One hundred years ago today World War One began 1

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 Nazis of our time 0

The admirable Douglas Murray is interviewed intelligently on Canadian TV about the pro-Hamas anti-Israel protests erupting in the capitals of Europe.

Posted under Britain, Canada, Commentary, Europe, Islam, Israel, middle east, Muslims, nazism, News, United Kingdom, Videos by Jillian Becker on Sunday, July 27, 2014

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Pogrom in France 5

Gatestone brings a report and commentary by Guy Millière. It is titled Paris’s Kristallnacht. 

Whenever Israel is attacked by terrorist movements and needs to defend itself, “leftist” and Islamist organizations organize anti-Israel protests in Paris. One of the latest took place on July 13.

We see no reason why the word leftist should be in quotation marks, but we quote from this important article with careful accuracy. Its value lies in its being objective, lacking sensationalism, as it reports an historic return in Europe to the growth of an evil movement  - the same evil that was crushed in 1945 after the soil of the continent had yet again been soaked with blood in a terrible war.      

The event brought together between 10,000 and 30,000 people – not surprising in a country where “leftist” and Islamist organizations are strong.

The demonstrators shouted hateful and violent slogans against Israel and held Israeli flags on which swastikas replaced the Star of David – also not surprising. Events organized by “leftists” and by Islamists usually carry such gear.

The demonstrators also shouted purely anti-Semitic slogans; the call for “Death to Jews” was picked up by the crowd. This was the first time since the end of World War II that explicitly anti-Semitic chants were shouted by a large crowd in Paris (During a demonstration in January, protesters shouted, “Jews, France does not belong to you”).

We would call that an anti-Semitic slogan, but the fact that the author doesn’t perhaps demonstrates his determined objectivity.

Demonstrators shouted, “Hamas will win,” in support of the jihadist terrorist organization. This was also the first time that slogans openly favoring a jihadist terrorist organization were shouted by a large crowd in Paris. (During earlier demonstrations, protesters shouted “Palestine will win,” but did not point to Hamas).

Demonstrators also shouted slogans in favor of a man who had murdered Jewish children: “We are all Mohamed Merah.” Merah shot and killed a rabbi and three Jewish children at close range in a schoolyard in Toulouse in 2012; it was the one of the most serious anti-Semitic acts committed in France since the Vichy regime. This was the first time in France that a large crowd proudly identified with a murderer of Jewish children.

The demonstration started in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris (metro station Barbès Rochechouart), close to where Islamic preachers organized street prayers a few months ago; it ended near Place de la Bastille. Dozens of windows of Jewish shops and restaurants along the route were broken and covered with yellow labels saying, “boycott Israel”. This was the first time that so many Jewish shops and restaurants were attacked during a demonstration in Paris.

Which fully justifies his title Paris’s Kristallnacht.

In addition, several hundred protesters armed with iron bars, machetes, axes and firebombs, arriving Place de la Bastille, marched to the nearby Don Isaac Abravanel Synagogue on rue de la Roquette. They shouted, “Let’s slay the Jews,” “Hitler was right,” and “Allahu Akbar”.

Only six police officers were on hand, who were quickly overwhelmed. Members of Jewish defense organizations protected the 200 Jews present inside the synagogue. Even after police reinforcements arrived, the synagogue was besieged for nearly two hours. The Jews, prisoners of a potentially lethal horde, were locked inside.

At another nearby synagogue on rue des Tournelles, rioters threw Molotov cocktails and looted the place. When the vandals continued their looting to rue des Rosiers, the heart of the Jewish quarter of Paris, the police struggled to stop them.

This was the first time since World War II that an anti-Semitic pogrom took place in France.

What did the government do about it – apart from allowing six policemen to put in an appearance, and reinforcements to be sent late and do nothing?

In an attempt to address the distress of the Jewish community, the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, denounced anti-Semitism in general terms. He said he would strengthen the protection of “places of worship,” synagogues and mosques – although no mosque was attacked.

Although the government banned the next demonstration, scheduled for July 19, it took place anyway, and soon turned into a riot.

The forces of law and order tried to do a little better the next time, July 19. But the rioting was worse.

When thousands of protesters gathered again at the Barbès Rochechouart metro station, the presence of significant police forces prevented protesters from crossing Paris. Organized groups then attacked the police by throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and by using iron bars. Shops were looted. Garbage cans were burned. Bus stations, dozens of them, and billboards were destroyed. Protesters came with pickaxes and ripped the pavement on several streets to throw chunks of asphalt.

Demonstrators tried to burn down the largest textile store in Paris, near Barbès Rochechouart, because it carries a Jewish name, Dreyfus-Marché Saint Pierre. Clashes with police near this store were particularly violent.

Witnesses spoke of the atmosphere of a civil war, and photographers spoke of a “French intifada”.

The slogans shouted by the rioters were the same as the previous week: “Death to Jews” mingled with “Death to Israel” and “Long live Hamas.” Many who threw stones and Molotov cocktails shouted, “Allahu Akbar,” just as the attackers of the synagogue on July 13 had done. …

The again on July 20 -

Rioters started to ransack the suburb with the largest Jewish population on the outskirts of Paris: Sarcelles. All the Jewish stores and many cars were wrecked or set on fire. A group shouting “Allahu Akbar” again tried to burn the town’s synagogue. Again, most rioters were Muslim. Again, most shouted, “Death to the Jews.”

All French politicians are ready to condemn anti-Semitism in general terms (except members of the National Front); none are ready to call the anti-Semitism that is exploding in France today by its name: Islamic anti-Semitism. …

Almost all French politicians adopt an attitude of appeasement toward the enemies of Israel and Jews. They never define Hamas as an Islamic terrorist organization. They close their eyes to the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish hate speech disseminated by the enemies of Israel in the Middle East, and to the irony that France finances that speech. They act as if they did not see that the hate speech France finances in the Middle East is now spreading throughout France.

The major French media have not said a word about the anti-Semitism and jihadism that permeated the protest of July 13 and the riots of July 19 and 20. All major French television reports of these events presented the protesters and rioters as people who had just wanted to support the “liberation of the Palestinian people”. All reports major French television reports on Israel’s war against Hamas are made ​​from the point of view of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. No report speaks of Hamas’s genocidal Jew hatred or of the use of Arab women and children as human shields. Journalists from major French media outlets act as if they did not know that by adopting a watered-down vision of the protesters and rioters in France, and by describing the war from the point of view of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, they are playing a dangerous game that could lead to more pogroms and even civil war.

The attitude of French politicians reflects the sorry state of French society. All the riots that erupted in France during the last decade were the result of minor incidents, but showed that France is on the verge of a large-scale explosion. French politicians want to avoid a large-scale explosion. They are scared and paralyzed.

French politicians also know that France’s Muslim population now amounts to 15% of its total population and that radical Islamist organizations are particularly well established. The Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is the main French Muslim organization; it attracts tens of thousands of people in each of its annual meetings and openly lends political support to Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. French politicians do not want a confrontation with the UOIF.

French politicians also know that more than 750 neighborhoods in France are considered “no go zones” by the police, and that the authorities have lost control of them.

They also know that 70% of all inmates in the French prison system are Muslim, and that self-proclaimed imams and gang leaders have taken over many prisons. They know that these prisons have been transformed into recruiting centers for jihadists, and that regaining control of these prisons is an almost impossible task. Mohamed Merah and Mehdi Nemmouche, the Brussels Jewish Museum killer, became jihadists while in French prisons.

French politicians know, as well, that more than 800 French Muslims are being trained in the Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria.

They know that Muslims vote. Eight million Muslims clearly have greater political weight than do four hundred thousand Jews.

The major French media are also scared and paralyzed.  Criticizing radical Islam on French television is now almost impossible. …  Members of the Israeli government are never interviewed on French television. Representatives of Palestinian and “pro-Palestinian” organizations are regularly invited and can lie without ever being contradicted.

Reports on right-wing anti-Semitism are abundant. Reports on Islamic Jew-hatred are non-existent. …

The prevalent sentiment among French Jews is that a page has been turned. The French Jewish philosopher Shmuel Trigano wrote on July 16th that what is happening is a sign that Jews must leave France, fast. “Recent events are likely to play the role that such events have played in the past for the Jews in many countries: a strong symbolic event gives the signal that the Jews have no future in the country that was theirs”. …

Most recently, on July 23, an anti-Israeli protest was organized in Paris. This time, the protest was not banned. It brought together 10,000-20,000 people. 15,000 police officers were present. Thirty socialist MPs were present among the protesters. The media said it was a “peaceful protest.” People shouted, “Hamas, Jihad, Resistance.” Nazi-era anti-Semitic cartoons appeared on large panels. Again, groups of protesters finished their day at the rue des Rosiers and attacked Jewish shops. Some “peaceful protest”.

The Jews of France are in quite as much mortal danger as the children of Honduras. So will some tens of thousands of them be welcomed as refugees into the United States by the Obama administration, like the children of Honduras?

We all know the answer to that.

Posted under Anti-Semitism, Europe, France, Islam, jihad, Leftism, Muslims, Race, Terrorism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, July 26, 2014

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Lament for Britain 1

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.

Sunny outlook 1

We have been inclined to take a pessimistic view of the near future since Barack Obama came to power, weakened the United States, damaged its economy, and restricted the liberty of the people.

In that time, Islam has gained influence in Europe, the Middle East has erupted in civil wars, and an Islamic State – a “caliphate” no less – has been proclaimed by the army of ISIS, which continues to conquer, kill, crucify, decapitate, and oppress fellow Muslims.

Now the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist force in Gaza, Hamas, is waging an almost continuous rocket war on Israel.

But David P. Goldman, better known as Spengler, writes this optimistic personal report of the Hamas attack and Israel’s defense:

Sunny with light missile cover in Tel Aviv this morning. I awoke to muffled thuds in the distance, Iron Dome shooting down Syrian-made missiles launched from Gaza, according to news reports. I attended the obligatory morning mixer for hotel guests at the bomb shelter, which fortunately lasted only five minutes before the all-clear sounded. …

Hamas is making a demonstration out of weakness. Money is tight, 44,000 Gaza civil servants haven’t been paid for weeks, and the IDF did significant damage to its infrastructure on the West Bank after the kidnapping-murder of the three yeshiva boys.

Netanyahu will look indecisive and confused, because he has to deal with an openly hostile US administration on one side and his nationalist camp on the other.

Time, though, is on Israel’s side: economically, demographically, strategically. The proportion of Jewish births continues to soar. The fruits of a decade of venture capital investing are ripening into high-valuation companies.

And the Arab world is disintegrating all around Israel’s borders.

I have no idea whether the IDF will go into Gaza on the ground, or what they will do if they do so: that’s a tricky cost-benefit calculation, and no-one outside the government has relevant information. But the broader point is that Israel will win a war of attrition. Hamas has shot off hundreds of rockets (including one that landed a few kilometers from me up north in Zichron Yaakov while I had lunch there yesterday) without causing a single injury. Iron Dome has worked brilliantly. Traffic was a bit lighter than normal last night, but there wasn’t a free table at any of the hundred or so cafe terraces on Dizengoff St., Tel Aviv’s main drag.

There will be no Intifada on the West Bank: the Palestinian Arabs are older, more resigned and less inclined to destroy their livelihoods than in 2000.

Syria and Iraq continue to disintegrate, Lebanon is inundated with Syrian Sunni refugees (weakening Hezbollah’s relative position), and Jordan is looking to Israel to protect it against ISIS. Egypt is busy trying to survive economically.

Medium term, the boycott and BDS threat become irrelevant. “Startup Nation” is becoming market-cap nation as hundreds of Israeli firms exit the venture capital stage and become profitable, mature enterprises. There’s never been anything like this. India and China beckon with a combined market of 2.5 billion people. To the extent that the Europeans threaten Israel with sanctions, the term “Middle East” gradually will be replaced by “Western Asia”. 

(I was interrupted by another brief visit to the bomb shelter, again for five minutes.)

In the short-term, to be sure, Israel must proceed with caution. It is still vulnerable to pressure from the US, which provides the bulk of its military hardware, and economic pressure from Europe, which accounts for a third of its trade. Nonetheless, Israel is winning and its adversaries are losing.

Libertarian conservatism 4

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.

The US and EU feed three boys into the jaws of Hamas 1

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.

A reckoning on Memorial Day 1

Robert Spencer writes at Jihad Watch:

It has already been a busy Memorial Day weekend. Stories reported at Jihad Watch over the last two days:

Saturday

Tunisia: Muslim screaming “The nation of Muhammad returns for vengeance” stabs Jew, is released

Sharia Egypt: Christian gets four years prison, $1400 fine for insulting Islam by drawing cartoon of Muhammad on Facebook

Somalia: Islamic jihadists murder at least 10 in jihad attack on parliament

Yemen: Islamic jihadists murder at least 27 people in raid on city

Pakistan: Islamic jihadists murder seven in three separate blasts

Thailand: Islamic jihadists murder three, injure 55 with series of blasts

Nigeria: Islamic jihadist murders two in bungled jihad/martyrdom suicide bombing

Iraq: Islamic jihadists murder seven people with car bomb at alcohol shop

Uganda: Churches step up security after threats from Islamic jihad group

Sunday

Australia: Jihad fundraiser and brother of convicted terrorist preaching in mosques

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Jihad will continue until America is no more

Syria: Sharia enforcers disrupt wedding party, detain women for un-Islamic dress

Authorities suspect Islamic jihadists behind murder of four at Brussels Jewish Museum

Djibouti: Islamic jihadists murder three with bomb in restaurant filled with Western soldiers

Today

Nigeria: Islamic jihadists of Boko Haram murder 24 people in attack on crowded market

In the face of all this, the Pope calls a man who has just partnered with a jihad terror group vowed to the destruction of the Jewish State a “man of peace” … The President of the United States has said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”, even to the point of removing all mention of Islam and jihad from counter-terror training material, acceding to the demand of Muslim groups with links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood — and thereby forbidding law enforcement agents from studying and understanding the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy us.

And so on Memorial Day, we remember when we had leaders to defend us. We still have strong individuals who have vowed the defense of our nation, and for that we can be grateful, but they are being led by a political class so willfully ignorant of prevailing realities, and so deeply compromised, that they make misstep after misstep, endangering us all — while a likewise compromised media does everything it can to cover for them and defame those who sound the alarm about this problem. …

We remember that in our nation’s darkest days, there arose strong, rough men — the ones to whom Churchill referred when he noted that “we sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us”. For that we pause today to offer our gratitude [to them], and our hope that there still remains enough of them to see us through this present darkness.

Our resolve to remain free is iron; now all we need are some leaders with similar resolve.

We like that idea immensely. But we know there are many among us whose resolve to subjugate us to the will of over-mighty government, and even to the domination of savage Islam, is also iron.

Their idea of a desirable leader is Hillary Clinton. Judging by appearances and her record, the Benghazi disaster in particular, we would not describe her as a strong rough man ready to visit violence on those who would harm us. We dare to hope for someone stronger, rougher, masculine, and militant.

Sweden: an insane asylum 2

As usual, Pat Condell speaks the truth – this time about Sweden.

And this is from the New American, by Selwyn Duke:

You’re free in Sweden to be critical of immigration, those in power, or people identifying as “LBGT” [not lettuce, bacon, gunge and tomato as in a British commercial sandwich, but lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender - ed] – at least within the confines of your mind. But dare express those views, even on the Internet, and you can now be more easily prosecuted under a new law …

The crime of ‘insult’ will be prosecuted … for giving offense to immigrants, LGBTQ persons or authorities … immigration in particular enjoying sanctified status in Sweden.

As CBN reported earlier this month in a piece entitled “Soviet Sweden? Model Nation Sliding to Third World”:

Sweden’s leftist establishment and media believe a cornerstone of their perfect society is multiculturalism — large-scale immigration from some of the poorest, most backward nations on Earth — and Swedes who disagree with that plan risk being labeled racist, fascist, even Nazi. …

This is despite the fact, say critics, that wide-scale Third World immigration is threatening Sweden’s future.

As CBN also reported:

Sweden’s immigration model is failing miserably … test scores in Swedish schools are plummeting … [and] crime in some areas has skyrocketed. Immigrants burned the Stockholm suburb of Husby for over a week last year.

Many Jews now live in fear of attacks by Muslim immigrants and are leaving. Amun Abdullahi, a journalist for Swedish radio, left last year and returned to her native Somalia after she was attacked in the Swedish media over her news report about radical Muslim immigrants in Sweden. She told Swedish television that Mogadishu was safer than immigrant areas in Stockholm.

Frontpage Mag’s Daniel Greenfield … provides even more perspective:

Sweden’s population grew from 9 million to 9.5 million in the years 2004-2012, mainly due to immigration from ‘countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.’ 16 percent of all newborns have mothers born in non-Western countries. Employment rate among immigrants: 54 percent. Sweden now has the second highest number of rapes in the world, after South Africa, which at 53.2 per 100,000 is six times higher than the United States.

Note that 77 percent of these rapes are perpetrated by “foreigners”, most of whom are Muslim, while their victims primarily are native Swedes. And these figures may very well be artificially low estimates, as the government would prefer to make the headlines go away.

And Western governments have long aimed to make politically incorrect criticism go away with tyrannical hate-speech laws.

For example, LifeSiteNews.com reports:

Chapter 15, Section 8 of Sweden’s criminal code prohibits the expression of ‘disrespect’ towards favoured minority groups. The law carries a penalty of up to four years of imprisonment. It requires no evidence of incitement to violence and lacks any objective standard for identifying ‘disrespect’.”

 …  Sweden’s new law [is]   designed to target näthatare, which, I understand, translates into “net haters.” Yet … “Sweden’s Free-Speech Charade,” hate is whatever the Swedish thought police say it is — at the particular moment in question. Here’s one example he provides:

In January 2002 … a district court sentenced neo-Nazi Fredrik Sandberg to six months in prison for publishing a Third-Reich-era pamphlet (“The Jewish Question”). But four years later, the official who initiated that case (Swedish Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz) discontinued an investigation into the Stockholm Central Mosque regarding its distribution of tapes that encouraged Muslims to kill Jews, described therein as “the brothers of apes and pigs.” His legal justification? “[Such statements] should be judged differently — and therefore be regarded as permissible — because they were used by one side in an ongoing and far-reaching conflict where calls to arms and insults are part of the everyday climate in the rhetoric that surrounds this conflict.”

So what is an aspiring hater to conclude? If you’re going to hate, make sure it’s habitual? Or is it something else? It appears, critics might say, that some haters are more equal than others.

When Muslim terrorists return to the West from Syria … 1

Chances are there will be an increase of Islamic terrorist atrocities in Western countries when (if ever) the war inside Syria is over.

This is from an article by Soeren Kern at Gatestone:

More than 100 Dutch Muslims travelled to Syria in 2013 with the intention of taking part in jihadist activities there, and at least 20 battle-hardened jihadists have since returned to the Netherlands, posing a significant threat to national security, according to a new report published by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD. …

The principal concern in this year’s report is the mounting threats posed by the returning jihadists … 

The report warns that the presence of European fighters in Syria provides the jihadist groups active there with an “excellent opportunity to recruit individuals familiar with our region to commit acts of terrorism here”.

In addition, returnees could “exploit their status as veterans to radicalize others in the Netherlands”.

AIVD says the age of Dutch jihadists is decreasing constantly and the number of women in this group is growing.

Most of the fighters are of Moroccan descent, although some are from Bosnia, Somalia and Turkey. Many of the Dutch jihadists are second-generation immigrants who were born in the Netherlands. …

The vast majority of Dutch jihadists in Syria have joined one of two rebel groups, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] or Jabhat al-Nusra [JaN]. AIVD believes that at least ten individuals from the Netherlands were killed in 2013, including two Dutch jihadists who blew themselves up in suicide attacks …

The report says that Al-Qaeda’s involvement in the Syrian conflict makes the threat far more acute. AIVD warns:

[Al-Qaeda] still has every intention of carrying out attacks in the West, and the use of fighters from Europe could make that goal easier to achieve. It is conceivable that some will return home with an order to commit or facilitate such acts. There is also a risk that these fighters will form new networks in Europe

The presence of jihadist fighters from Europe in the ranks of groups affiliated or associated with Al-Qaeda, such as ISIL and JaN, offers it a chance to deploy battle-hardened operatives in countries like the Netherlands as well as in Syria. Most hold a European passport and have their origins in our region, making them unlikely to attract much attention once they return and so ideal to carry out or facilitate assignments on behalf of the organization.

As well as potentially posing a direct threat, returnees from Syria might also have a radicalizing and mobilizing effect upon fellow Muslims … “that could strengthen local radical groups and spread their message to a wider audience.”

The report also focuses on a new, more activist form of radical Islam that has emerged across Europe over the past several years, spearheaded by groups such as Sharia4Holland, Islam4UK, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Millatu Ibrahim and others.

AIVD says these groups “provide an environment in which ideas about violence and jihad are allowed to develop; their supporters make no secret of their sympathy for Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and have become more and more open in their expression of a jihadist ideology.”

Many of the young Muslims attracted to the Syrian conflict come from one of these activist groups. As such, they have crossed the line from rhetoric to action. Effectively, the organizations have thus become actual jihadist networks with their core members fighting in Syria and, at home, a wider group of supporters engaged in ever more fervent propaganda. Social media are used to disseminate stories about ‘brothers’ on the front line in Al Sham (Syria) and the deaths of their “martyrs”.

… The interior ministry has employed various measures to confront the jihadist threat. For example, it revoked the passports of 11 would-be jihadists in 2013 to prevent them from traveling to Syria. … The government has prohibited returning jihadists from collecting social welfare benefits, and in some instances it has frozen their bank accounts. At least four radicalized youth are currently under the supervision of the juvenile delinquency system.

AVID has also heightened surveillance of recruitment networks. … [and] efforts have also been made on a judicial level to criminalize so-called “jihad travel.” … [But] the light sentences handed down by the court are unlikely to serve as a meaningful deterrent to future would-be jihadists.

Once again, critics say, the ideology of multiculturalism has trumped justice.

There is a similar danger of trained, fanatical Muslim terrorists returning to organize and incite “radical action” in many Western countries, including the United States.

According to the New York Times (which tries not to associate the words “Islam” or “Muslims” with terrorism, but sometimes can’t avoid it):

Dozens of Americans have traveled or tried to travel to Syria to fight with the rebels against the government of President Bashar al-Assad since 2011 … 

The Americans are a small subset of the mostly radicalized young Muslims with Western passports who are entering Syria from Europe, North America and Australia, a group that numbers roughly 600, according to the officials and classified estimates from Western spy agencies. That represents a fraction of the roughly 6,000 to 11,000 foreign fighters over all who have poured into Syria by way of the Middle East and North Africa. 

The Americans’ numbers are small — intelligence officials would not be more precise than saying “dozens” were involved — and they have so far not distinguished themselves on the battlefield. … 

The influx of young Muslims with Western passports into Syria has raised fears among American and European intelligence officials of a new terrorist threat when the fighters return home.

In Syria, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS] has emerged as the leader in attracting foreign fighters as it exploits the chaos of the civil war and tries to lay the groundwork for an Islamic state. The group has repeatedly clashed with other rebel brigades, including another group aligned with Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front. …

In addition to these two Islamic extremist groups, the American officials said “migrant brigades”, which do not have the strict vetting requirements of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or Nusra to weed out Western spies, are also proliferating.

Among the best known of these emerging units is Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, a group that actively recruits armed followers from Central Asia and Europe …

While the [US] intelligence officials said there had not yet been any confirmed cases of foreign fighters carrying out attacks in their home countries upon their return — most of those suspected militants are still in Syria — it is the militants from groups like Jaish, they say, that pose the greatest threat when they come home.

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