British banks, with enthusiastic encouragement from Prime Minister David Cameron, succumbed to the temptation to provide “sharia compliant” loans and generally cater to the demands of the enemy, Islam.
Now one bank, HSBC, has changed its corporate mind about dealing with at least some – perhaps the worst – of its Muslim clients.
This is from Gatestone by Sam Westrop. (Sam Westrop, Douglas Murray, and Melanie Phillips are the leading voices – among very few – who dare to speak out loud, clear, and often against the destructive encroachments of Islam on British law, institutions, and traditions.)
In late July, HSBC, a British multinational bank, closed the bank accounts of Anas Al-Tikriti, a prominent British Islamist activist, and his family. HSBC also closed down the bank accounts of the Cordoba Foundation, of which Tikriti is the Director, and the Finsbury Park Mosque.
In response to enquiries, the bank simply stated that to continue providing services would be outside the bank’s “risk appetite.”
This latest round of bank account closures has come as a surprise to counter-terrorism experts and much of the media, who note that the Cordoba Foundation and the Finsbury Park Mosque have enjoyed strong political support in the past.
Just a few weeks previously, HSBC also closed the accounts of the Ummah Welfare Trust, a leading British Islamist charity that has previously partnered with the Al Salah Islamic Association, described by the U.S. Treasury Department as “one of the largest and best-funded Hamas charitable organisations in the Palestinian territories.” Senior Hamas officials have confirmed that Al Salah is “identified with us”.
Anas Al-Tikriti, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain, had his bank account, along with that of his wife and two children, shut down by HSBC. Tikriti has been described as “one of the shrewdest UK-based Brotherhood activists … [who] has sought to persuade Western governments that they should fund Brotherhood groups as moderate alternatives to al-Qaeda”.
Tikriti is also a vocal supporter of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and he has regularly hosted a program on the Arab TV satellite station, Al-Hiwar, founded by Azzam Tamimi, Hamas’s “special envoy” to the UK. Tamimi, in 2004, told the BBC that he would become a suicide bomber if he “had the opportunity”, and described self-sacrifice for Palestine as “a noble cause”.
In an interview with the Muslim Brotherhood’s official website after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Tikriti affirmed “the right of the Iraqis to engage in legitimate resistance against foreign occupation”. He also has stated that the decision by the Muslim Council of Britain to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day was a “principled stand”.
In response to HSBC’s closure of his bank account, Tikriti claimed that, “HSBC has targeted my family because of my activity in defence of Gaza against the barbaric aggression of the Zionists” and because of his efforts to “oppose the military coup in Egypt”.
While many would dispute Tikriti’s conclusions, his instincts might be right. The one thing that connects Tikriti with the Cordoba Foundation, the Finsbury Park Mosque and the Ummah Welfare Trust is evidence of their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the designated terrorist group, Hamas.
The Cordoba Foundation, which Tikriti heads, has been described by Prime Minister David Cameron, as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood.” In 2009, Cordoba co-sponsored an event organized by Cageprisoners, a pro-jihadist group, which featured as a guest speaker Anwar Al-Awlaki, who later became a senior leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, before he was killed in a U.S. drone-strike in 2011.
The Cordoba Foundation also works closely with the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, whose website was originally registered to Tikriti’s wife, Malath Shakir, whose bank account was also shut down by HSBC. According to UAE media, the Emirates Centre for Human Rights is part of the global Muslim Brotherhood network.
For human rights! How they make a mockery of Western moral principles.
The most surprising organization to be shut out by HSBC, however, is the Finsbury Park Mosque. The loss of its bank accounts has sparked anger from leading British Muslims and sympathetic parliamentarians.
The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a much easier target for criticism. Ten years ago, the hook-handed Imam of the mosque, Abu Hamza – recently found guilty of eleven terrorism charges after a five-week trial in New York — was arrested on terrorism charges.
We didn’t hear much about that from the media in the US, did we?
After his arrest, however, the British government, eager to rid the Finsbury Park Mosque of its pro-terror reputation, passed control of the institution to the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), one of the better-known Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the UK, and one with which Anas Al-Tikriti was once closely involved. Tikriti’s lobbying efforts for the government to embrace Muslim Brotherhood groups as “moderate” alternatives to more overtly terrorist organizations appeared to have paid off.
The government seemed oblivious, perhaps wilfully so, that the MAB’s founder, Kemal Helbawi, has proclaimed:
Oh honoured brothers, the Palestinian cause is not a struggle on borders or on land only. Rather, it is an absolute clash of civilisations: a satanic programme led by the Jews and those who support them and a divine programme carried by Hamas and the Islamic Movement in particular and the Islamic peoples in general.
We call it a clash of civilization with barbarism.
To run the Finsbury Park Mosque, the MAB appointed directors such as Mohammed Sawalha, a Hamas official described by a Brotherhood website as being “responsible for the political unit of the international Muslim Brotherhood in the UK.” Sawalha is also “said to have masterminded much of Hamas’s political and military strategy” out of London, as reported by the BBC.
In addition, the current Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque, Sheikh Rajab Zaki, was a key speaker at rallies in support of Mohamed Morsi, the former Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt.
Finsbury Park Mosque continues to promote the Muslim Brotherhood preacher, Jamal Badawi, who has described suicide bombers and Hamas terrorists as “freedom fighters” and “martyrs.” Badawi also advocatesthe right for men to beat their wives, if they show “disregard for [their] marital obligations.”
Badawi has also shared a platform with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, and he is a director of the International Association of Muslim Scholars, which, in 2004, issued a fatwa authorizing the murder of American troops in Iraq. In addition, during the U.S. terror-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation in 2007, Badawi was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
Finsbury Park Mosque still enjoys strong support from the local Council and the Metropolitan Police, both of which have sponsored events at the mosque with the support of the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi group that is a prolific publisher of anti-Jewish and anti-Shia material. WAMY is accused by a number of governments of funding terrorism.
Both the police and the local government body have provided several tens of thousands of pounds in grants to the mosque.
Likewise, the Ummah Welfare Trust has enjoyed the support of MPs; and the Cordoba Foundation has als0 received government funding through the Prevent scheme, a fund established by the previous Labour government to combat extremism.
Combat extremism by funding the extremists! What’s that if not insane?
As for Anas Al-Tikriti, in January 2014, he was invited by President Obama to the White House, as part of a delegation led by Iraqi politician Osama Al-Nujaifi, who leads the Mutahidoun bloc, a coalition of Iraqi political parties, the leading member body of which, according to Al Monitor, is the Islamic Party, the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The biggest question now about HSBC’s actions is “why?” Some observers have suggested that the HSBC’s decision in 2012 to hire Stuart Levey, the former under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, might have something to do with it. Others have suggested the possibility that the British government’s review into the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Prime Minister is due to hear during the summer recess, might be already having some effect.
On the face of it, it seems unlikely that the government would pressure HSBC to shut down Muslim Brotherhood bank accounts while allowing the British police to fund and sponsor Finsbury Park Mosque, one of the Brotherhood’s most important institutions.
But the coalition government, much like the Labour government that preceded it, seems always to have embraced a contradictory approach in its efforts to confront British Islamism. The present government, for instance, managed to declare the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation a “Hizb ut-Tahrir front” and at the same time provide it with £70,000 of taxpayer monies.
In addition, after the announcement of the Muslim Brotherhood review in March 2014, the Foreign Office revealed that its advisory group on “freedom of religion” was to include a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan, as a board member.
Tariq Ramadan it is worth noting, is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna.
Regardless of these apparent contradictions, HSBC’s decision to close down these bank accounts is welcome. For far too long, Muslim Brotherhood groups in Britain have escaped censure in spite of their promotion of extremism and their connections to terrorism. Even if the government is dithering, at least the private sector is acting.
Without letting ourselves become too optimistic, we venture to hope that this action by HSBC night start a trend.
There are a few, a very few, public voices in Britain that dare to say that Islam is the enemy of the West.
Even fewer who will say a good word for the small beleaguered state of Israel.
One of the few is Leo McKinstry. This is from a column of his in the Express:
Across the western world the Jewish state has been increasingly portrayed as brutal aggressor bent on the wholesale slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians.
The soaring death toll from the recent conflict, which [by the end of July] stood at more than 1,700 since the start of July [according to Hamas - ed], is widely seen as the responsibility of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
Even mainstream British politicians have joined in this condemnation.
Always keen to jump on any passing bandwagon, Labour leader Ed Miliband called Israel’s incursion into Gaza “wrong and unjustifiable”.
Miliband is Jewish by descent but a Leftist, and Leftism trumps everything for the true believer.
Just as forthright was the former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown. Calling for peace talks, he described Israel’s approach as “very foolish” and “disproportionate”.But all this populist anti-Israeli posturing is dangerous. It shows not the slightest grasp of the reality of Islamist aggression in the Middle East and the depth of the challenge that Israel faces.
In practice denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a suicidal disdain for the interests of western civilisation.
With their habitual self- righteousness Miliband and Ashdown claim that Israel is losing the propaganda war.
“Israel has lost the support and sympathy of the world,” said Ashdown yesterday, speaking in his self-appointed role as spokesman for the planet’s citizenry.
However, Israel is fighting a real war, not a propaganda war.
It is up against a fanatical enemy – the Hamas terror network, dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state.
The idea, sedulously cultivated by western appeasers of radical Islam, that the Palestinian movement is innocent is absurd.
The present conflict was started by Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians and since the beginning of July more than 2,800 of these missiles have been launched.
Britain would not tolerate an aerial assault without striking back so why should Israel?
The fact that Hamas’s rockets have inflicted only a few casualties is a reflection of their poor technology, not of their users’ lethal intent.
Moreover Hamas has constructed a series of tunnels into Israel with the aim of inflicting more deadly attacks. Israel, like any other nation, has a duty to defend itself by destroying this terrorist infrastructure.
In this context the parrot cry for negotiations is fatuous.
Negotiating with terrorists legitimizes them. The Israelis shouldn’t be doing it. No state should ever do it.
Hamas, an offshoot of the infamous Muslim Brotherhood, is not interested in a peace settlement, only in the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people. Its founding charter, drawn up in 1988, proclaims that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.”
Last week an imam in a Palestinian mosque declared: “Our doctrine in fighting you, the Jews, is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive.”
So on what aspect of anti-Semitic genocide is Israel supposed to negotiate with Hamas?
(This was written before the negotiations in Cairo started. Fortunately they have now stalled.)
Instead of traducing Israel, western politicians and the media should face up to the terrifying global threat of fundamentalist Islam, of which Hamas is a key part.
We see that threat all over the world from the turmoil in Libya to the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, from the stoning of women in Afghanistan to the savage persecution of Christians in Iraq.
If Israel’s defences crack, it will be another milestone in the slide from a liberal civilisation into a new dark, totalitarian age dominated by bigotry, misogyny and intolerance.
The baleful force of anti-Semitism is central to this aggressive Islamist ideology.
That is why, among militant Muslims and their western cheerleaders, there is such a neurotic obsession with Gaza. It is the ideal vehicle for trying to demonise Israel and delegitimise the Jewish state’s very existence.
The tragic irony is that Israel is one of the most open, prosperous countries yet now, thanks to the vicious anti-Jewish racism dressed up as concern for the Palestinians, it is treated in fashionable progressive circles as a pariah.
In trumpeting their compassion for Palestine and opposition to Israel progressive activists could hardly be more misguided.
There is nothing compassionate about Hamas’s creed of Islam, which seeks complete Sharia law and the subjugation of the infidel.
Similarly when western progressives bleat about ending “the cycle of violence” they are in denial about the violent nature of jihadism. Hamas’s 1988 charter explicitly states, “initiatives and so-called peaceful solutions are in contradiction of the principles of the Islamic resistance movement”.
British liberals often point to the success of the Northern Irish peace process but in the early 1990s the Republicans gave up because they were beaten by the British Army and the loyalist paramilitaries.
That is what needs to happen in Gaza. Israel has to break Hamas’s ability to wage war. Only by defeating terrorists can peace be achieved.
Rather than carping from the sidelines western politicians should support that goal.
Israel is a bulwark of civilisation against Islamism.
Ultimately we will pay a terrible price if we betray this heroic nation.
Daniel Hannan speaks as intelligently as always in this interview. We are somewhat less favorably impressed by the present Conservative government of Britain than he is, but we fully agree with everything he says about America – how great it was, how wrong it’s going. And we also like what he says about the EU. Asked by the interviewer if he see the Euro in danger of collapsing, Hannan replies, “No, I see the Euro in danger of surviving.”
(Hat-tip Don L.)
Call it Islam, call it Hamas, call it ISIS, call it the Muslim Brotherhood, call it BokoHaram; call it the Palestinians; call it the United Nations; call it by the name of any Islamic state; call it the interfaith movement, call it the Left, call it the religion of peace; demonstrate for it in the streets of the capitals of Europe; parade for it in New York and Chicago and Los Angeles; this is the thing itself:
We found the video at christianpost.com. We quote part of the text:
A Christian man in Syria recently had his head brutally hacked off by Islamic militants after being forced to deny his faith and salute Mohammed as “the messenger of God”.
So by Muslim rules he became a Muslim. Islam forbids Muslims to kill Muslims.
The perpetrators themselves filmed the atrocity “for the world to see and broadcast as a warning to ‘everyone like him’.”
In the video that was posted to YouTube with translated captions, the helpless Christian man is surrounded by armed militants wearing masks and he is heard reciting as instructed: “There is no God but God and I testify that Mohammed is the messenger of God.”
The victim did not say “God” but “Allah”. The Christian reporter chooses, like many Christians, to claim that the god of Islam and the god of Christianity are one and the same.
An apparent leader in the group of militants is then heard instructing the group: “No one will shoot him now, do you understand? He will not be killed by shooting because it is merciful for him.”
By which the savage seems to mean that death by shooting would be too merciful for him. He goes on:
“He will be beheaded because he is Kaffir, non-Muslim, sided [with] the government and was not praying at all. Everyone like him will have the same end, beheading,” said the militant.
Then they cut his head off as the Muslim murderers cry ‘Allahu Akbar’.
Today is the centennial anniversary of the start of the First World War. On 28 July, 1914, the Austro-Hungarian army fired the first shots, to crush rebellious Serbia. What happened then, and why, is traced in this video.
Blame is laid on the growth of nationalism, and even more on imperialism – the acquisition of colonies by the powers of Europe on other continents, in fierce competition with each other, Britain being far and away the winner. The fact that at least some empires, chiefly the British, brought incalculable benefits to the lands they conquered, colonized and ruled, is touched on briefly; in our view, too briefly.
We think it is an overview worth watching, though there are points where we would place a different emphasis.
We agree with the presenters that the day World War One broke out was the day Europe began its terminal decline.
The admirable Douglas Murray is interviewed intelligently on Canadian TV about the pro-Hamas anti-Israel protests erupting in the capitals of Europe.
Into its socialist democracies, slowly dying out of indigenous populations, Europe has admitted hordes of its worst enemy.
None is yet ruled by them – as we think the United States is at present. (Fortunately the United States is much more robust – we dare to say virile – than decadent Europe. Here it is the ruling that is feeble.)
When all of Europe is governed by sharia law (and all European women ambulant black bags), it will be very bad for America.
We sorrow most for Britain which has long been the sanest, the soberest, the most reasonable of nations. Now the blood of native Britons, citizens of London, members of Her Majesty’s armed forces, stain its streets from time to time and ever more frequently, shed by the barbarian colonists of Islam. And every time distant Israel wages war on its perpetual barbarian attackers, the colonists of Britain turn out in force in the capital to yell hideous, vicious, racist hatred and calumny, in a quiet avenue lined with dignified embassies.
Douglas Murray, who always displays moral clarity, writes at Gatestone:
The barricades are up again outside the Israeli Embassy in London, as they are across many capitals of Europe. Given that even more rockets than “normal” have been raining down on Israel in recent days, any sane country would need further barricades outside the Israeli embassy in order to contain yet another demonstration of support for Israel. But no, another day in London and another Palestinian-ist and Socialist Worker party protest is going on against the Israeli state.
The protestors are not, of course, demonstrating because they especially care about the lives of the people of Gaza. If they cared about the lives of Palestinians – or the people of the region in general – they would have spent night after night outside the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Turkish, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian embassies, among others. …
I have watched them a bit in recent days, watched the contorted hatred on their faces as they scream at the embassy and then watched their friendly sociability as the headscarfed women are driven away by their menfolk, often with their children in tow – a family day outing in “diverse” modern London. Behind their smiles and the increasingly competent public relations that the pro-Hamas faction is managing in Britain, it is possible for some people to forget that what brings these people out is one simple thing: a hatred of the Jewish state and a desire to see it annihilated by the terrorists of Hamas or anyone else at hand.
There are those who will say this is not a not-sufficiently-nuanced observation, that the motives of those protesting Israeli action are something other than a great hatred of Jews and the Jewish state. But if this were true, why would their posters say, “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza?” There is no “Holocaust” in Gaza. Anybody can see there is no similarity between the organized and systematic murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and the precision targeting of some Hamas rocket sites, some of which are deliberately hidden under hospitals, in the Gaza strip. Why do the protestors say “Holocaust” then? They know that this way they will hurt Jews as deeply as possible. By using the term “Holocaust” for this, they will either give the impression that the Holocaust was a small and minimal thing in the history of war – such as the confrontation between Hamas and Israel currently is – or else that the Israelis are, in their view, currently carrying out precisely the same barbarism which made the creation of the state of Israel such an added necessity for Jews in the 1940s, and that by supposedly becoming the Nazis they are meant to abhor, the Jews have forfeited any right to be regarded as part of acceptable humankind.
Either way, these protestors clearly mean to harm, not to help. But their presence – and the growing manner in which they are trying to wake up a far-away country to the actions of Israel, and condemn them as they would condemn Nazism – displays a trend worth dwelling on.
Israel has been through an exchange like this with Gaza every couple of years since Condoleezza Rice had the brilliant idea of pushing for elections in Gaza and allowing Hamas to finish with guns what they had failed to achieve at the ballot box. In the wider world’s response – as well as the facts in the ground in Israel – certain trends can now be spotted. One is that, since the 2006 war in Lebanon, protests against Israel in cities such as London have increased in number and vitriol year on year. This is not because the confrontations between Israel and her enemies during this period are getting larger. On the contrary, no exchange since 2006 has been anything in size like the war which had to be engaged in then. Each time, however, despite the actual conflict diminishing, the protests in London and other capitals in Europe have grown.
So how can one account for this? One reason, simply put, is that you cannot have a country in which the Muslim population doubles each decade (as in Britain) and radical Islamist groups teach young Muslims to make the Israel-Palestine issue their prime concern, and expect the result to have no impact.
The young men and women who pack their banners back in the car after a good day’s shouting at the Israeli embassy may or may not have British citizenship, yet it is hard to say that they are British in any recognizable sense of the term. If they were, they might think that a simple sense of fair play, among other things, ought to dictate that a country being bombarded with missiles on a daily basis should, every now and then, have the right to respond by hitting the sites from which those missiles are fired as well as at the people who order the launchers to let loose.
Israel, one can probably say with some confidence, can very well look after itself. Like everyone else who has spent time in the country, and admires and even loves it, I worry for it, but I can think of no nation on earth that is better equipped or better motivated to look after itself and its people. So when I see these young protestors in London, protesting against Israel, I do not worry for the country they are shouting against. They cannot touch her. But I worry for my country — Britain.
It is a country that is finding it so difficult to integrate the millions of Muslims who have come here that (in a figure that ought to be better known) there are now at least twice as many young British Muslims who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and other such groups than there are Muslims fighting for Queen and country here in the British armed forces.
By any standards, this is a symptom of a disastrous immigration and integration problem. The people shouting outside the Israeli embassy – the knackered and foolish old minority of Trots aside – can do Israel no harm. But they can do great harm to the country they are in.
Europe’s Israel-haters are no real problem for Israel, but they are the greatest possible problem for Europe.
From time to time visitors to this website or our Facebook page query the idea – even the possibility – of there being such a thing as atheist conservatism. They are – almost always, as far as we can make out – Americans whose understanding is that the word “conservative” denotes Christian conservatism. To them, therefore, to speak of “atheist conservatism” is to commit a contradiction in terms. Some have called it an oxymoron.
In Europe too, conservatism has a Christian coloration. Conservative political parties usually declare themselves to be Christian – for example, the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) of Germany. But their support does not come only from Christians. And in Britain the established Church of England has been called “the Conservative Party at prayer”, but the party does not exclude members of other Christian denominations or other religions, or the non-religious.
Yet it is an American conservatism that we embrace. It is faithfulness to the Constitution, to the essential idea that the United States was intended to embody as a nation: the idea of individual liberty protected by the rule of law.
The shortest answer we give to those who accuse us of being self-contradictory is to tell them what our prime principles are:
- individual freedom
- a free market economy
- small government
- low taxes
- strong defense
And we point out that those are core principles of American conservatism. The Constitution – southern state critics please be reminded – does not require citizens to be Christian, or religious at all.
Just as often, perhaps even more often, we are told that we cannot be both conservative and libertarian: that the two traditions are separate and even inimical to each other, to the point of being mutually exclusive. Even if that were true (and we don’t think it is), we consider it unnecessary to take tradition into account. The issue needs to be looked at philosophically, not historically. Our conservatism, holding the firmly conservative principles we have listed, is manifestly a conservatism of liberty.
And we think it is now, more than ever before, that the libertarian view should direct the political agenda of conservatism. A heavy counterweight is needed to bring America back from its tipping over into collectivism by the Left. Individual freedom urgently needs to be saved.
What is stopping conservatives from accepting libertarianism as its future? The libertarians themselves. Frequently, their public statements reveal them to be inexcusably ignorant of world affairs. They often advocate naive isolationism. They seem to lack a sense of what matters. The legalization of drugs could be wise and necessary, but it is not worth making a hullabaloo about when jihad is being waged against us. A person should arguably be able to marry any other person or persons – or things – that they choose, but it is much more important that America should remain the world’s sole superpower.
John Hinderaker also thinks that this should be “the libertarian moment”. And he too reproaches libertarians with an underdeveloped sense of what matters to the existence, liberty, safety, and prosperity of the nation.
He writes at PowerLine:
Every major strand of American conservatism includes a strong libertarian streak, because the value of liberty is fundamental to just about all conservative thought. But today, especially, is said to be the libertarians’ moment. What once was a fringe movement, politically speaking, has moved front and center in our political life.
And yet, in my view, libertarians of both the capital L and small l varieties punch below their weight. They have not contributed as much as they should to the conservative movement. This is partly because libertarians tend to founder on foreign policy, where many are merely modern-day isolationists. But it is also because they have tended to focus on secondary, or tertiary, issues of domestic policy.
A couple of years ago I was invited to a gathering on behalf of Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico who then was a libertarian candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. I was well disposed toward him, but when he started talking, his first subject was legalization of drugs. Now he is the CEO of a marijuana company. Rand Paul is probably the leading libertarian at the moment; he purports to take seriously the threat that someone drinking coffee in an American cafe will be struck by a drone-fired missile.
American liberty is indeed under attack, and a libertarian movement is needed more than ever. But the threat to freedom is not drug laws or drone attacks.
The principal threat is the administrative state, which increasingly hems in everything we do and depends hardly at all on the will of voters. …
Calvin Coolidge, who knew the Progressives well and understood how antithetical their vision of government is to America’s founding principles [said]:
It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter [the Constitution]. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.
Today we labor under an administrative state that has metastasized far beyond anything Coolidge could have imagined. It constrains our freedoms, it lays waste to our economy, it has largely rendered Congress irrelevant, and it threatens to make just about anyone a criminal, since no one can possibly keep track of all of the myriad regulations with which we are encumbered. And let’s not forget that the administrative state is run by liberals, for liberals.
Despite the fact that it is antithetical to the Constitution and to American traditions, there is little opposition to the administrative state as such. Conventional politicians suggest that regulations can be made less irrational and less burdensome – a good idea, certainly – but hardly anyone questions the fundamental concept of Congress delegating its powers to unelected and mostly unaccountable agencies that are charged with managing just about every aspect of our lives. Nearly everyone considers the administrative state, as such, to be inevitable. …
Why don’t libertarians stake out a “radical” position on domestic policy? Why not argue, not just for a moderation in the inevitable drift toward a more and more powerful administrative state, but for a return to the Constitution’s central principle – the very first words of Article I – that “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…”, a Congress that is accountable to the people.
A battle is being fought for the liberties of the American people and, frankly, it isn’t going well. The fight has little or nothing to do with drugs and drones. If libertarians are serious about preserving and expanding liberty, they should join the fight that matters. A libertarian movement that focuses on a rollback of the administrative state would be “radical,” but it also would put libertarians in the vanguard, not on the fringe, of American conservatism.
As a member of Cobra, the UK national crisis management committee, I was involved in British efforts to rescue our citizens kidnapped by Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. No modern-day military action is so fraught: the odds are stacked against the captives, the whip hand is with the captors, it is a race against time, and it becomes extremely personal.
So the admirable Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, writes at Gatestone.
The world has undergone gut-churning revulsion this week at the videos of rows of kneeling young Iraqi men callously gunned down by Al Qaida terrorists in Mosul. But time and again, in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Hamas has shown itself to be just as capable of such brutal cold-blooded killing. That knowledge has galvanized Israel’s desperate hunt for those who abducted teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach as they hitchhiked home from their school in Gush Etzion a week ago. …
Nothing – nothing – stands in the way of our efforts to bring them back. Although we hope for the best, we prepare for the worst.
From the outside, it is difficult to read the realities of a kidnapping. Those with the responsibility of saving lives are forced into a cat and mouse game in which they must both reassure the public and sow seeds of disinformation among the captors. So far, for Naftali, Gilad and Eyal, the signs are not encouraging. As far as we know a week later, there is no proof of life, no demands, no negotiations.
Yesterday, June 19, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency apparently reported that Hamas leader Salah Bardawil said that the “Palestinian resistance” (Hamas — the acronym for the “Islamic Resistance Movement”) had carried out the kidnapping.
The first priority is always to establish the identity and the motive of the captors. Early on, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that Hamas was guilty. [Even] US Secretary of State Kerry agreed, and this seems to be the view throughout Gaza and the West Bank.
Hamas leader Mohammad Nazzal, for his part, described the kidnapping of three teenage civilians as “a heroic capture”, and “a milestone” for the Palestinian people. He said that every passing day in which the Israelis failed to find the teenagers was “a tremendous achievement”.
The sheer sadism of the Palestinian Arab leadership, though bloodily demonstrated over and over again for nearly 100 years now – and so is fully expected – still shocks and revolts, and shows no sign of abating.
Nazzal’s comments reflect long-standing views on the abduction and butchering of Israelis by the leadership of Hamas, the internationally proscribed terrorist group responsible for firing thousands of lethal rockets indiscriminately against the civilian population of Israel from the Gaza Strip, the latest salvoes only this week.
It is the same terrorist group that the United Nations, the United States and the European Union – in a display of moral bankruptcy and betrayal – have all endorsed as a legitimate partner in a unity government for the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Just the day before the three boys were kidnapped, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, welcomed Hamas into the PA government while lambasting Israel for detaining terrorists and taking action to prevent Hamas terrorist attacks from Gaza and the West Bank.
Ashton, though never slow to condemn Israel, took five days to denounce this kidnapping. Both her words and actions have legitimized and encouraged Hamas. Her inaction in the face of repeated terrorist assaults has bolstered Hamas’s convictions.
The kidnapping will find favor with Ashton’s new best friends in Iran. Also desperate to appease the ayatollahs, British Foreign Secretary William Hague this week announced the re-opening in Tehran of a British embassy, closed in 2011 after being ransacked on the orders of the Iranian government. There are even reports of US military intelligence-sharing with Iran over the crisis in Iraq – where only a few short years ago, large numbers of American and British soldiers were being slaughtered — using Iranian-supplied munitions by terrorists trained, directed and equipped by Tehran and its terrorist proxy, Lebanese Hizballah.
As Ashton and the West cozy up to the ayatollahs, the ayatollahs are again cozying up to Hamas. A few weeks ago, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizballah, met with Hamas leaders to resolve the differences between Iran and Hamas that arose over the Syrian conflict. Hamas – isolated from Egypt following the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood regime – seems desperate to restore full relations with the Iranian tyrant. Iran is equally enthusiastic to bring Hamas back into the fold: Hamas remains an important instrument of the ayatollahs’ overriding, stated goal of destroying the State of Israel.
In these circumstances it is certainly not beyond probability that the three boys’ kidnapping was a goodwill gesture from Hamas to the ayatollahs.
It is hard to not be chilled to the bone by the thought of three teenage boys – who might easily be our own sons or brothers – spending night after night in the hands of ruthless terrorists… or worse. The anguish of the boys’ parents must be unimaginable.
Yet among the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza, including children, a new symbol has emerged – the three-fingered salute, signifying joy at the kidnapping …
Such celebration, including the handing out of sweets in the street, has been widespread. …
Both the US and the EU have paid the salaries of Palestinian terrorists by means of grants to the PA; they also fund this propaganda and incitement, no doubt including some of the imagery applauding the boys’ kidnapping.
The Israeli security operation has so far focused on finding the three boys. Over 330 Hamas suspects have been arrested, and illicit weapons and ammunition seized. Echoing the code-name of the rescue operation, “Brother’s Keeper,” the IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, has encouraged his troops to apply the same vigour to their task as if they were searching for their own brothers or members of their own platoon. He has also reminded them that most people in the areas they are searching are not connected to the kidnapping, and to treat them with care and humanity.
Concurrently, the IDF is taking steps to weaken and dismantle Hamas in the West Bank. In some quarters these have been criticized as an unnecessary and opportunistic widening of the operation. It is nothing of the sort. With this latest kidnapping, Hamas has confirmed its continued intent to abduct, attack and murder Israeli civilians in the West Bank. Like every government, Israel has an absolute duty to protect its citizens, and undermining this terrorist threat is an essential part of that responsibility.
All military operations are unpredictable; it is possible that Operation Brother’s Keeper could lead to an escalation of violence. Incidents have already occurred. It is unlikely that Israel will expand the current operation into Gaza, unless there is a serious upsurge in violence from there or a connection between Gaza terrorists and the kidnapping comes to light.
Whichever way this operation develops, the international community should avoid the same response to the current defensive actions that they have so often displayed whenever Israel has sought to defend itself from missile attacks from Gaza. The international community usually ignores repeated volleys of rockets fired at Israeli civilians, and then condemns Israel for taking defensive action to prevent further attacks. It is these responses from the international community that have encouraged Hamas, and amounted to nothing less than support for terrorism. And it is these responses, along with the endorsement of Hamas’s inclusion in a Palestinian unity government, that have led to the kidnapping of the boys in the West Bank.
We could not put it better ourselves.
We are all irrational in our likes and dislikes. We are put off by a face, a feature, a mannerism, something said, something done, a name, an accent. Some tell themselves not to act unjustly towards a person they instinctively dislike. Some do not curb themselves and do act unjustly. That is morally abhorrent, but there’s nothing that can be done to prevent it happening. People are unjust. People insult other people. So it always has been and always will be.
To express indignation over what someone says (as so many public figures are now doing over what a repulsive old geezer named Donald Sterling said in private against blacks to his black girl friend) is fine, whether you really feel indignant or only want to show what a good person you are. Freedom allows you public display of emotion. Freedom allows you hypocrisy.
Freedom allows the girl-friend to accept a house, a fleet of expensive cars, and her living from this man, and then to tape a private conversation he has with her and make it public. Freedom allows her to be spiteful, ungrateful, and viciously treacherous, just as it allows him to hate and despise people for no better reason than that they are of another race.
It should not be the business of the law to monitor and censure personal opinion.
Voltaire declared, “I hate what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” And he meant it: meant that he would die to uphold the principle of liberty.
It was an idea typical of the age of reason; of the Enlightenment. To contradict it is to fall back into the dark age of dogma.
It is precisely when someone says something you don’t agree with – something you consider stupid, abominable, ugly, offensive, wrong – that you must uphold his right to say it. Argue with him, call him a cretin and a villain; despise him, hate him, defame him if you will (though the law might stop you spreading lies about him). But do not call for him to be gagged.
When Britain was a free country (ah, yes, I remember it well!), you could insult anyone as much as you pleased short of slander (such as accusing him of a crime). It was called “common abuse”, and there was no law against it. Nor should there have been. Now, in Britain, it’s okay for you to insult white males as much as you like. And Jews. If you insult them loudly and often enough you may get a grant to do it professionally. But if you insult Muslims you will be arrested and charged with a “hate crime”. (See our post, Bye-bye freedom, immediately below.)
Allowing people to say what you don’t like and don’t agree with is the whole point of constitutionally guaranteeing free speech.
The idea of “hate crime” is at the root of this nonsense. Nobody can know what another person feels. If a person commits a crime, punish him for the crime, not for the supposed emotion behind it. Such an arrogantly puritanical concept as “hate crime” was bound to distort the law and threaten liberty. As it does.
Crime is bad because it hurts individuals. Racism is bad because it hurts individuals. Racism, though it may be the cause of a crime, is not criminal in itself, and should not be criminalized.
People must be free to be petty, to be prejudiced, to be malicious, to be insulting. They cannot be stopped by the law. To make a law against bad behavior won’t change it, and can only make a mockery of the rule of law itself.
It is foolish and politically authoritarian to try and criminalize natural behavior, however unpleasant it may be.
Another word for politically authoritarian is fascist. Yes – if a human being or a bureaucrat tries to make people conform to his idea of good behavior, he is a fascist.
Tolerance must extend to the hard-to-tolerate. (But not to the intolerant.)
It’s better to be free to hate than to be free of hatred.
Jillian Becker April 30, 2014