Obama swore that there would be “enormous consequences” if Bashar Assad, presently at war with al-Qaeda in his own country, used chemical weapons.
Bashar Assad has now used chemical weapons. So Obama has snapped into dithering over whether to do anything about it and if so what.
Meanwhile Israel, being in the region actually threatened by Assad’s lethal chemistry, took to the air and bombed Syrian chemical weapons stores.
This is from The Tower:
Syrian opposition forces reported that IAF [Israeli Air Force] strikes had taken place on Syrian territory. The opposition reports also indicated that the Israeli attack targeted Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Since it is impossible to bomb a program, it is to be understood that Israel targeted chemical weapons. Targeted and destroyed (some of) them.
Israeli officials have been increasingly explicit in warning that Jerusalem would act to prevent the Syrian regime from crossing the double red line that Israeli officials had set at the onset of the Syrian conflict: no transfer of advanced Syrian weapons to terrorist allies of the embattled Bashar al-Assad and no seizure of those weapons by Al Qaeda-linked opponents fighting to overthrow the regime.
President Barack Obama has endorsed the Israeli position [in a manner of speaking]:
“That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us,” Obama said, also acknowledging the possibility that militant groups might acquire some of those weapons. “We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.”
The president noted that he has not ordered any armed U.S. intervention yet, but said: “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that’s a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”
A great threatener, President Obama.
The odds of transfer or seizure have dramatically increased in recent weeks.
Israeli officials publicly worried earlier this week that Assad’s forces had already transferred small amounts of chemical weapons to the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah. For its part Hezbollah is thought to have poured literally thousands of fighters into Syria, and has become deeply embedded in the Syrian army’s battles against opposition forces. The regime has kept much of the Syrian army out of the fighting due to fears of defection. There are no such worries with Hezbollah’s fighters, and Hezbollah forces had already been deployed to guard Syrian WMD arsenals months ago. Iran and Hezbollah have also reportedly built an enormous force to seize control of Syria if necessary.
The risk of chemical weapons seizure has also spiked. Areas evacuated by Syrian forces, especially those around the border area with Israel, have been filled in by fighters from the Al Nusra Front. The beginning of April saw the largest redeployment of Syrian army forces in 40 years, and rebels are now within striking distance of Syria’s largest WMD caches. The Al Nusra Front is, according to the the State Department, merely an alias for Al Qaeda, and Al Nusra fighters have pledged allegiance to the global terrorist group. Islamist rebels in Syria have pledged to attack Israel and top Israeli military officials believe those attacks would include the use of chemical weapons. …
As the White House mulls whether Syria has crossed President Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons, the U.S. military and intelligence community are quietly acknowledging that the United States does not know where many of those weapons are located… At the heart of the concern is that the Syrian military has transferred more and more of its stock of sarin and mustard gas from storage sites to trucks where they are being moved around the country. … Also worrisome … is intelligence from late last year that says the Syrian Scientific Research Center — an entity responsible for Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile — has begun to train irregular militias loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [namely Hezbollah] in how to use the chemical munitions.
Now Obama can claim that he took action through Israel. So Israel is his right hand. (He is left-handed). He can also, if he thinks it expedient, claim that his left hand doesn’t know what his right hand is doing.
There is a formula for a nation’s success and happiness: have children and a free market economy.
Other nations may hate you and envy you; attack you with words, sanctions, terrorism, and rockets; but still you will thrive, prosper, innovate, and grow.
Caroline Glick writes:
A lot has changed since the 1990s. Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasser Arafat’s hand on the White House lawn and so officially ushered in Israel’s Age of Terror, most Israelis don’t really care what the Europeans or the Arabs think of us.
The Europeans prattle on about Israeli racism, and threaten to put yellow stars or some other nasty mark on Israeli goods. They ban Israeli books from their libraries in Scotland. They boycott Israeli universities, professors and students in England. In Italy they hold rallies for convicted mass murderer Marwan Barghouti at their national Senate. And in France they butcher Jewish children.
And then the likes of Catherine Ashton [EU Representative for Foreign Affairs] expect us to care what they think about us.
Well, we don’t.
… The Europeans and the Americans and their Israeli followers miss the fact that the easiest way to build a secure and peaceful world is not by wooing terrorists. The best way to achieve these goals is by accepting the world as it is. This is what the Israeli people has done. True, we needed to have our fantasies blown away in suicide bombings before we reconciled ourselves to this simple truth. But life has been better, happier and more secure since we did.
The “international community’s” inability to accept that sober-minded contentment is better than pipe dream fantasies has caused leftist writers in Israel, Europe and the US alike to express mystification at a recent survey carried out by the OECD, which ranks Israelis among the happiest people in the world. The ranking made no sense to commentators.
Israelis work harder than other members of the OECD. We complain more than other members of the OECD. We don’t have “peace.” And yet, we are among the happiest people in the OECD.
What gives? For decades before we embarked on the phony peace process, Israel was a model socialist state. We had paralyzing tax rates and failed government industries that crowded private entrepreneurship out of the market. Monopolies ran every sector and provided shoddy goods and horrible services at astronomical prices. The Histadrut labor union owned most of the economy along with the government and in every sector, Histadrut commissars ensured that anyone with an ounce of initiative was subject to unending abuse. …
Just about the time we began extricating ourselves from our socialist straitjacket, we were also recognizing that the peace thing wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. And at that point we began to understand that happiness and success aren’t about what other people give you – money, treaties, a phone line after a five-year wait. Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.
We think that statement bears repeating: Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.
At that point, sometime between 1996 and 2000, Israelis began creating large families and embracing the free market.
Today, with an average of three children per family, Israelis are the fecund outliers of the industrial world. … There is a direct correlation between children and human happiness. This is why fruitful Israelis have the lowest suicide rate in the industrial world.
When you have children, you have a future. And when you have a future, you work hard to secure it, and have a generally optimistic outlook. …
Israelis are also happy because we see that we can build the future we want for our families and our country even without another glitzy signing ceremony at the White House every six months. Our country is getting stronger and more livable every day. And we know it.
Those on the international stage that share our view that life is about more than pieces of paper signed with Arab anti-Semites recognize what is happening. For them Israel is not “that shi**y little country.” It’s “The Little Engine that Could.”
Take the Chinese. Last July China signed a deal with Israel to build an inland port in Eilat and a 180- km. freight railway to connect Eilat to Israel’s Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa. The purpose of the project is to build an alternative to the Suez Canal, in Israel. The Chinese look at the region, and they see that Egypt is a failed state that can’t even afford its wheat imports. The future of shipping along the Suez Canal is in doubt with riots in Port Said and Suez occurring on a regular basis.
On the other hand, Israel is a stable, prosperous, successful democracy that keeps moving from strength to strength. When the freight line is completed, as far as the global economy is concerned, Israel will become the most strategically important country in the region.
Then there is our newfound energy wealth. Israel became energy independent on March 30, when the Tamar offshore gas field began pumping natural gas to Israel. In two to three years, when the Leviathan gas field comes online, Israel will become one of the most important producers of natural gas in the world.
Moreover, in 2017, Israel will likely begin extracting commercial quantities of oil from its massive oil shale deposits …
Geologists assess that the field alone contains some 250 billion barrels of oil, giving Israel oil parity with Saudi Arabia. Chinese, Russian and Australian firms are lining up to sign contracts with Israeli energy companies. International analysts assess that Israel’s emergence as an energy power will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy and international security. Israel can end Asia’s oil and gas hunger. It can reduce European dependence on Russia. It will remove OPEC’s ability to dictate world oil prices through supply manipulation.
Israel’s discovery of its energy riches couldn’t have come at a more propitious time. Had Israel discovered its oil and gas 65 or even 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the economic maturity to manage our resources responsibly. But now, with our free market, our hi-tech sector and our entrepreneurial culture, we can develop and manage our resources wisely and successfully.
At 65, Israel is becoming a mature, responsible, prosperous and powerful player in the international arena. The only thing we need to ensure that we enjoy the fruits of our labors is security. And the one thing we can do to squander it all is place our hopes in “peace.”
And so we won’t, ever again.
Ever since May 1, 1950, the Palestinian Arabs have been kept in a state of welfare dependency by the United Nations. On that day the UN created a special sub-organization called the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, its acronym the unpronounceable UNRWA. It was established specially to provide for the Palestinians, not for any other of the millions of refugees scattered through the Third World. It gave them monthly food rations and schooling. By far the greater part of its funding came from Western nations, one third from the US.* The Soviet Union contributed nothing.
Israel contributed to UNRWA, though dispensing with its services, preferring to assume responsibility for the integration of all the Arabs who remained within its borders.
The UNRWA schools taught hatred of the United States, Israel and Jews in general. In 1968 these school were taken over in all but name by the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PLO. UNRWA accepted the stipulation of the PLO Covenant that it was a “national duty to bring up Palestinians in an Arab revolutionary manner”, and “all means of information and education” must be used to forge a national consciousness and prepare the young Palestinian to die in the armed struggle for his homeland.
Students could find themselves refused graduation certificates if they did not join a militant “fedayeen” group. For instance: an UNRWA vocational training school at Siblin, near Sidon in Lebanon, awarded qualifications only to members of Arafat’s own fedayeen group, Fatah. One room in the school was reserved as an office for Arafat. His portrait hung on the wall above a swastika. On the upper storey were the classrooms, and there teaching materials were stored; among them quantities of PLO propaganda, and – in 1982 – poems praising the assassins of Anwar Sadat – the Egyptian leader who had gone to Jerusalem to make a peace agreement with the Israelis.The lower story was used as an arms store. Katyusha rockets, rocket propelled grenades, hand grenades, mines, and Kalashnikov sub-machine guns were stacked – under the students. There were also stores of military uniforms and manuals. Most of the arms were made in the USSR, but some were from Sweden, and there was also some NATO equipment. Posters and maps on the walls of the classrooms showed the final solution of the Palestinian problem – the abolition of Israel.
For the most part, UNRWA education of the young was an education in active aggression. This was the case even in the ordinary UNRWA schools, where general school curricula were followed, but all subjects were used as vehicles of propaganda.
To sum up, the UNRWA schools have been raising generations of jihadis, dedicated to the destruction of Israel by terrorist means.
They have been teaching, urging, encouraging, assisting violence – until early this month, when their own headquarters in Gaza were attacked.
This is from the Independent, April 5, 2013 – a British newspaper plainly sympathetic to the Palestinians, and to Hamas, the terrorist organization that governs them in Gaza:
The United Nations has suspended significant operations in Gaza after demonstrators protesting against cuts to the agency’s programmes in the Palestinian enclave breached the organisation’s headquarters.
There have been several demonstrations against cuts to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)’s aid work – specifically cash hand outs to Gazans – in recent weeks but the protests escalated on Thursday when several people stormed its main compound in Gaza city.
In response, UNRWA said it would close its relief and distribution centres until it receives guarantees from Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, of greater security.
Robert Turner, UNRWA’s director of operations in Gaza, said that the agency, “respect[ed] people’s right to peaceful demonstration but what happened today was completely unacceptable: the situation could very easily have resulted in serious injuries to UNRWA staff and to the demonstrators. This escalation, apparently pre-planned, was unwarranted and unprecedented. These demonstrations affect our ability to provide much needed service to the Palestine refugees in Gaza and – because they also targeted the Gaza headquarters building – our operations in the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.”
UNRWA’s work is vital in Gaza. The organisation provides assistance … to more than 800,000 people in the isolated territory, which is subject to tough controls imposed by both Israel and Egypt. However, UNRWA has also protested that it has a funding deficit of $67m and that without more money it will be forced to scale back its activities.
The agency receives money from a number of western donors, including the US and the European Union, and often there is a shortfall between what is pledged and what is subsequently paid. It is believed that there is a shortage in both UNRWA’s general fund, and its emergency project funding, which competes with other disaster appeals. …
Gaza’s population – between 1.5 and 1.7 million – is growing exponentially and is expected to top two million within seven years. More than a million people are classified as refugees.
The children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the original refugees, and who knows how many generations still to come, must be supported as victims, their status as dependents preserved. Originally, the idea of keeping them in a state of beggary – as a reproach to the conscience of the Israelis and the West – came from the heads of the Arab states. The UN embraced it. And no nation questions it, not even the United States.
UNRWA has a difficult relationship with Hamas, despite providing a lifeline for as much as half the population in Gaza. There have been rows about what is taught in UNRWA-sponsored schools [!?], and last month UNRWA cancelled the running of the annual Gaza marathon after Hamas refused to allow women to compete.
UNRWA has apparently discovered, after 63 years of working with Muslims, that they discriminate against women.
UNRWA officials are in high dudgeon. Just think of it – their headquarters attacked quite violently, so that people may have been hurt!
Hamas is now sorry for offending them.
Hamas yesterday urged UNRWA to reconsider its decision to suspend its work. Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, said the group condemned any violence against UNRWA but said the decision to close the food centres was “unjustified”.
“People have the right to protest against UNRWA’s cuts, but at the same time we condemn any violence against the organisation. When the administration of UNRWA asked the Palestinian security services to intervene, they stopped the chaos. We ask UNRWA to reconsider its decision and [reiterate] the importance of UNRWA’s role in helping Palestinian refugees,” he added.
Will UNRWA forgive Hamas? Will the teaching of terrorism resume – perhaps a little more militantly?
Our guess is, it will.
PS. The UN must be destroyed.
* From 1948 to 1950, the US donated half the money for the relief aid of the refugees. Thirty-one years later, in the year 1981 – a year which fairly indicates the proportion of the burden shared by some United Nations members through UNRWA – the US contributed $462 million, 32%; the European Union 13%. So nearly half came from America and Western Europe. Britain gave another $10 million in addition to its contribution through the EU. Sweden and Japan gave about the same. Western Germany gave an additional $5 million. The only Arab states that contributed sums in the millions were: Saudi Arabia, $6 million; Kuwait – the richest country in the world then, reckoned by per capita income – $1 million; Libya, 4.25 million; Iraq, $3.5 million. Proportionately, in comparison with these oil-rich countries, impecunious Israel was far more generous giving just under half a million. Turkey and Nigeria gave $200,000 each; Syria, $168, 000; the United Arab Emirates, $800,000; Yemen $2,000. The Holy See gave $12,500. The only Communist countries that donated anything at all were Rumania, $3,300; Yugoslavia, $25,000; China, $3,500. Now, another thirty-two years on, there is no end in sight to the dependency of the Palestinian “refugees”. Will they never be allowed – or compelled – to grow up?
In Islam, to be raped is to commit a crime punishable by death. Similarly, if a nation is subjected to an act of war by an Islamic state, the victim nation must be forced to apologize and pay the aggressor compensation.
The West’s idea of justice is different. Or has been until very recently.
This is from Front Page, by Andrew C. McCarthy:
To keep the tepid support of his country’s essential but icy ally, Israel’s prime minister would have to do what he’d spent nearly three years steadfastly refusing to do. Netanyahu would have to apologize to a state sponsor of terrorism that openly, notoriously, and enthusiastically supports Hamas.
ThHe would have to apologize to Turkey — to its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Obama’s close friend and confidant.
He would have to apologize for military action taken in his country’s righteous defense against violent jihadists with close connections to Erdogan’s ruling party and, seamlessly, to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as al-Qaeda. …
The violent jihadists in question were from the grotesquely named “Humanitarian Relief Foundation” or IHH (İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı). The IHH is an Islamic “charity” based and basted in the Islamic supremacism of Erdogan’s Turkey. It is part of the Union of Good (sometimes referred to as the “Union for Good”), a jihadist umbrella enterprise that was designated by the United States government, during the Bush administration, as an international terrorist organization. Under the direction of a top Muslim Brotherhood honcho, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Union of Good’s main purpose is to transfer funds to Hamas, another designated terrorist organization. Besides being the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, Hamas Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradaw boasts Turkey, our NATO “ally,” as its chief benefactor.
In late May 2010, IHH terrorists attempted to break Israel’s lawful naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The blockade is necessary to stem the flow of weapons to Hamas, Gaza’s rulers having responded to Israel’s painful peace offering — its withdrawal in 2005 from territory it had captured in a war of Arab aggression — by stepping up their terror campaign against the Jewish state. In seeking to break the blockade, an act of war, the IHH was willfully abetted by the Turkish government.
Israeli officials had pleaded with their Turkish counterparts to prevent the terrorists from embarking on their “peace flotilla.” Members of Erdogan’s government and party not only turned a deaf ear; they sold the jihadists the offending vessel, the Mavi Marmara. They allowed the jihadists — armed with flares, night-vision goggles, 150 bulletproof vests, 200 gas masks, several dozen slingshots, 200 knives, 20 axes, 50 wooden clubs, 100 assorted iron bars, etc. — to board the ship without inspection. When the inevitable high-seas confrontation occurred, the Israeli Defense Forces tried to subdue the terrorists with paintball guns. The IDF resorted to lethal force only after being premeditatedly and savagely attacked — with several of its sailors seriously wounded. In that response, nine of the terrorists were killed.
Squeezed by Obama, Netanyahu would have to apologize for the killing of those terrorists.
More often than not these last five years, Israel’s prime minister has felt President Obama’s heel on the back of his neck. In stark contrast, Turkey’s prime minister has enjoyed Obama’s warm embrace. In Ankara, Erdogan hosts the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah as foreign dignitaries. He accuses Israel of turning Gaza into a “concentration camp.” Only days before Netanyahu’s coerced apology, Erdogan — whose history of anti-Semitism is infamous — publicly pronounced that Zionism is a “crime against humanity.”
This heinous accusation, “crime against humanity,” has become something of a verbal tic with Erdogan. He cavalierly applies it to Israel’s self-defense from thousands of jihadist rockets fired into its territory, and to the suggestion by European governments that the millions of Muslims who’ve immigrated to the West ought to assimilate into their new societies.
Nevertheless, Obama openly regards Erdogan as one of his most trusted partners on the world stage. …
With Obama on the phone egging him on, Netanyahu abased himself. Not only did he apologize to Turkey, he further capitulated to Erdogan’s demand that Israel pay compensation to the Mavi Marmara “victims.” After the apology, Erdogan briefed his Hamas confederates and announced he would be visiting them in Gaza next month. Predictably, he has since announced that Netanyahu’s humiliating act of contrition will not be sufficient to restore diplomatic relations between the two nations. Just as predictably, other Islamic states are now preparing demands for apologies and compensation for sundry exercises of Israeli self-defense against jihadist terror.
There has been no shortage of speculation about why Israel caved. Perhaps it was anxiety over Iranian nukes and Syrian tumult — the hope that rapprochement with Turkey would give Washington more maneuvering room to protect Israel’s interests. Perhaps there were financial considerations, including billions potentially to be made in the exportation of natural gas. None of these explanations is very satisfying.
They are not satisfying at all. None of them is sufficient reason for Netanyahu to apologize to the despicable aggressor Erdogan. Netanyahu should not have done it no matter what the threat or what the bribe. His apology was a submission to a lie. Making it, he abased and betrayed his people.
For Andrew McCarthy, however, that is not the worst thing about the disgusting affair. It is even “beside the point”.
For Americans, what matters is not what this episode says about shifts in Israeli policy. It is the sea-change in U.S. counterterrorism that most concerns us. …
The Obama administration is actively engaged in the financial support of Hamas — sluicing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Gaza, fully aware that it is under Hamas’s totalitarian control. In this, too, Obama is in concord with Erdogan, whose regime has similarly backed Hamas with hundreds of millions of dollars — news that comes to us courtesy of Turkey’s grateful friends at the Union of Good.
Until 2009, U.S. policy was straightforward: Hamas was a terrorist organization and America would not deal with it unless and until it acknowledged Israel’s right to exist and convincingly renounced violence. All that has changed, though.
Under Obama’s governance, Islamic-supremacists are bankrolled even as they act on their pledge to destroy Israel. Israel, in turn, is expected to apologize.
Our military’s killing of Osama bin Laden, complemented by the controversial drone campaign, has given President Obama cover. The occasional terrorist is taken out, the administration beats its chest, and few notice that al-Qaeda is resurgent, that the administration spends far more time appeasing Islamists than killing terrorists, and that Hamas has won.
Hamas has won. Erdogan has won. IHH has won. Islam has won. Obama has won.
Netanyahu has handed victory to the enemies of his nation and of America, and trampled on human dignity, truth, and justice.
To befriend a creep like Erdogan, and make Americans pay billions to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is moral perversion. Obama is a moral pervert.
And Netanyahu – what is he?
What is a person who lets a pervert have his way with him in return for cash or an IOU?
Ed Driscoll interviewed Monica Crowley, whose book What the (Bleep) Just Happened Again was recently published. You can find the whole interview on video and in transcript here at PJ Media.
Monica Crowley’s opinions of Obama and his policies are very close to our own. So we are posting some extracts from the transcript, letting her speak for us, while we nod in the background – only interjecting a few words.
On transforming America:
I really believe that Obama’s objective from the beginning — and it’s not just him, it has been the objective of the far left for a very long time — … is to change the very nature of America. America, the gift that the Founding Fathers gave to us … a nation that was exceptional because it was based on an idea. And the idea, instead of being based on the ambitions of men … was centered on the concept of limited government and individual freedom.
And those two things are deeply interrelated. You can’t really have tremendous individual freedom when you have a big government. The idea of the last few decades has been to try to transform that fundamental Americanness, that great American idea that has given us tremendous prosperity and tremendous power, [and made] America into a great nation [and] a good nation. … The far left has been on this mission to strip away both … the limited government part and the individual liberty part.
And for many years they had success in putting up these big, huge entitlement pillars, dependency pillars, pillars that would change the way the government related to the individual; big redistributionist pillars like Social Security and like Medicare, like Medicaid. But they were never able to sort of put the whole thing together and do a dramatic socialist overhaul of the country until they found their perfect marriage of man and mission in Barack Obama.
And so from the beginning, and from day one of his first term, Obama and the far left set out to change the very nature of America, to change our character. And by that I mean strip away the self-reliance that underpins limited government and individual freedom. Strip that away and replace it with massive dependency; dependency on government.
So over the last four years, what they have done, and they have largely succeeded, is change the balance between the government sector and the private sector, change the relationship between the government and the individual, and created and expanded this massive dependency society. …
Obama and the far left have had enormous success in changing the character of this country. …
On the state of the GOP today:
I think over the next four years, certainly, we are going to see — we’re going to see federalism come to the fore. We’re going to see that Tenth Amendment rise.
And the reason is … Republicans now control thirty out of fifty governorships. We control the vast majority of state houses across the country. And it’s been a very interesting phenomenon to watch, because those offices are closer to the people than the presidency and then Washington, Congress, the Senate, and so on.
So when people have a choice, when they think that their vote will actually matter to their direct lives, meaning governor, state houses, they’re going more conservative. They’re going toward conservative governors, not even just Republican governors, but conservative governors, in most states. …
And so what I think you’re going to see is a real tension — and we already see this tension now, but I think it’s going to increase — between Washington, the federal government, and the states. And we’re going to see the states, as they’re starting to do now, on gun control, on immigration, … on a whole range of issues, you’re going to see the states pushing back and asserting their rights on behalf of the people that put them into office.
Taking on the federal government is a really tough thing, especially now, because it’s so big and it’s so powerful under Obama. But I think you’re going to see an increase in states going forward with their own agendas and pushing back on Washington. …
On foreign policy:
I actually believe [Obama] wants Iran to get a nuclear weapon. He has done nothing to stop Iran. Those sanctions that his administration put into place are toothless. The Iranians have found every way to get around them.
He has done nothing but stall. And the Iranians have used that time to go ahead and a) slaughter their own people in the streets when they revolted in 2009; and b) try to acquire a nuclear weapon. And they are getting there with every passing hour … This president has done nothing to stop them, on purpose.
I would also say on the Arab Spring, this is a man who wants to see the rise of the Islamists. He wants to see the rise of the Islamists across the board, and that is why he threw over a long time ally of the United States, Husni Mubarak in Egypt. That is why he paved the way for Muammar Gaddafi, who yes, was a longstanding terrorist, but over recent years Gaddafi was trying to reach out to the United States and providing us with crucial intelligence on the movements of Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood across Northern Africa. And now we see what a problem that is. This president then went to facilitate his overthrow as well.
Why hasn’t he moved in Syria, where you have, what, upwards of maybe 40,000 people slaughtered under the Assad regime? Well, it’s because he’s been waiting for the Muslim Brotherhood to be poised and ready to take control there as well.
This is a man who knows exactly what he is doing. It is incredibly dangerous. It is completely antithetical to American interests. And now here we are. And we see it with China. He hasn’t taken on China. China continues to be a currency manipulator, getting very aggressive along the Pacific Rim, with very close allies of ours, like Japan and South Korea. Obama hasn’t lifted a finger. North Koreans just tested another nuclear weapon. No consequences from the United States. …
Yes. Obama wants victory for Islam in the world as much as he wants victory for socialism in America. A big step towards Islamic victory would be the defeat, and so the destruction, of Israel. He has to seem to be somewhat supportive of Israel, somewhat even-handed in the – totally defunct – “peace process” ostensibly still taking place between Israel and the Palestinians. But meanwhile he lets Iran build a nuclear arsenal because the quick and reliable way to destroy Israel would be by nuclear attack.
This president came into office with a far left ideology of wanting to take down America a notch or two or ten abroad, because we are not worthy. America’s full of sin from the past, and we have had our way around the world, and now it’s time we pay the price.
So I would argue, and I argue in this book, that his whole philosophy is all being carried out and it’s all deliberate and it’s all on purpose. There is no incompetence. There’s no naivete. It’s being carried out exactly as he’d like to see it. …
On the collusion of the media:
The philosophy of the Obama administration is we will do what we want, Constitution be damned. And we know that nobody’s really going to cover the bad stuff, because they’re all out to protect us. They’re with us ideologically. They’re never going to allow the first black president to get into any real trouble. They will protect us. So therefore, we will get away with everything.
And they have. And like I said, with a few exceptions of certain news outlets that have covered Fast and Furious, it really hasn’t gotten covered. And they believe that when the bad stuff happens, whether it’s Fast and Furious or Benghazi or any of the range of unconstitutional maneuvers this president has done, that they can just wait it out, because it doesn’t get covered. So they wait it out, they stonewall, they don’t give any explanations. They continue to smile, and the story blows over. …
These scandals [the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, and the scandal of the Benghazi murders] under Barack Obama actually have an American body count. Watergate, nobody died. So you tell me which one is the more serious. They have covered up these scandals. They go as high as Eric Holder, possibly the President of the United States, and still, no sense of curiosity from the mainstream media. It’s astonishing. And they ought to be ashamed. …
On how badly Obama is wrecking America:
Assuming he does leave in 2017… I think the extent of the damage we don’t even know yet. I think we have a sense of the extent of the damage, but we really have no idea [of]the destruction that he has wrought and is wreaking on this country.
This is a man who spoke in 2008 about his dream of the fundamental transformation of the nation — his words, not mine — the fundamental transformation. He also talked about remaking America — again, his words, not mine.
And he would invoke the phrase “a more perfect union.” And you know, part of his genius [or Alinskyite training - ed] four years ago was, in allowing those statements to kind of float out there on their own, and allowing the American people to hear those statements and assign to them their own meaning, what they thought he meant by those phrases.
What I argue in the book is, don’t pay attention to what you think he meant. Pay attention to what he meant by it. Now we have four years of evidence as to what he meant by the fundamental transformation of the nation. And that is he intends to change us and is changing us, very quickly, into a European-style socialist state.
The result of that is, as we see in Western Europe, after decades of socialism, we see stubbornly and permanently high unemployment. We see sovereign debt crises that are imploding nations, if not the entire continent of Europe. We see immigration policies out of control, where these nations have lost their very identities, because they have been overrun by all kinds of different ethnicities, including radical Muslims that have taken over a lot of these countries, or at least exerting a lot of influence there.
So you see the results that are absolutely devastating in Western Europe. No economic growth. We see that now here. We have seen it. All of those results of decades of socialism building up in Western Europe, that is imploding all of those once-great nations. We see it happening here on a much more accelerated scale, because this economy is so much bigger, this country is so much bigger than any country in Western Europe.
So it’s happening a lot faster here. And when he leaves office, I do think that this country — the tentacles of redistributionism that he has wrapped around every major pillar of this economy, from the industrial base, to the financial sector, to the energy sector to the healthcare sector, those tentacles will be wrapped so tightly after eight years, that it will be almost impossible to unwind without great, enormous economic pain and dislocation. I think that’s where we’re heading. …
The laws of economics will kick in, and everything will come to a screeching halt.
Inflation, interest rates going up, higher taxes, no jobs. You’re seeing it happening across Western Europe. The debt crisis will kick in and it will be brutal, and it will affect every single person.
You can’t spend the last four or five years — actually longer than that, with the easy money policy from the Fed — you can’t spend all this time pumping trillions of dollars down into the system and not expect inflation to kick in big time. That is actually — massive inflation is actually a tax that affects the middle and lower classes more than anybody else. That is coming. …
We have had brave Republicans like Paul Ryan put out budget after budget and plan after plan saying, guys, this is foreseen. We can see this coming. And here’s how we fix it before the crisis hits. But people don’t want to hear it. People vote them out. People — people take the courageous folks and throw them out on their ears. And they don’t listen until they have to. And by that point, the pain so intense that it is going to be an absolute nightmare.
Can it be repaired? Yeah. But I fear, I really worry, that we’re going to have to hit rock bottom before we even get to that point. I hope that’s not the case. But I fear that it may be.
John Kerry, newly appointed Secretary of State, starts off badly.
In an article at Commentary, Rick Richman explains:
The State Department said yesterday it is seeking release of $495.7 million in U.S. funds for the Palestinian Authority designated for 2012, and another $200 million designated so far for 2013 – all of which is currently subject to a congressional hold imposed after the PA sought UN recognition as a “state” and began yet another “reconciliation” with Hamas. At yesterday’s State Department press conference, spokesperson Victoria Nuland was asked to “give us a sense of where things are with Congress” on this issue and responded that the administration is working with Congress to get the money released to the PA, because:
“[W]e think it’s very, very important that they remain effective in supporting the needs of the Palestinian people … So we’re continuing to work through this. I would simply say that the Secretary feels extremely strongly that it is time now to get this support to the Palestinian Authority.”
Ms. Nuland said Secretary Kerry has been raising this issue “in every conversation he’s had with his colleagues” in Congress. But if it is very, very important to get the money to the PA, and if Secretary Kerry feels extremely strongly that now is the time, the people he should be talking to are not in Congress. They are in the PA.
The PA can get the money released by assuring the U.S. that they will (1) not take further steps to change the legal status of the disputed territories outside negotiations with Israel (since the Palestinians promised in the Oslo agreement not to take “any [such] step”); and (2) not reconcile with an organization [Hamas] designated by the U.S. government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), a Specially Designated Terrorist (SDT), and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) — particularly when the PA promised in the Road Map to dismantle the FTO/SDT/SDGT, which has now waged two rocket wars against Israel and refuses to endorse any of the Quartet requirements for the “peace process.”
If it is not important to the PA to provide such assurances, it is hard to see why it is important for the U.S. to provide more money (much less nearly $700 million), nor why anyone would feel that now is the time to do it. On the contrary, this would seem to be the appropriate time to communicate that violating promises – and refusing to promise to abide by them in the future — has consequences. The administration should be telling the PA it feels extremely strongly that it is very, very important to provide the assurances now. Instead, it is pressing Congress to waive them.
In his first week in office, the new secretary of state has just sent a strong message that he believes the PA’s refusal to confirm its two central promises should draw no penalty. He thinks the problem is not the PA, but the Congress.
Heckuva job, John.
The Western powers have been conniving with the Arab states for 65 years to keep the Palestinians (Arab refugees displaced by wars of aggression the Arab states launched against Israel) in a state of dependency. The Arab states keep them as refugees, refusing to integrate them, so that their condition might be a permanent reproach to the conscience of Israel and the West. Not to their own conscience. They don’t have such a nuisance of a thing. And the Western powers have let them do it, played along, salving that conscience of theirs not by insisting that some of the 21 Arab states assimilate them, but by giving the refugees charity, so making a beggar nation of them. And the Palestinians have made themselves into a nation of terrorists – not against their fellow Arabs who are responsible for their abject condition, but against Israel.
John Kerry, it transpires, wants them to continue in this deplorable way. Living on handouts. Lobbing rockets at Israel. From schools, hospitals, houses, so retaliation will hurt children, the sick, and helpless families.
So the Western conscience will be wrung again.
How long can this state of affairs continue? How many generations must be sacrificed to Arab hatred, revenge, and spite, with the generous support of the Western powers acting out of well-meaning stupidity?
The Arab reply is: “Until Israel ceases to exist.”
Obama and his three new appointees, John Kerry at State, Chuck Hagel at Defense, and John Brennan heading the CIA, will do all they can to weaken Israel. While pretending that they are Israel’s friends, acting in Israel’s own best interests – if only those dumb Israelis could see it.
We wait to see if our prediction is right. We’d be more than happy to be proved wrong.
We argue against all religious belief. We reiterate that religion is historically and presently the cause of much human suffering. And we declare Islam to be the greatest menace to civilization in our time.
As much as we speak against religion, we speak up for its victims, whether they are religious or not.
We post, with indignation, news of Muslims persecuted by Muslims.
And we post, also with indignation, news of Christians persecuted by Muslims.
A Christian writer, Lela Gilbert, recently wrote this in her book Saturday People, Sunday People*:
On October 31, 2010 … eight [Muslim] terrorists stormed into the Assyrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad. … The total death count was 57 … [An American soldier] was close enough that he was able to go in [to the church] immediately after the massacre… [and took photographs of the victims]. … It was horrifying to see babies in puddles of their own blood. Their mothers were next to them … There were old men, middle-aged women, pretty young girls and little children. And there were the [two] priests. Some of the bodies were intact, some mutilated. … I never saw those photographs on any media sites; I tried sending them to people but almost nobody responded. … Jillian Becker … a writer on counterterrorism, has a website called The Atheist Conservative. She posted several. Otherwise they never, to my knowledge, appeared.
See our post Holy slaughter, December 20, 2010.
We are happy to have the acknowledgement, and we share Lela Gilbert’s dismay at the unconcern of the Western media and Christian churches over the fate of Christian victims.
Among the victims of religious persecution, the Jews have the most appalling history. Hatred of the Jews is the longest, the most intense, and the most spuriously rationalized. And today antisemitism is as real as “Islamophobia” is phony.
Recently there have been a spate of articles about antisemitism in Britain. Some argue that there is no future for Jews there.
The admirable Douglas Murray writes in the Spectator (UK):
What sort of future is there in Britain for Jews? I would submit that there is a future. But what is becoming increasingly clear is that the price of that future is that Jews will increasingly be expected to distance themselves from Israel. There is a fair amount of evidence from the Jewish community suggesting that this process is already underway. Once it is complete then those ‘good’ anti-Israel Jews will be able to proclaim victory. But the same force that they encouraged to come for their co-religionists will then just as surely come for them. And then where will they hide?
Among the many comments on Murray’s article is one by C. Gee (co-editor of The Atheist Conservative), who writes:
Antizionism is antisemitism. I have read nobody – especially in these comments – who “criticizes” the actions of Israel who cannot justly be labelled antisemitic. Of those who regard the state of Israel as an abomination, only the ultra-orthodox Jews can escape being called antisemitic.
Since 1967, British opinion has been steadily reverting to the antisemitism of the 1930s. It has not mattered whether a right or a left wing government has been in power in Israel. When the right wing is in power, the British left feels safer in asserting that “zionism is racism/nazism.” Netanyahu, Shamir, Begin – are really Jewistic Jews, zionistic zionists. Any “criticism” that assumes that Israel occupies stolen land, that it (and not the Arabs!) intends ethnic cleansing or apartheid, that it has not negotiated in good faith for a two state solution (but the Arabs have!), that it has genocidal plans for Arabs (but not the Arabs for it!), that it (but not the Arabs!) commit war crimes, that it is a colonialist power, that its citizenship rules are racist – is, by definition, antisemitism: the irrational hatred for and calumnious criminalization of Jews collectively or individually for being Jewish. Each of those criticisms is the modern form of the older poisons: German eugenics, Tsarist Protocols, medieval blood-libels.
But, really, does any such critic of Israel actually mind being labelled antisemitic? Who does he think he’s kidding? The critic believes that any offense Jews might take at being called thieves and murderers is a fraud – after all, they are thieves and murderers – emanating from that Jewish need to control the world, in this case, the “debate.” No, being called an “antisemite” gives the Israel critic a frisson: it shows he has caught the whining bugger being a Jew.
* Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the eyes of a Christian sojourner by Lela Gilbert, Encounter Books, New York, 2012
Here is Bret Stephens delivering a captivating speech.
The video runs for over 40 minutes, and deserves to be watched for every moment of it.
Jillian Becker comments on just one point:
“It is a cruel misunderstanding of youth to imagine that the heart of man’s desire is to be free. The heart of man’s desire is to obey.”
Bret Stephens quotes this aperçu from Thomas Mann’s huge novel The Magic Mountain. It is spoken by one of the characters, and Stephens believes it to be true.
Yes, many people – even most perhaps – like to be told what to do. They seek leaders, authorities who can and will instruct and direct them, and take responsibility for what then happens; who will give them purposes and causes and reasons, a meaning for their existence.
But it is also true that there is in human nature a perpetual, irrepressible longing for freedom, for self-determination; an impulse to shake off shackles and restrictions, to spread wings and fly.
The contradictions within human nature contend with each other in The Magic Mountain. It is the great novel of the twentieth century, and I endorse what Stephens says about its relevance to our time. A monumental achievement, it is one of the rare works of fiction to which the word “profound” can be – must be – applied.
The story is set in and around a Swiss alpine sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis.
The most important themes Thomas Mann deals with are raised in a debate, carried on day after day through many seasons, between two men who have come to the mountain to be cured of the disease: an Italian rationalist named Settembrini and a Jewish Jesuit (sic) named Naphta. They argue in the presence of the protagonist of the novel, a young man who comes in good health to visit a cousin undergoing the cure at the sanatorium, but stays too long and becomes infected. Settembrini and Naphta vie with each other to win him over, each to his own vision. Their argument is a dialogue of reason with faith, of humanism with nihilism, of science with mysticism, of candor with dissimulation, of restraint with voluptuousness, of classical skepticism with romantic passion, of Life with Death. The statement Stephens quotes is made by Naphta. Youth “feels its deepest pleasure in obedience”, he opines. He means obedience not to the benign orders of a just elder, but to a sinister force: “The order for the day is terror.” Finally, their altercations and rivalry lead them to a duel with pistols. Settembrini, unwilling to kill, fires into the air, upon which Naphta is convulsed with fury and turns his gun on himself. It is the completely logical, only possible, denouement.
Naphta is not, of course, the author’s mouthpiece, though Mann provides him with powerful arguments. Settembrini’s case, though a far better one, is not allowed to be indisputably right in every respect – idealism and reality never being in perfect harmony.
The book ends with the outbreak of the First World War. The reader is brought to ponder the idea that that vast slaughter was an outcome of a deep Settembrini-Naphta conflict in the heart of European man. A failure of reason and an infection of incurable depravity prepared a feast for Death.
A final note: Thomas Mann based Naphta on Georg Lukács, the Hungarian Communist, literary critic, theatre director, and Commissar for Education and Culture in the short-lived red republic set up in Hungary in 1919. In my own slight satirical novel L: A Novel History, I based my anti-hero Louis Zander also on Georg Lukács. My fascination with him was aroused in the first place by the character of Naphta. This post is linked to the Facebook page of L: A Novel History, where much more about the book may be found.
Christians are being severely persecuted in Islamic countries. The only country in the Middle East where they are completely safe from religious persecution is Israel, which is also the only country in the region where Muslims are protected in both law and practice from victimization by other Muslims. But Israel-haters – ie anti-Semites, including the Jewish ones – can and do enjoy transports of Schadenfreude as the Jews are blamed for the suffering of Christians and Muslims at the hands of Muslims.
This is an extract from an article by Bruce Bawer at Front Page:
Perusing these friends-of-Palestine websites, one discovers certain phenomena over and over again – among them a staggering naivete and sentimentality, a colossal ignorance of history (or a remarkable determination to block it out), and a reflexive, vicious hatred of Israel and, yes, Jews. On these sites, Palestine often seems less like a real place on the map, a place where real people live out their lives, than some perverse combination of a poverty-and-suffering theme park for idle, affluent Americans, a laboratory in which Peace Studies practitioners can carry out their experiments, and a destination for left-wing Christian pilgrims in search a virtue fix. On none of the websites I looked at was there so much as the slightest hint of awareness that more than a few Palestinians are in the grip of a self-destructive psychopathology that has been instilled in them by terrorist movements and on which they have brought up their children, almost surely guaranteeing that their people, however much “help” they may receive from all over the Western world, will not develop a normally functioning society or a productive economy in any of our lifetimes, but will continue to be fixated on murder and mayhem.
There’s one running theme in many of the accounts by the “friends of Palestine.” They’ve gone to the Holy Land to observe and get upset about Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians, and in one case after another, to judge by their own accounts, the only thing they actually find to get worked up about is the security procedures that Palestinians have to undergo when they cross from one side of the famous “wall” to the other. Overwrought accounts of what it is like to endure this purportedly insulting, arduous, and humiliating ritual are ubiquitous on these sites. They do not convince. Compared to any number of things that people are being put through in various parts of the world right now on a daily basis, the security procedures at the “wall” seem tame indeed. Virtually never, of course, do any of these websites even admit in passing that the reason for these procedures is the same reason why laborious security procedures have been instituted at international airports in countries around the world: in a word, jihad.
A final point. The websites of several of the Christian friends-of-Palestine organizations note the dramatic decline in the number of Christians in Palestine over the last couple of generations. A typical plaint: “Christians are the minority in this land where the faith was born*. Many Palestinian Christians are suffering and leaving the country.” The implication is always that Israel is at fault. At none of these sites is there any mention of the fact that the number of Christians is declining across the Muslim world, and for one reason only. “Christianity ‘close to extinction’ in Middle East,” read a December 23 headline in the Daily Telegraph. No religious group, theTelegraph noted, is more persecuted around the world than Christians, and their chief oppressors are Muslims, thanks to whom “between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left [the Muslim world] or been killed in the past century.” It’s a phenomenon on a massive scale – but one that the mainstream media rarely report on, and one that all the smug, self-satisfied Christians who profess to fret endlessly about the Palestinians don’t show any sign of giving a damn about.
*Footnote: Contrary to the fixed belief of an overwhelming majority, Christianity was not born in “the Holy Land”. It was born in St. Paul’s mind in Syria, and preached in Greek in the eastern lands of the Roman Empire. It’s extremely unlikely that there were any Pauline (Catholic) Christian communities in Judea until well into the second century. The misnamed “Jewish Christians” (Nazarenes or Ebionites) – the followers of the crucified man Paul called “Jesus” – remained in Jerusalem as long as they could, but did not believe in the divine “Son of God”. Almost everything you read in the New Testament about “Jesus”, “James”, “Peter” and “John” is Paul’s and his converts’ make-believe. (See our series on the birth and growth of Christianity: A man named Jesus or something like that, September 23, 2011; The invention of Christianity, October 28, 2011; Tread on me: the making of Christian morality, December 22, 2011; St.Paul: portrait of a sick genius, January 7, 2012; Pauline Christianity: a mystical salad, February 26, 2012; Christian theology: “the Word made flesh”, December 25, 2012.)
The Washington Times reports:
Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, called on Egyptian Jews to leave Israel to the Palestinians and return to their own homeland.
“Their presence in Palestine contributes to the Zionist occupation of Arab lands, and every Egyptian has the right to live in his country — nobody can deny that,” Erian said …
“Egyptian Jews should refuse to live under a brutal, bloody and racist occupation stained with war crimes against humanity,” Erian said.
How do such people say such things with a straight face? Are they cynical beyond all shame, or are they utterly without a sense of irony?
From the Jewish Virtual Library, a Division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise:
Between June and November 1948, bombs set off in the Jewish Quarter of Cairo killed more than 70 Jews and wounded nearly 200. In 1956, the Egyptian government used the Sinai Campaign as a pretext for expelling almost 25,000 Egyptian Jews and confiscating their property. Approximately 1,000 more Jews were sent to prisons and detention camps. On November 23, 1956, a proclamation signed by the Minister of Religious Affairs, and read aloud in mosques throughout Egypt, declared that “all Jews are Zionists and enemies of the state,” and promised that they would be soon expelled. Thousands of Jews were ordered to leave the country. They were allowed to take only one suitcase and a small sum of cash, and forced to sign declarations “donating” their property to the Egyptian government. Foreign observers reported that members of Jewish families were taken hostage, apparently to insure that those forced to leave did not speak out against the Egyptian government.
From the Historical Society of Jews from Egypt:
Egyptian Jews being expelled from Egypt in 1956 under the direction of President Gamal Abd El Nasser … had to sign a pledge of NEVER TO RETURN, leaving behind their possessions, amounting to billions of dollars. All their assets have been placed under sequestration and confiscated by the government of which no restitutions have been made. The policy of sequestration and confiscation was in effect from 1948-1967. During the war of 1967 many Jews were mistreated and placed in jails for no reason other than they are of the Jewish faith. Egypt has yet to apologize. Today, with a handful of Jews left in all of Egypt, our request to salvage and rescue our heritage and religious articles has been denied by Egypt stating it all has been placed under the auspices of the department of Antiquities, and therefore may not leave Egypt.
From The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
Why was the story of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries suppressed? How did it become a forgotten exodus? …
Although they exceed the numbers of the Palestinian refugees, the Jews who fled are a forgotten case. Whereas the former are at the very heart of the peace process with a huge UN bureaucratic machinery dedicated to keeping them in the camps, the nine hundred thousand Jews who were forced out of Arab countries have not been refugees for many years. Most of them, about 650,000, went to Israel because it was the only country that would admit them. Most of them resided in tents that after several years were replaced by wooden cabins, and stayed in what were actually refugee camps for up to twelve years. They never received any aid or even attention from the UN Relief And Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or any other international agency. Although their plight was raised almost every year at the UN by Israeli representatives, there was never any other reference to their case at the world body. …
Arab statements in the UN General Assembly and the New York Times reports prove that the intention to expel these Jewish populations preceded the establishment of Israel and the plight of the Palestinian refugees. …
What, then, happened to the nine hundred thousand Jews of the Arab countries?
In a few years, Jewish communities that had existed in the Middle East for more than 2,500 years were brutally expelled or had to run for their lives. … Following the Partition Resolution of November 1947, and in some countries even earlier during World War II, Middle Eastern Jews were the targets of official and popular incitement, state-legislated discrimination, and pogroms – again, all this before the massive flight of the Arabs from Palestine. …
In a new book Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner* by Lela Gilbert (an intelligently pro-Israel enthusiast), stories of the Jews’ expulsion from Egypt are related by individuals who were robbed of all their possessions and expelled from the country.
“Levana Zamir [now living in Tel Aviv] … explains that she, her parents and her six brothers were … part of an affluent community … Then the “catastrophe” struck.
“On May 14, 1948,” Levana recalls, “we were sleeping. All of a sudden, exactly at midnight, people were knocking very, very hard on our door. We woke up and I saw ten Egyptian officers in their black uniforms. I wasn’t afraid because my parents were there and my mother was smiling to comfort me. But the soldiers opened everything. They went through everything. They were searching for something, but we never knew what. The next day I went to school (Levana attended a Catholic elementary school). The headmaster of the nuns came to me and said, ‘They took your uncle to prison!’
“My uncle lived in a big villa. He, my father and another brother owned one of the largest printing businesses in Cairo. I rushed home and asked my mother, ‘Is it true? Is he a criminal?’ My mother told me, ‘He’s not a criminal. It’s only because we are Jews’.
“So then it was even more a trauma for me. I thought to myself, I am also a Jew! I too could go to prison!”
Eighteen months later, when her uncle was released from prison like many others — on the condition of permanent expulsion — Levana and her family fled Egypt, leaving behind their sequestrated assets and possessions.
Today, Joseph Abdel Wahed lives in California … He recalls:
“I was 12 years old in May 1948,” Joseph says, “living in Heliopolis (a Cairo suburb). I remember the words of Azzam Pasha, the head of the newly formed Arab League, talking about the founding of Israel. He said, ‘This will be a war of extermination that will be likened to the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades!’ The very next day, the Egyptian army (and four other Arab armies) headed towards the new state of Israel to ‘throw the Jews into the sea.’ It was supposed to be a slam dunk, but they lost.
“By then everything had begun to unravel and our previously secure lives in Egypt had fallen apart. The Jewish section of Cairo, the Haret el Yahud, was bombed every year until 1949 …
Many were killed by the bombs. Jewish establisments were attacked, and individuals assaulted.
“The authorities sometimes played a part in these assaults, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which began in the late 1920s under the leadership of Hassan el Banna. In 1967, about 400 Egyptian Jews, including my uncle and other relatives were thrown in concentration camps. …
And one more:
Another man whose family fled Egypt, Yossi Ben Aharon, now lives in Jerusalem. A career Israeli diplomat, Ben Aharon served as Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office under Premier Yitzhak Shamir and represented the Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for nearly a decade in the United States. In a recent interview, Ben Aharon made it abundantly clear that the explosive violence against Jews in the Arab world following May 14, 1948 was no coincidence. He has collected a number of statements of lethal intent made by Arab leaders, calling for the death and destruction of Jews in their Arab homelands in case of the UN Partition of Palestine. …
Ben Aharon explains, “Immediately after the UN approved the Partition resolution on November 29, 1947, Arabs attacked the Jews throughout the Middle East, including Palestine. Yet, since 1949, the Arab states, together with Palestinian organizations, have mounted an intensive propaganda campaign, based on a rewriting of history, in an attempt to shift responsibility for the Palestinian refugee issue on to Israel. They describe the events of 1948 – and the estimated 762,000 Arab refugees – as an ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Israel. The facts of history point to the opposite: ethnic cleansing was perpetrated by Arab governments against their Jews, as witnessed by the fact that 850,000 Jews were forced to leave the Arab countries, while more than 4 million Arabs continue to live in geographic Palestine, including more than a million in Israel. Now, sixty years after the events, the time has come for the historical facts to be recognized and for justice to be done.
“Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world did not get one penny from the UN, while the Palestinians have received over $50 billion (including funds from the European Union) since 1950. They still are receiving financial assistance.”
Lela Gilbert gives much the same figures as most authoritative sources, according to which the number of Jews living in Egypt at the start of 1948 was estimated between 85,000 and 100,000, and today there are fewer than 50.
She also writes about the fate of the Coptic Christians since the so-called “Arab Spring” was sprung in Egypt.
A massacre took place on Sunday, January 30  at 3 PM in the village of Sharona near Maghagha, Minya province. Two Islamists groups, aided by the Muslim neighbors, descended on the roof of houses owned by Copts, killing eleven Copts, including children, and seriously injuring four others. The two families were staying in their homes with their doors locked when suddenly the Islamists descended on them, killing eleven and leaving for dead four other family members. In addition, they looted everything that was in the two Coptic houses, including money, furniture and electrical equipment. They also looted livestock and grain.”
There have been many more murderous attacks on Christians in Egypt since then. In particular, Lela Gilbert records this appalling event:
In September, 2011, thousands of Muslims were incited by a Salafi imam during Friday prayers to attack a nearby church. The church has constructed a dome on its 70-year-old building … with legal permission from Aswan’s governor. But the iman was offended, and the mob he stirred up ransacked and torched the church … The following month[October 9, 2011], when protestors (most of them Copts) gathered on Cairo’s Maspero District to complain of ongoing attacks against Copts, including the recent destruction of churches, they were ferociously assaulted by the Egyptian military. … At least 27 protestors were killed. The military has refused to take responsibility for the deaths, even though videos of the day’s atrocities circulated widely on the Internet – including a gruesome scene in which military vehicles mowed down and crushed protestors – along with volumes of eyewitness testimony.
See our post More acts of religion, October 15, 2011, which is about this massacre. It is accompanied by this picture:
Our account of the protest, its causes, and the killings ends with these words:
The “Arab Spring” is the same old everlasting Muslim season of misery and death.
In the light of all that, it doesn’t take dyed-in-the-wool skeptics (like us) to work out that Essam al-Erian’s invitation to Jews of Egyptian origin now living in Israel to return “to their homeland” is an invitation to come and be killed.
Postscript: A new report brings no surprise. “The Islamic Jihad has called on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Essam el-Erian to resign from his role as adviser to Morsi and to apologize to the Egyptian people for his statement asking Egyptian Jews to leave Israel and reclaim their properties. … Reaction to El-Erian’s statements was furious. ‘We shall fight them vigorously if they return,’ said Mohamed Abou Samra, the leading figure in the Islamic Jihad movement. “Islamic Shariah says they deserve to be killed. … Their return will be over our dead bodies. We will continue fighting the Jews until the liberation of Palestine or Doomsday.”
*Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner by Lela Gilbert, Encounter Books, New York, 2012