New York, one of the most multicultural places on the planet, featured 85 per cent white models, a proportion that has hardly changed in a decade. Recent high-profile campaigns have showcased white models in blackface, and when real black models do make it on to the pages of magazines, the airbrushing invariably lightens their colouring and straightens their hair into more marketable, Caucasian styles. Then we wonder why anxious teenagers across the world are using dangerous toxins to bleach the blackness out of their skin.

What should shock is not just the substance of Galliano’s comments, but the fact that it took a man being caught on camera explicitly saying that he loves Hitler for the fashion industry to acknowledge a teeny problem with racism. The rabid misogyny of Galliano’s outburst has hardly been commented on because, while most people now acknowledge that anti-Semitism isn’t very nice, the jury is still out on institutional sexism.

In a world where everything is perfect and beautiful, supported by an industry that taylors, lights and airbrushes over imperfections as a matter of course, is there really any impetus to criticise someone for airbrushing over brutality, slaughter and terror as if it were any other blemish?  There’s obviously a huge disconnect between the fashion world and the one the rest of us live in, it will take the rest of the world to push for the cultural shift that we need.

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Hamas trying to prevent Holocaust in Gaza

Or at least the teaching of it. With all the other stuff going on at the moment, it’s easy for things like this to slip under the radar.

The UNRWA, the UN agency dedicated to working with Palestinian refugees (and apparently maintaining their refugee status without allowing them to be settled), also the only UN agency in the world that exists solely to deal with one people, has been teaching the Holocaust in its schools since 2002. Hamas, apparently, is a little nonplussed:

 

Hamas fights UN’s ‘poisonous’ Holocaust lessons in Gazan schools | World news | The Guardian

“We cannot agree to a programme that is intended to poison the minds of our children,” said a statement from the ministry for refugee affairs.

“Holocaust studies in refugee camps is a contemptible plot and serves the Zionist entity with a goal of creating a reality and telling stories in order to justify acts of slaughter against the Palestinian people.”

It said UNRWA should focus on the human rights of Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA makes the valid point that the Palestinian refugees are only afforded refugee status, and therefore afforded an entire international organisation, funded by the international community and dedicated to maintaining their poor standard of living, because of the International Convention on Human Rights and that this Convention only exists because of the Holocaust.

No Holocaust, no UNRWA; no UNRWA, no schools, ergo, UNRWA is kinda obligated to teach about the Holocaust to its students.

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And who said dictators were going out of fashion?

 

What a beautiful and happy Western-looking family

Joan Juliet Buck, from leading fashion magazine Vogue, wrote a longform profile on a high-profile Middle-Eastern lady, who, in Buck’s words, is “glamorous, young, and very chic—the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies. Her style is not the couture-and-bling dazzle of Middle Eastern power but a deliberate lack of adornment. She’s a rare combination: a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement.'”

Buck chronicles this woman’s high-level Western education, how she grew-up in London, went to Queen’s college, has an MBA from Harvard and worked at Goldman Sachs, but is down to earth, with an accent that is “English, but not plummy”. Buck details visits to the Louvre, impressing Brad and Angelina and even the charitable NGO that she runs to educate refugee children. She even fights extremism “through art”.

And who is this beautiful, caring, glamorous Arab leader, who sounds just like the Western celebrities that Vogue usually profile? None other than Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad. And Syria sounds great too:

Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert – Vogue Daily – Vogue.

Syria is known as the safest country in the Middle East, possibly because, as the State Department’s Web site says, “the Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors.” It’s a secular country where women earn as much as men and the Muslim veil is forbidden in universities, a place without bombings, unrest, or kidnappings, but its shadow zones are deep and dark. Asma’s husband, Bashar al-Assad, was elected president in 2000, after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, with a startling 97 percent of the vote. In Syria, power is hereditary.
“It’s a tough neighborhood,” admits Asma al-Assad

Huh. Let’s take another look at that passage for a second, shall we?

As the State Department’s Web site says, “the Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors.”

To keep them safe, right? Sounds like something any kind, friendly leader would do. Like her husband, who won 97% of the vote – the people must love him! Just one thing that Ms Buck forgot to mention, he was the only candidate in the election. And why was he the only candidate in the election? Well, you see, these security forces that keep Syria “safe”, also keep his regime “safe”, but brutally crushing any dissent.

Reading on:

The country’s alliances are murky.How close are they to Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah?There are souvenir Hezbollah ashtrays in the souk, and you can spot the Hamas leadership racing through the bar of the Four Seasons. Its number-one enmity is clear: Israel. But that might not always be the case. The United States has just posted its first ambassador there since 2005, Robert Ford.

Might not always be the case, hey? Because the US broke-off and then re-established diplomatic relations, that means that Israel may no longer be its number-one enmity? Hold on a second:

Iraq is next door, Iran not far away. Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, is 90 minutes by car from Damascus. Jordan is south, and next to it the region that Syrian maps label Palestine. There are nearly one million refugees from Iraq in Syria, and another half-million displaced Palestinians.

Seems as if Syria doesn’t recognise that there is an Israel, funny that. And as the article already glossed over, Ms Assad and her husband harbour, support and train terrorist groups that attack Israel, not to mention being Iran’s strongest ally. Syria also militarily occupied Lebanon for years and is still meddling in Lebanese affairs. Neat, huh?

What else can we divine from Buck’s profile? Well, Syria is a great example of a tolerant, multicultural society:

Back in the car, I ask what religion the orphans are. “It’s not relevant,” says Asma al-Assad. “Let me try to explain it to you. That church is a part of my heritage because it’s a Syrian church. The Umayyad Mosque is the third-most-important holy Muslim site, but within the mosque is the tomb of Saint John the Baptist. We all kneel in the mosque in front of the tomb of Saint John the Baptist. That’s how religions live together in Syria—a way that I have never seen anywhere else in the world. We live side by side, and have historically. All the religions and cultures that have passed through these lands—the Armenians, Islam, Christianity, the Umayyads, the Ottomans—make up who I am.”
“Does that include the Jews?” I ask.
“And the Jews,” she answers. “There is a very big Jewish quarter in old Damascus.”

The Jewish quarter of Damascus spans a few abandoned blocks in the old city that emptied out in 1992, when most of the Syrian Jews left. Their houses are sealed up and have not been touched, because, as people like to tell you, Syrians don’t touch the property of others. The broken glass and sagging upper floors tell a story you don’t understand—are the owners coming back to claim them one day?

So the abandoned Jewish quarter tells “a story you don’t understand” then? I guess no one knows why there were 30,000 Jews in Syria in 1947 and only 200 today. Well at least Joan Juliet Buck, former editor of French Vogue, doesn’t understand, but then she doesn’t seem to understand much, otherwise this article would read a little differently.

It is, in fact, not a mystery what happened in 1992. This was when finally, after years of campaigning, 4,500 Syrian Jews were allowed to leave Syria. One person who does understand is Alice Sardell, president of the now defunct Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews.

Point of no return: How Syria’s Jews obtained their freedom.

Freedom for the Jews of Syria beginning in 1992 came about after a long and intense American and international human rights campaign led by The Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews, with the United States government at the forefront.

But they weren’t just fleeing for nothing:

Since 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel, Syria’s Jewish community had been held as hostages living under Syria’s Secret Police and subject to arbitrary arrests and systematic torture.

Where were these little details in Buck’s profile?

Buck could have written about the brutal secret police, the sponsorship of terror, the alliance with Iran, the nuclear program and the decades of the despotic reign of terror that Assad and his fellow Allawite leaders have subjected the Syrian people to. She even could have mentioned that Assad and her husband prevented protests like the ones spreading through other Arab countries by shutting off the internet and suppressing protesters with beatings and arrests. Instead, she gave the guy a goddamn podium to speak from:

Neither of them believes in charity for the sake of charity. “We have the Iraqi refugees,” says the president. “Everybody is talking about it as a political problem or as welfare, charity. I say it’s neither—it’s about cultural philosophy. We have to help them. That’s why the first thing I did is to allow the Iraqis to go into schools. If they don’t have an education, they will go back as a bomb, in every way: terrorism, extremism, drug dealers, crime. If I have a secular and balanced neighbor, I will be safe.”

So now he’s against terrorism is he?

This article was disgusting to be honest. To read more, including Buck’s extremely underwhelming response, see the links below:

Vogue Defends Profile of Syrian First Lady – Max Fisher – International – The Atlantic.

Vogue’s ridiculous puff piece on Syria’s ruling family | FP Passport.

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Iranian leader: Zionists behind the protests. Also, Egypt and the fried chicken conspiracy

Why am I not surprised? It had to be those damn Zionists, always plotting to bring down the Muslims!

But that’s ok, because Khatami knows how to deal with them – “harshly and in a legal manner”. I wonder what they could possibly mean by that.

Note: doesn’t this kind of undermine all these claims of Israel propping-up dictators? Those Iranians need to think about the implications of what they’re saying.

MEMRI Transcript

Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami Accuses America and the Zionists of Being the “Real Instigators” of the Riots and Calls to Deal with Oppositionists “Harshly and in a Legal Manner”

Following are excerpts from a speech delivered by Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, which aired on IRINN, the Iranian news channel, on February 15, 2011.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami: The Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom,1 which exists only on the Internet, appears only in order to publish communiqués denouncing [the regime]. They caused this battle by initiating this fitna.

[…]

We say to the Americans and to the Zionists that we consider them to be the real instigators of the fitna. We will never forget who the main enemy is. We continue to shout passionately: Death to America, death to Israel.

Crowds: Death to America, death to Israel!

Death to America, death to Israel!

Death to America, death to Israel!

[…]

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami: We, the clergy, explicitly say that we demand that all the rioters be dealt with harshly and in a legal manner – especially Mousavi and Karroubi.

And this is not the first time! Apparently, the protestors were caught eating KFC – proof that they were in league with not only Hizballah and Hamas, but also the CIA and Mossad. Pretty nefarious, right?

Tens of phone calls have been received by the television channel, whereby callers made the smart point that they had seen the protesters eating from KFC, and that this was proof that they have foreign agendas. They seem to believe that no one can eat from the American chain without being an agent of foreign forces.

It has filled people’s minds with thoughts of hidden agendas – the agents of Mossad, Hezbollah, and CIA allied for the first time in history to take the Egyptian regime down. I do not know how Mossad has allied with Hezbollah and Hamas, but the media insists that this has happened.

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