05/28/15
Draw Mohammad

Arizona: Armed Biker Protest to happen at Mosque

Armed Bikers Plan to Draw Cartoons of Mohammed Outside a Mosque in Arizona

In Arizona, Bikers Plan Armed Protest Outside of Mosque

Police on Edge Over Upcoming ‘Draw Muhammad’ Contest That Encourages Attendees to Bring Their Guns

05/27/15
Israel

Tracking

Arlene from Israel

First a correction.  The information I had cited from Israel National News, regarding President Rivlin receiving an award from NIF turned out to be inaccurate.  He is, rather, to receive an award from the Jewish-Arab center for cooperation, Givat Haviva.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195825#.VWWHz5uJjIW

Givat Haviva – a recipient of NIF funds – was founded by the far left, secular Hashomer Hatzair movement.  To the best of my knowledge, it does not promote BDS, criminalization of IDF soldiers, or other similar abominations.  It fosters a vision of “shared human values,” which puts emphasis on a democratic and secular rather than a Jewish Israel.

(With thanks to Moshe D. for calling this correction to my attention.)  See more below about BDS and NIF.

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We continue to see tensions between various government persons regarding their assigned positions and confusion as to who has precisely what responsibility.  All of this is regrettable and counterproductive.  Much of the problem is the result of lack of clarity about ministries, which are invented, done away with, reinstated, and redefined according to political need.

Thus, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has now expressed great dissatisfaction with the appointment of Ze’ev Elkin as Minister of Jerusalem Affairs; he says that Netanyahu had promised him that he would have responsibilities that will now be undertaken by Elkin.  (The Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs, although it had existed previously, was not a defined ministry in this particular government until Netanyahu saw fit to assign Elkin to this post when other responsibilities were removed from his jurisdiction and given to Gilad Erdan.)

Elkin has responded by expressing the hope that he and Barkat will be able to work cooperatively for the good of Jerusalem.

In a similar vein, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has disparaged Erdan’s role (presumably as Public Diplomacy Minister), as it undercuts her responsibilities.

And Benny Begin is refusing to cooperate by resigning so that Erdan can become a minister without exceeding the limit on Likud ministers that had been agreed up. 

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In response to the rocket barrage (five Grads) – launched from Gaza – that hit Gan Yavne near Ashkelon last night, the IDF this morning attacked four targets in Gaza.  This sort of immediate response is routine policy.  Four direct hits on terrorist infrastructure were confirmed.  However, as Avi Issacharoff (below) writes, by design the sites hit were vacant and no one was hurt.  This was apparently because Israel wished to deliver a message, not take life in an action that would promote an escalation.  The attack, of course, was accompanied by a stern statement about Israel being prepared to do whatever is necessary – and should push come to shove, Israel indeed would  be prepared to take meaningful action.

Now, according to media reports, Egypt is asking Israel to hold fire.  (And apparently Hamas has written a similar letter.) Arab sources say Hamas security forces have arrested several members of the armed wing of Islam Jihad.  It was said to be an internal struggle within IJ that prompted the rocket-launching.

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Egypt-to-Israel-Hold-back-your-aggression-404224

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An alternate version of what happened: Dan Diker of Voice of Israel says this was a show of force between rival terrorist gangs with Islamic Jihad attempting to show up Hamas.

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It is highly likely that Hamas has no appetite for starting with Israel again right now; they haven’t even begun to recover from the war waged last summer.  However, says Issacharoff, for a variety of reasons, Hamas leadership is not adverse to sporadic launching of rockets on Israel.  Among those reasons is a desire to demonstrate that it is not collaborating with Jerusalem, and to provide just a hint of a warning to Israel. While, says Issacharoff (and I believe he is correct), Israel, for her part, prefers a chastened Hamas in charge in Gaza rather than having to cope with the terrorist chaos that would ensue if Hamas were taken out, or alternatively, with the burden of retaking all of Gaza. 

http://www.timesofisrael.com/when-two-gazans-fight-israel-suffers/

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As to BDS:

Just weeks ago, in a stunning decision, Israel’s High Court ruled that the Finance Minister can “impose fines and withhold funding from Israeli NGOs calling for boycotts of businesses in all or parts of Israel.”  Power was also granted to file lawsuits against these NGOs.

As Ronn Torossian wrote at the time:

”Petitioners in court today who sought permission of boycotts of Israel were New Israel Fund (NIF) sponsored organizations, including Gush Shalom, Adalah — the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)…

”One wonders how the NIF can claim they do not support BDS when they go to Israel’s Supreme Court — with American Jewish donor money — and try to cancel the law forbidding boycotts of the State of Israel.

“The NIF’s website and annual report proclaim that NIF will ‘not exclude support for organizations that discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from [West Bank] settlements.’”

http://www.newsmax.com/RonnTorossian/Boycotts-Israel-Netanyahu-NGOs/2015/04/16/id/638877/#ixzz3XVCCXHGO

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The battle against BDS has been gaining traction in another way as well, as states in the US have begun advancing opposition. First, was Tennessee, which on April 21st passed a resolution condemning boycotts.  A month later, both houses of the Illinois legislature unanimously passed anti-boycott legislation.

Now there is a push for Congress to do the same.

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has just told the French parliament that France would not sign an agreement with Iran unless inspections are permitted at all sites, including military sites.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/france-wont-sign-iran-deal-without-military-site-inspections/

Last week Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out inspections at military sites. 

But Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN’s IAEA said yesterday that Iran had agreed to “snap inspections,” including at military sites as part of the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) .  Amano says Iran would have to allow inspections according to the Protocol and that months would be needed to assess the military aspects of the situation.  (Remember that Iran has declined to provide the IAEA with baseline information.)

On the other hand, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it was not so: “some” access to sites would be permitted, but not military sites.  In fact, just days ago, Iran demanded 24 day notice before any inspections – their definition of “snap inspections.”  As Fabius commented then: “in 24 days a lot of things can disappear.”

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/05/21/iran-wants-24-days-notice-prior-to-nuke-inspections/

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Always the lack of clarity, the hedging, the shifting of position.  And now there is talk that the June 30 deadline for a deal may be extended – buying Iran further time to advance its agenda.

This is a very bad scene because the notion that it is possible to genuinely negotiate in good faith with Iran is flawed at its core. The Iranians are running rings around the P5 + 1 team.  But the one thing Obama wants to avoid is the appearance that this great diplomatic venture of his has failed abysmally.  For some time now it has struck me as rather incredible that it is France that is hewing to the toughest line.

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EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini today called on Israel and the PA to resume peace talks immediately.  Why?  Because the current situation on the ground is “not sustainable.”

She apparently knows this because we hit targets in Gaza. 

“Without any kind of political process, without any horizon, we cannot expect anything but more violence to come again,” she said.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195916#.VWYQepuJjIU

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My question, then, is this:  Is Mogherini genuinely a dimwit, or is she pretending?  Does she not know that Hamas in Gaza would not be party to a “peace process,” were Israel to re-establish one with the PA?  I guess she does know, because she called upon Israel and the PA, not Hamas, to come to the table. 

So let me rephrase this: Why would she think that Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza would stop attacking Israel and become good neighbors if peace were made with the PA? That the existence of a “Palestinian state” on part of the land would mollify them?

Allow me to cite a few phrases from the Hamas Charter (with emphasis added):

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.

Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts.

The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.

The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders.

The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.

Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed. Nothing in nationalism is more significant or deeper than in the case when an enemy should tread Moslem land.

Leaving the circle of struggle with Zionism is high treason, and cursed be he who does that.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

Clearly, Hamas has to grapple with realities on the ground and decide when or if to launch serious attacks against Israel. But we should never make the mistake of thinking because Hamas is reticent to start up now means it opts for “peace,” or would be satisfied with sharing Palestine with the Jewish people. Moghirini’s “horizon” is not Hamas’s horizon.

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A week from today, on Wednesday, June 3, Unity Day will be marked.  Mayor Nir Barkat, working with the parents of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel – who were kidnapped and killed by terrorists last year – have designated the day as a time for honoring the memory of the boys by bringing people together.

A joint message from the parents read:

“Jews from around the world came together to support [the boys’] families by searching, praying, and just reaching out. The sense of unity reached its peak 17 days later as the three boys were found and ultimately laid to rest side by side.

“Now, one year later, the families of the boys are asking the Jewish people to come together again. Together with, Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem and Gesher [an organization that promotes understanding between secular and religious Jews], we will honor the teens’ memory by joining in ‘Unity Day’ to bring back that sense of togetherness and hope.”

You may remember the incredible unity of those days.  Now we need such feeling more than ever.  As Barkat has written:

“The Jerusalem Unity Prize [which will be awarded that day] and Unity Day serve to memorialize the three boys by strengthening the common bonds that exist within our Jewish people and encourage greater tolerance and mutual respect between all sectors of our greater community.”   (Emphasis added)

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4660758,00.html

3 kidnapped teen boys Israel 6-14-2014

05/27/15
Pope Francis

Catholic Group Exposes Red Influence in the Vatican

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Doing the research and investigative work that the major U.S. media have all but abandoned, an organization called the American Life League (ALL) has uncovered dramatic evidence of links between the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church and an international communist group known as the World Social Forum. The evidence suggests overt Marxist influence on the climate change movement that Pope Francis and his top advisers are now embracing.

The ALL report, a 76-page PowerPoint presentation complete with original source material and numerous photographs, documents how Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican’s top social justice organization, is actually “providing leadership” to the communist group.

The report’s author, Michael Hichborn, stated, “This is a very serious problem. Given how intimately connected the World Social Forum (WSF) has been with the promotion of communism, abortion, and homosexuality since the very beginning, it’s impossible to see how any Catholic can participate in it, or even speak positively about it, let alone have any involvement in its governance. But Caritas Internationalis does!”

These allegations can’t be dismissed as anti-Catholic bigotry, since the American Life League is itself a Catholic organization that has been working for years to expose Catholic funds and organizations that promote causes at variance with official Catholic teaching.

However, Hichborn tells Accuracy in Media that except for specialized publications such as Lifesitenews, the media have ignored the report.

The ALL report on the WSF includes eye-opening photographs from the group’s events, featuring open displays of communist flags and banners as well as images of such personalities as Lenin, Castro and Mao.

Most of our media, of course, reported on the “death” of communism after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

But the ALL report notes that “There can be no mistaking the materialist and revolutionary (Communist) nature of the forum itself, which sets it in opposition to the Catholic Church.”

Hichborn told AIM that he delivered a copy of the report to the Vatican office known as Cor Unum, but that nothing came of it, and that one Vatican official concerned about the issue was relieved of his duties.

ALL identifies the other Catholic groups involved in the activities of the WSF as Pax Christi, Center of Concern, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Catholic Relief Services and CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies.

An independent review of the ALL report confirms the research into the links between Caritas Internationalis and the WSF. In fact, a document on the Caritas website still affirms that “Caritas has been involved in the WSF since its beginnings. Caritas believes it’s an opportunity to exchange ideas and to build the momentum towards real change.”

After the ALL report was released, a conference at the Vatican was sponsored by Caritas Internationalis that featured Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University professor and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and Gustavo Gutierrez, the father of Marxist-oriented Liberation Theology.

As Accuracy in Media reported, Sachs wrote an article for the Jesuit publication America attacking the “American idea” of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as narrow and selfish. He suggests that America’s founding document is outmoded and incompatible with his idea of Catholic teaching about social justice.

Sachs is an advocate of global taxes to extract hundreds of billions of dollars from the American people in order to finance some form of world government. The climate change movement, based on dubious science, is the most popular current vehicle that Sachs and others can use to bring this about.

Seizing on Sachs’ extraordinary remarks in a major Catholic publication, the well-known writer Edward Cline comments on the Family Security Matters website that “It would take a village—or, at least, the ‘global’ one—to subjugate and sack America. That is what is being proposed by Jeffrey Sachs.”

The Cline piece carries the title, “The ‘Sach-ing’ of America,” and he concludes that “In its essentials, Sachs’ plan for the future sacking of America differs little from Islam’s.”

In short, the American way of life is at risk, this time from a Vatican alliance with America’s academic elites and the U.N.

The World Social Forum itself just held another international conference focusing on one aspect of the Sachs agenda: global taxes. The WSF announced the launch of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, including a statement that “Our vision entails progressive redistributive taxation polices that fund the vital public services, end inequality and poverty, address climate change and lead to sustainable development.”

The topic fits nicely with the expected papal encyclical on climate change.

At the Caritas conference, Pope Francis adviser Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga said that critics of the proposed papal document are advocates of an “ideology” that he concludes “is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.”

Critics are concerned because of the pope’s several statements indicating hostility to the system of capitalism and free markets that has brought prosperity to hundreds of millions of people.

This kind of Marxist rhetoric from a top Vatican adviser makes it appear as if the pope has aligned himself with an ideology that, despite the “collapse” of communism, is still very much alive, and which the Black Book of Communism says has already claimed 100 million lives.

The recent cordial Francis visit with Cuban dictator Raul Castro only adds to the growing concern.

“Pope Francis will give us his encyclical letter on ecology,” said Maradiaga, anticipating its impact. “This year is a unique opportunity to take responsibility for the future of our world and the lives of future generations.”

The title of the Caritas conference was, “One Human Family, Caring for Creation.” But it appears that the “caring” part lies in replacing capitalism with structures of “global governance” that involve a massive transfer of political and economic power to international organizations like the United Nations.

After Maradiaga stepped down, he was replaced by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, as the new president of Caritas Internationalis. But Maradiaga continues as the coordinator of a group of nine cardinals that serves as Francis’s Council of Cardinals.

05/27/15
Let Them Eat Cake

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Strange Days Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Strange days, indeed… prescient, or just a reverberation?

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

This week, The Pirate’s Cove, Wolf Howling, Simply Jews and Seraphic Secret earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!