10/1/14

Following

Arlene from Israel

My critique of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the UN stands.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks to the UNGA, Sept. 29, 2014.

Credit: webtvun.org

In particular, I was distressed that he spoke about a readiness to make territorial concessions for an agreement with “rock solid security.”

This seems to me a very poor time to talk about such a thing – when Abbas is in bed with Hamas and the world is upside down.  It feels like a sort of super-eagerness to demonstrate readiness for concessions.  And it primes the world, not least the Arab world, to demand such concessions.

Yes, there are those who have pointed out to me that he almost certainly said it knowing it will never happen.  That may be true, but I confess to a distinct weariness with this sort of diplomatic game-playing.  I am looking for a bit more candor: we cannot negotiate with a unity government that enfolds a terrorist organization. Nor do we consider Abbas a legitimate partner for peace when he can libel Israel as he has just done, throwing all truth to the wind.  But then, this expectation may be why I am a writer/analyst and not a politician.

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What is being said is that his talk about a new template for peace that involves Arab states – who today see Israel differently – effectively threw out the “two-state solution,” as he had espoused it in his 2009 Bar Ilan talk.

It would be nice to think so, but it seems to me a bit of stretch.  There are many in the international community who could well have interpreted his words as simply meaning that he needs Arab help in crafting a “two-state solution” that works.  Precisely because Netanyahu spoke in free-wheeling and amorphous terms that lacked specificity, they may still believe that in the end the “two-state” paradigm is the solution.

In point of fact, this may be precisely what Netanyahu did mean in his UN speech. For in preliminary remarks for the press today in Washington, before he met with President Obama, Netanyahu said,

“I remain committed to the vision of peace of two states for two peoples, based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements.”  So there it is and too much should not be read into what he said at the UN.  His clarification is that the path to two states might be different from what has been tried until now: “we should make use of the new opportunities [in the Middle East], think outside of the box, and see how we can include the Arab countries to advance this very hopeful agenda.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Netanyahu-arrives-at-White-House-for-meeting-with-Obama-377795

“Very hopeful agenda.”  Let us hope he means the new relationship with Arab states, and not the “two state solution.”

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One thing he was clear about at the UN – and is to be applauded for – is saying that ISIS and Hamas, in their ideology and their intentions, are one and the same.  This is not going over well with the Obama administration.

Yesterday, I had cited Ben Shapiro, whose remarks on Obama’s UN speech I had hoped to run, but which I passed on because of the size of my posting.  Today I will return to just one thing he discussed (all emphasis was his in the original):

Referring to ISIS, Obama said: “No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force…”

Then, speaking of Hamas, the president said: “the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace. But let’s be clear: the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable.”

Observed Shapiro: “Self-defense for America, but not for the Jews, according to the President. The Jews must continue to pursue the ‘hard work of peace,’ even if they’re experiencing rocket fire every day; America, however, can bomb the hell out of ISIS even if ISIS is located thousands of miles away and largely threatens other Muslims. The hypocrisy is rank, and [the] moral equivocation repulsive.” (Here it is my emphasis.)

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This position was put forth by Obama before Netanyahu spoke, and what the prime minister subsequently said directly countered the president’s stand on the matter.  Needless to say, this is not being well received at the White House or the State Department.  Because Obama is bombing ISIS. And Obama also wants Israel to negotiate with the unity government that includes Hamas.

What we are seeing here is a serious difference of opinion between the two governments.   It was reflected in comments made by Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson, yesterday:  “Certainly we see differences. We would not agree with that characterization.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/US-disagrees-with-Netanyahu-on-Iran-ISIS-and-Hamas-376648

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And indeed, we see this echoed by Obama today as well, in his statement prior to his meeting with Netanyahu.  Referring to Gaza, he said:

…ways have to be found to “change the status quo” so that Israelis are safe in their homes and schools and “also so you don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well.”

He indicated that he wants to extensively discuss the situation in Gaza, and finding a more sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.

This is exceedingly bothersome.  No, infuriating.  There is a moral equivalency reflected in the president’s statement – between Israelis being threatened by rockets flying while they are in their schools and homes, and Palestinian Arab children being killed.  He choses not to perceive, or acknowledge, that if Israelis aren’t threatened with rockets flying, Palestinian Arab children, used as human shields by Hamas, will not be inadvertently killed as Israel takes on a necessary self-defense.  That is, he does not acknowledge that Hamas behavior generates this entire situation.

What is more, in speaking about a “sustainable peace,” Obama is making assumptions that are untenable and unreasonable.  How does Israel forge a “sustainable peace” with an entity that is sworn to destroy it?  Why should anyone assume that such a “peace” would bring the end of genocidal intentions Hamas has towards Jews?  And what right does the president have to ask us to try to reach such a “peace,” which would clearly entail suicidal concessions on our part?

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Ben Shapiro had it exactly right:  Obama’s “There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force…” does not apply to Israel’s confrontation with Hamas.

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But the really big bone of contention here – the one with the heaviest implications – is with regard to Iran and ISIS.  There have various suggestions, various rumors, about the US going easier on Iran in return for help in taking on ISIS.

Said Netanyahu, going into his meeting with the president:

“Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you worked so hard to put in place and leave it as a threshold nuclear power. And I firmly hope under your leadership that would not happen.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/10/01/at-white-house-netanyahu-warns-obama-not-to-ease-up-on-iran/

Yet there are signs that this may be happening.  In coming days, I will be tracking this.  Netanyahu is correct that concern about the threat of a nuclear Iran trumps the other concerns in this area, as considerable as they are.

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The Netanyahu – Obama meeting has not ended, as I prepare to put this out.  When it does, I doubt there will be much of import announced that hasn’t already been touched upon here.  If there is, I will, of course, pick up on it in future postings.

What is interesting here is that reports indicate that the body language of the two leaders reflects a more relaxed atmosphere than has been the case before.

US President Barack Obama, right, speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, October 1, 2014. photo credit: AFP/ Jim WATSON)

Credit: AFP/Jim Watson

10/1/14

BPE Expresses Concern About Possible Support for ISIS in OSCE Member States

ICLA

Intervention by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Session 14: Fundamental Freedoms II

Warsaw, October 1, 2014

First of all, Pax Europa supports the statement made by Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

BPE is concerned about the widespread support for ISIS in Islamic communities throughout Europe and elsewhere. Fighters by the thousands have traveled to Syria and Iraq, some of whom return to our countries, their fanaticism, and loyalty to the Caliphate and not least their skills in weapons and explosives which could wreak havoc in the OSCE region. Barring these warriors from traveling to war areas of the Islamic State is one option; however, Pax Europa believes it is better to prevent them from returning, especially since they have taken up arms in another entity other than their country of nationality. Freedom of Religion should not mean the right to wage war against unbelievers, or Kuffar.

Also worrisome is the number of like-minded individuals who did not leave, and the network that must be assumed to exist within the OSCE region. This security risk must be addressed by participating States and the OSCE.

Another aspect deserving our attention is the legitimacy of the Islamic State. Denouncing it as “International Strong Ignorance Syndrome” is all very well, but it does not address the heart of the matter. If it can be shown that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, we can look forward to their barbaric acts being denounced as the criminal acts they are, from all major Islamic authorities outside the Islamic State, in the OSCE region.

Pax Europa thus recommends:

  • That OSCE pS [participating states], Turkey in particular, do not only prevent their citizens from traveling to Syria, but also make efforts to prevent their return.
  • That OSCE pS demand from all organizations calling themselves ‘Islamic’ that they approve neither of the goal nor the methods of Islamic State, and that such violent behavior against Muslims and non-Muslims is contrary to Islamic teachings and tradition.
  • That OSCE pS re-categorize any Islamic organization not willing to do so as ‘political’ rather than ‘religious’, subject to scrutiny by relevant authorities and intelligence agencies for seeking to undermine democracy and human rights, or even implement Sharia law.
  • That Islamic organizations and representatives, including the distinguished Islamic delegates to the OSCE, undertake a join, comprehensive effort to prove that Islamic State is acting contrary to the teachings of Islam. Carrying proof that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion would have the additional benefit of disarming ‘Islamophobia’.
10/1/14

ICLA Calls on OSCE Participating States to Oppose the Political Goals of Sharia

ICLA

alainwarsaw2014

Statement by the International Civil Liberties Alliance

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Session 14: Fundamental Freedoms II

Warsaw, October 1, 2014

As a preliminary remark I’d like to declare that the International Civil Liberties alliance supports the recommendations of Christian Solidarity Worldwide NGO report.

Promoting sharia is not a religious freedom, it’s an abuse of rights.

Sharia is an ideology which defines itself as a coherent block from which no one can subtract anything.

Sharia isn’t a system of moral principles from which one can pick and choose following a personal interpretation.

Sharia contains six fundamental elements:

  • The “Ummah” concept which defines a human group enforcing sharia and trying to follow its rules.
  • The Islamic state (caliphate) concept as the only legitimate model of political and social organization.
  • Compulsory regulations commanding all aspects of social behaviour.
  • Discriminatory regulations against women and non-Muslims.
  • The concept of “faith-based legitimate violence”.
  • And ultimately the concept of “permanent war” waged by the Ummah against all those who do not submit to sharia.

Sharia is an ideology like Nazism and communism, with the particularity of being simultaneously a theocratic and a totalitarian system.

All individuals or organizations promoting sharia rule or a doctrine containing sharia engage in activities of a political nature. Categorizing a group of sharia proponents as being “cultural” or “religious” is deceptive and inaccurate. The only true way to categorize such group is : “theocrato-totalitarian”.

No country truly committed to civil right protection can allow such groups to freely operate on their territory, because they are a real threat to human rights and democratic institutions.

ICLA recommends:

That OSCE encourage participating states adopt legislation empowering participating states to re-categorize as “political and anti-democratic” every organization which regularly promotes sharia in its activities. And especially so in all educational activities targeting children.

That ODIHR, during the process of elaborating laws, remain vigilant about the need for a legal framework scrupulously respecting the freedom of belief and of religion of other groups and individuals.

Original French text:

Promouvoir la charia n’est pas une liberté religieuse, c’est un abus de droit.

La charia est une idéologie qui se définit comme un bloc cohérent dont on ne peut rien retrancher.

Elle n’est pas constituée d’un ensemble de prescriptions morales que chacun est libre d’adapter selon son interprétation personnelle.

La charia comprend 6 points fondamentaux:

  • Le concept de « l’Oumma », ensemble humain regroupant ceux qui œuvrent en vue de l’imposition de la charia et s’efforcent d’en respecter les règles.
  • Le concept d’état islamique (califat) comme seul modèle politique et social légitime.
  • Des règles impératives régulant tous les aspects de la vie en société.
  • Des règles discriminatoires à l’encontre des femmes et des non-Musulmans.
  • Le concept de « violence légitime pour raison de croyance».
  • Le concept de « guerre permanente » de l’Oumma à l’encontre de tous ceux qui n’obéissent pas à la charia.

La charia est une idéologie au même titre que le nazisme ou le communisme mais elle a la particularité d’être un système à la fois totalitaire et théocratique.

Tous les individus ou organisations faisant promotion des règles de la charia ou d’une doctrine incluant celle-ci, ont des activités de nature politique. Qualifier un groupement promoteur de charia, de « culturel » ou « religieux » est trompeur et inexact. Le seul qualificatif pertinent est: « théocrato-totalitaire ».

Aucun pays véritablement respectueux des libertés individuelles ne peut tolérer l’activité de tels groupes qui sont une menace grave pour les droits humains et les institutions démocratiques.

Recommandation de l’ICLA:

Que l’OSCE incite les états participants à adopter des législations permettant la requalification en tant que « politique et anti-démocratique » de toute organisation faisant promotion de la charia dans ses activités.

Que dans l’élaboration de ces législations, le BIDDH veille au respect d’un cadre respectant scrupuleusement les libertés de conscience et de culte des autres groupes et individus.

10/1/14

BPE Calls for Sharia to be Forbidden in Austria

ICLA

eswwarsaw2014

Intervention by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Working Session 13: Tolerance and Non-Discrimination II

To the Austrian Delegation

Warsaw, September 30, 2014

BPE is gravely concerned about the threat emanating from the Islamic State (IS), which, according to a professor for Islamic pedagogy at the University of Vienna, “from a theological perspective, [is] 100% legitimate”. IS has led a number of Austrian men and women to travel to Syria and Iraq in order to fight alongside IS, leading the Austrian government to introduce even stricter laws with regard to freedom of speech.

There are currently efforts to relaunch the Law on Islam. This is laudable, especially since the draft includes a demand for the disclosure of Islamic teachings and beliefs in the German language (Koran and Hadith).
We support the efforts of the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has already called for the publication of an official German translation of the Koran.

Recommendation to the Austrian Delegation

  • BPE recommends that Austria take seriously its OSCE commitments with respect to implementing the Law on Islam in Austria.
  • BPE recommends that Austria actively obtain written affirmations from Islamic organizations that they do not currently, and will not in the future, seek to introduce Sharia law in the land.
10/1/14

Interfaith Narratives and the Suppression of Reason

ICLA

SCwarsaw2014

Statement by Mission Europa
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Session 13: Tolerance and Non-Discrimination II

Warsaw, September 30, 2014

The question “What is the role of inter religious and inter-community dialogue in addressing tolerance and non-discrimination and what can governments do to encourage and facilitate it?” raises concerns.

Stated in the negative, at what point does government coercion to engage in inter-religious dialogue run counter to the religious interests of those undertaking it who in theory are speaking on behalf of their faith community? This is especially true when discussions disproportionately serve the interest of one religion to the detriment of the others.

A parallel concern is that interfaith dialogue today tends to follows relativist rules that subordinate faith interests to diversity concerns through narratives designed to suppress reason. In such an environment, interfaith “partners” all to commonly become caught up in the fraternal need to bond over the need to protect equities.

Recommendations:

Interfaith dialogue should follow its own flow and rhythm; should be undertaken by faith leaders who remain committed to reason that is capable of looking past relativist narratives that creates an equivalency between the sheep to be defended and the wolves to be watched. In this, government should play little or no role.

10/1/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – When Justice Just Is Not Edition

The Watcher’s Council

http://blogs.denverpost.com/opinion-cartoons/files/2014/09/eric-holder-resigns-cartoon-mckee.jpg

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:

The Council In Action!!

The Noisy Room’s Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is now affiliated with a new group, the Stop Qatar Now Coalition along with a number of other journalists, national security experts, publishers and independent researchers. I urge you to drop by, read their report on what amounts to a narco-terrorist enabler and find out what this is all about.

Virginia Right’s Tom White continues to be a major source when it comes to Virginia Politics. This week, he was cited by a local CBS affiliate WTVR in a report on a controversial video being shown to local schoolchildren that essentially blames 9/11 on America… his fine piece this week goes into further details.

This week, The MidKnight Review, The Pirate’s Cove and The Elder Of Ziyon 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 6 PM 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 Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!