Friday, November 20, 2015

From Ian:

Pollard released from US prison after thirty years behind bars
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard was released Friday after 30 years behind bars from the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, after serving a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally.
His wife Esther greeted him at the prison and drove with him to an undisclosed location where they will be spending Shabbat together. The couple released a statement saying that they are grateful to everyone who worked for his release and that Pollard's lawyer would release more details later Friday.
President Reuven Rivlin on Friday welcomed the news of Pollard's release, commenting that it was Israel's responsibility and obligation to secure his release.
"We all welcome the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison after so many long and hard years," Rivlin said.
"Throughout the years, our pain was Pollard's pain... we felt the responsibility and obligation to secure his release," the president added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement saying that he had been looking forward to this day for many years after repeatedly raising Pollard's fate with multiple American presidents. Netanyahu wished Pollard well and said he hoped he could enjoy the rest of his life with peace of mind.
JPost Editorial: Bring Pollard to Israel
In July, the US Parole Commission, in a unanimous 3-0 decision, decided to grant Jonathan Pollard parole and announced that he would be released on November 20, 2015.
Today, after spending 30 years in prison for a crime that did not deserve such a harsh punishment, the 61-year-old Pollard will leave the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, and take the first delicate steps toward continuing with his life. He will at last be able to celebrate this coming Shabbat outside prison walls.
Pollard is expected to be welcomed by his wife, Esther, and his attorney, Eliot Lauer. They – and Pollard himself – have said that it is his dream to make aliya.
“I am looking forward to being reunited with my beloved wife Esther,” Pollard has said via his attorneys. “I would like to thank the many thousands of well-wishers in the United States, in Israel, and throughout the world, who provided grassroots support by attending rallies, sending letters, making phone calls to elected officials, and saying prayers for my welfare. I am deeply appreciative of every gesture, large or small.”
Pollard is the only American citizen sentenced to life in prison for passing classified information to a US ally – in this case Israel. He has been behind bars since his arrest in 1985, even though he was convicted two years later. After finally giving him official recognition as an agent, Israel granted him citizenship 20 years ago, on November 22, 1995.
Knesset caucus vows to fight Pollard’s parole restrictions
The Knesset caucus dedicated to Israeli-American spy Jonathan Pollard vowed on Friday that it would continue to work to ease Pollard’s parole restrictions which, among other things, prevent him from moving to Israel.
In a letter to Pollard, who was freed on Friday morning from a North Carolina federal prison after serving a 30-year jail sentence, caucus chairman MK Nahman Shai congratulated him on his release and pledged to combat any “violation” of his rights.
“Jonathan, the Caucus will not cease its activity until we remove the limitations imposed on you upon your release. We continue to demand the removal of any restriction on your freedom of movement, communication or other violation of your rights,” he wrote.
“We will not rest until you are free to depart the United States for any destination of your choosing, first and foremost — Israel.”
Pollard's lawyers say they'll appeal 'unreasonable, unlawful' parole terms
Attorneys for Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard announced on Friday that they are planning to appeal the conditions of his parole just hours after he was released from a federal penitentiary following a 30-year incarceration.
As per the terms of his parole, Pollard has to check in regularly with a parole officer for a year and can be returned to prison for poor behavior. He is not permitted to leave the United States for five years, to give interviews or to go online. He must also wear electronic monitoring devices that enable the government to track his whereabouts.
The official Free Pollard campaign and Pollard’s attorneys have declined to comment on the parole conditions, but they did encourage US congress members to ask the Justice Department to ease them. World renowned criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who represented Pollard in the past, told The Jerusalem Post that although such parole conditions were not unprecedented, they are “totally irrational.”
Micahel Oren: Come Home
In my conversation with Pollard, we discussed the situation in the Middle East, but he also shared with me his physical and mental struggles. I left him with the promise that Israel would continue to work relentlessly for his release. It was the most difficult meeting I held during my period as ambassador.
I completed my term with a sense of disappointment over failing to bring Pollard home.
Now five more years have gone by, and he is finally free. I wish to thank the leaders of Israel who did not abandon the petition to free him, the Pollard supporters, who dedicated many years to lobbying for his release, and President Obama, who did not object to his parole.
On this special day, I am hoping that Jonathan Pollard, like me, will realize his dream of coming home to Israel.

Andrew Neil's message to Paris attackers - BBC News (h/t The_Kenosha_Kid)

Mordechai Kedar: The world is at war
The world is at war. And that's old news. Immediately after 9/11, over 14 years ago, former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy said that WWIII had begun. The only thing that has changed over the past few days is that the rest of the world is also beginning to realize that it is at war.
The Western world, the immutable objective of World Jihad, has awakened to find itself standing on a firing range where its heart serves as the target and its culture is the bulls-eye.
Tragically, the bell tolls in the form of mass murder and the sight of blood flowing like water Last Friday's attack in Paris was not just the wanton murder of innocents, it was also an attack against the symbols of Western culture: theater, concerts, restaurants, stadiums. In the proclamation claiming responsibility for the atrocity, Islamic State announced that it did not merely attack the capital of France, it attacked the capital of prostitution and adultery and the "standard bearer of the Crusades."
Islamic extremists are at war with the most iconic symbol of Western culture, liberty – and primarily, with the liberation of women.
John Kerry has lost 'legitimacy' as Secretary of State
An American Secretary of State addressing American Embassy employees spoke of the “legitimacy” of the murderous attack on Charlie Hebdo, before realizing how outrageous that was and correcting himself to speak of a “rationale.” Too late and still awful. By expressing his understanding of, if not agreement with, the right of Muslims to murder those who violate their Sharia code while freely expressing themselves in the tradition of the West, Kerry has forfeited his ability to act as defender of American interests on the world stage. He should resign or be fired.
But of course Barack Obama, who stated on the world stage at the UN that “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” may well agree with Kerry’s sentiments.
The entire foreign policy team of the United States accepts the Islamist position that we must alter our tradition of freedom of speech to conform to Sharia law’s protection of the preeminence of Islam and its prophet. Has anyone in the Obama administration spoken out against the mockery of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints in the Broadway hit The Book of Mormon? Mockery of the Mormons’ prophet is perfectly fine, so there is no general principle of respect for religions at play here. It is dhimmitude, plain and simple.
And what of the Jews at the kosher supermarket slaughtered on the same day as the cartoonists? Does Kerry think there was legitimacy or a ration ale for their slaughter? After all, he was comparing the two days of carnage and finding one more understandable than the other. Is he stating that there is a rationale for killing Jews? Or is he in the same camp as Obama, who called them “a bunch of folks at a deli” as if they were random victims like young people at the Bataclan concert venue. If so, did Kerry just forget about them?
Massachusetts Native Ezra Schwartz, 18, Murdered in Israel
The 18-year-old American student killed by a Palestinian man in the West Bank on Thursday has been identified as Ezra Schwartz, a Sharon, Massachusetts, native who was on a gap year in Israel. A representative at Maimonides School, a Jewish day school in Brookline, MA, where Schwartz was once a student, confirmed the report.
Schwartz was enrolled at Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh and was reportedly volunteering with classmates, handing out food to soldiers, when he was gunned down by an assailant who opened fire from his vehicle outside of Alon Shvut, a Jewish settlement in Gush Etzion. Schwartz had just celebrated his 18th birthday in October.
Schwartz was the second oldest of five siblings. On Thursday, his friends and loved ones shared tributes on Facebook. “I have had the pleasure of being Ezra’s teammate the past two seasons,” wrote Doni Berg, who played baseball with Schwartz. “He always kept a smile on my face.”
“[Ezra] was known for his morale, dedication, and positive outlook,” wrote Elisha Jacobs, now a student at NYU.
Schwartz attended Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire, where he also served as a counselor. At camp, Corey Robins wrote that it was rare to see Schwartz without a smile on his face. “You were one of the happiest, energetic, and most fun campers I have ever had,” Robins, Schwartz’s former camp counselor, wrote in a Facebook post. “An incredible, amazing kid.”
Washington silent over murder of 18-year-old American
Republican presidential candidate US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) remained one of the few US officials to acknowledge the brutal murder of 18-year-old American citizen Ezra Schwartz in a Palestinian terror attack in Gush Etzion on Thursday, amid a deafening silence from Washington.
Cruz noted in a Tweet that the Palestinian Arab terrorism behind Schwartz's murder, as well as behind the whole terror war which has plagued Israel since September, is simply an outcropping of the same radical Islam the US does condemn - that of Islamic State (ISIS).
Fellow Republican nominee Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) also acknowledged the murder, calling for "Palestinian incitement to end."
At funeral, slain teacher remembered for warmth, dedication to students
Palestinian terror victim Yaakov Don, 49, was laid to rest on Friday morning, with mourners recalling the long-time Jewish educator’s dedication to his students — and his unwavering optimism.
The resident of the settlement of Alon Shvut was shot dead by Palestinian gunmen on Thursday night in the Gush Etzion bloc in the West Bank, along with 18-year-old US national Ezra Schwartz and Hebron resident Shaadi Arfa.
Thousands of Israelis flocked to the Kfar Etzion cemetery on Friday to pay their final respects.
“You always told me ‘what did I do to deserve you as a wife?’ but I am the one who was blessed,” Don’s wife, Sara said at the funeral, according to the Ynet news website. “I was blessed with a loving, attentive husband, you had so much feeling and warmth — toward me, your children, and your parents.You were a simple man in the greatest sense of the word — you never wanted anything.”
“I thank God for the 22 happy years we had together,” she continued. “From heaven, please pray to God to give us strength.”
Also speaking at the funeral, Don’s son Aviad said: “I don’t understand why and how you aren’t here anymore. How a person like you could be murdered because of this evil.”
Why the Palestinians Keep Killing
What if the supposed cause of terrorism against Israel were based on a lie? That’s the awful fact that was exposed yesterday by none other than Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. In an interview with Israel’s Channel 10, Abbas admitted that in 2008 he flatly rejected an offer of statehood from Israel that would have given him control of almost all the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem as well as Gaza. While fascinating, the revelation — this is the first time he has owned up to the truth about what happened during the negotiations that took place during the last months of the Bush administration — is of more than historical interest. It also undermines the premise of the case against Israel used by critics that claim its policies are the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Moreover, the timing of the admission, coming as it did as a surge in Palestinian terrorism escalates, makes the true motive for the killing painfully obvious.
With each passing day, the toll of horrifying violence perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis grows. Today there were two separate attacks. One took place in the Gush Etzion bloc of the West Bank. There (in an area that was settled by Jews before 1948) a Palestinian opened fire with a submachine gun on a group of people at a road junction killing an American Jewish teenage tourist, an Israeli man, and a Palestinian passerby as well as wounding several others. Meanwhile in Tel Aviv, a Palestinian killed two Jews and wounded at least two others with a knife at the entrance to a synagogue. The total of five fatalities is the highest since the current surge of terror began two months ago. One can only pray that’s a record that won’t be broken. Given the support for terror among Palestinians (as a comprehensive survey of Palestinian public opinion has proved), there’s no reason for optimism as what is being called a third intifada continues.
We know the slaughter will be cheered on Hamas TV. The Palestinian Authority will also honor those who committed these crimes. But even some Westerners who will condemn the terror will add that it is merely the result of Israel’s own wicked policies that oppress Palestinians. We’re constantly told, both by voices in the mainstream media and the Obama administration, that if only Israel would offer the Palestinians a state of their own and end the occupation, then none of this would be happening. As I noted earlier, European political leaders have echoed this theme blaming Israel not only for the attacks on its people but also for ISIS terror directed at non-Jewish Europeans. That kind of scapegoating is reminiscent of traditional anti-Semitic attitudes in which Jews are blamed for all of society’s ills rather than being focused solely on prejudice against Israel.
But what if Israel had already offered the Palestinians the state their apologists say would be the solution to all of the region’s problems? Well, actually they have. Several times.
Terrorists initially intended to kidnap Henkins — prosecution
The terrorists who allegedly shot dead Eitam and Naama Henkin in front of their children last month originally planned to kidnap them, according to indictments served on Thursday against the Palestinians accused in the attack.
Previously unpublished details of the October 1 incident were revealed in the indictments served in the Shomron Military Court against four members of an alleged five-man cell.
The four, arrested several days after the incident, were named as Yahia Muhammad Naif Abdullah Hajj Hamad, who carried out the shooting itself; Samir Zahir Ibrahim Kusah, the driver of the car, who has also been linked to previous terror attacks; gunman Karem Lufti Fatahi Razek, who was wounded by gunfire from one of his fellow cell members during the attack; and Zir Ziad Jamal Amar, who cleared the way for the car to carry out the attack, the prosecution said.
According to prosecutors, the four were part of a cell working for Hamas that planned to carry out shooting attacks against Israelis. The men allegedly carried out several earlier shooting attacks against Israeli targets.
Eyewitnesses Recount Tel Aviv Stabbing Attack in Midst of Midday Prayers: People Were ‘Covered in Blood, Turning Blue’
An Israeli who witnessed Thursday afternoon’s stabbing attack in Tel Aviv’s Panorama building, which left two people dead, described the ordeal to reporters shortly after police ruled out the presence of a second perpetrator on the loose, Israeli news website Walla reported.
“A group of 15-20 of us were praying at a [Judaica] shop that serves as our daily makeshift synagogue,” Shimon recounted. “Suddenly, a man entered who was bleeding profusely. [Understanding he had just been stabbed by a terrorist, and that the terrorist was behind him], we closed the doors. The terrorist tried with all his might to get in, but we didn’t let him.”
Shimon added, “He had a knife that looked like a sword. He was shouting in Arabic and tried to slaughter the men praying. We were lucky, because he had already managed to get half of his body inside the door, but we succeeded in keeping him out.”
One of the men caught in the middle of praying phoned a family member and described the bloodbath in real time, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.
Tel Aviv terrorist’s mother ‘proud’ of her son’s actions
The mother of a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed to death two Israeli men in Tel Aviv on Thursday said she was proud of his actions. “My son is a source of pride for Hebron and Palestine,” the woman told Hamas television.
Raid Halil bin Mahmoud, 36, a father of five from West Bank town of Dura near to Hebron, also moderately injured a third man. After his arrest, he said he was driven to carry out the attack by the pain he felt for the situation of the Palestinians, police said.
Just four days ago Mahmoud was issued a work permit enabling him to find employment in Israel. The permit was issued after a background check by security services found that he had no record of previous activity constituting a security concern.
He worked in a meat restaurant close to the Panorama office building in south Tel Aviv, where he carried out his attack.
After passersby overpowered him, Mahmoud was questioned at the scene of the attack by the Shin Bet security services. He was then arrested and interrogated by Tel Aviv District Police.
Palestinian Terrorist Who Killed 2 in Tel Aviv Had Israeli Security Clearance, Valid Work Permit
The terrorist who carried out a deadly stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on Thursday had a work permit and entered Israel legally, Israeli news website Walla reported.
Sources in Israel’s defense establishment confirmed that Raed Masalmeh, a 36-year-old father-of-five from Kfar Dura near Hebron, had received security clearance to enter Israel a week ago and receive a work permit. Masalmeh was working at Samarkand, a Bukhari restaurant in Jaffa within walking distance from the Panorama building in south Tel Aviv, where he carried out the attack, which left two Israelis dead and another moderately wounded.
A defense source said it was “very unusual for a Palestinian to be approved after passing all of the appropriate checks and then carry out a terrorist attack,” and that the matter would be investigated by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service.
He also said that Masalmeh’s targeting of men praying in a [makeshift] synagogue was not coincidental. “It’s another sign that we’re in a religious war,” he said.
Arab bystander in shooting attack buried as 'victim of Israel'
A funeral was held in Hevron on Friday for Shadi Arafa, the 24-year-old Arab bystander from Hevron in Judea who was accidentally killed by an Arab terrorist on Thursday night in a shooting attack in Gush Etzion that left two Jews dead.
But despite the fact that Arafa was killed in a blaze of gunfire rained down on vehicles by an Arab terrorist driving by, the Palestinian Authority (PA) buried him as a victim of Israel in a twisted perversion of the events.
Israel had delivered Arafa's body to the PA late Thursday, reports the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency.
His body was taken from Bethlehem in Judea to the al-Ahli Hospital in Hevron according to the paper, and there official PA sources issued the assertion that is tantamount to a blood libel, claiming that IDF forces who responded to the attack killed Arafa.
Putting the lie to the claim is the fact that the terrorist wasn't shot at; video footage from the scene shows that after he drove at high speed with his gun blazing on vehicles stopped in a traffic jam, he crashed into a car and got out unharmed with his hands raised, at which point a Border Patrol officer arrested him.
Danon: Security Council must not turn a blind eye to terror
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, on Thursday called on the President of the Security Council, Matthew Rycroft, to condemn the deadly campaign of terror against the State of Israel.
The letter from Danon to Rycroft came after two more terrorist attacks in Israel: One in Tel Aviv in which two Jewish people were stabbed to death, and a second attack in Gush Etzion in which two Jews were murdered, as well as a Palestinian Arab killed accidentally by the terrorists.
Ambassador Danon noted in his letter that such horrendous acts of terror are a direct result of the malicious incitement and violent rhetoric coming from the Palestinian Authority, and stated that the terror attacks which took place Thursday mark the bloodiest day since the start of the current wave of terror against Israelis which began two months ago.
“Terror is terror is terror,” said Ambassador Danon. “If the Security Council chooses to turn a blind eye and fails to condemn such attacks, it will legitimize terror and increase the chances of further attacks and more fatalities in the future. The Security Council must condemn these horrific attacks against innocent civilians and call on the Palestinian Authority to put an end to this culture of terror once and for all.”
Radio 4 gives insight into BBC avoidance of the use of the term ‘terror’ in Israel
This discussion yet again highlights the fact that the BBC’s approach to the use of the word terror and its derivatives when reporting on events in Israel is not rooted solely in the objective of informing audiences of the nature of the events which have taken place. After all, shooting and stabbing passengers on a city bus in Jerusalem is obviously intended to “shock and terrorise people in a city” in exactly the same way as planting a bomb in London or gunning down concert-goers in Paris.
It has been clear for a long time that the BBC employs differing approaches to such obviously similar acts of terrorism because its handling of the topic does not distinguish between method and aims, means and ends. The result is that even though the acts may be identical or similar, the BBC’s use – or not – of the word terrorism hinges on its political judgement of the aims of the perpetrators and the description of the means is adjusted accordingly.
In this discussion, however, we also gain insight into an additional factor which apparently prevents the BBC from reporting terrorism against Israelis consistently and accurately: second-guessing of how the description of, say, the brutal murders of early morning worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue as an act of terror would be received by specific audience groups – and the adjustment of language accordingly. Interestingly, the incident at a mosque in Kuwait in June was described by the BBC as a terror attack on its international services and on social media.
That bizarre approach clearly not only patronizes and stereotypes BBC audiences worldwide (does the BBC really think that its Middle East audiences for example are too delicate to hear the politically motivated murders of Israelis described as terror?) but obviously also seriously undermines the corporation’s claim that it strives to achieve consistency “across all our services” when reporting terrorism.
BBCTW: Col. Richard Kemp on dealing with terrorism and Syria (19Nov15) [A bit surreal for the first 3 minutes]

Niall Ferguson: Paris and the fall of Rome
It is conventional to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent, and that is doubtless true. But it is also true that the majority of Muslims in Europe hold views that are not easily reconciled with the principles of our modern liberal democracies, including those novel notions we have about equality between the sexes and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities.
I do not know enough about the fifth century to be able to quote Romans who described each new act of barbarism as unprecedented, even when it had happened multiple times before; or who issued pious calls for solidarity after the fall of Rome, even when standing together in fact meant falling together; or who issued empty threats of pitiless revenge, even when all they intended to do was to strike a melodramatic pose.
I do know that 21st-century Europe has only itself to blame for the mess it is now in. For surely nowhere in the world has devoted more resources to the study of history than modern Europe. When I went up to Oxford more than 30 years ago, it was taken for granted that in the first term of my first year I would study Gibbon. It did no good. We learned nothing that mattered. Indeed, we learned a lot of nonsense to the effect that nationalism was a bad thing, nation-states worse, and empires the worst things of all.
“Romans before the fall,” wrote Ward-Perkins in his “Fall of Rome,” “were as certain as we are today that their world would continue for ever substantially unchanged. They were wrong. We would be wise not to repeat their complacency.”
Poor, poor Paris. Killed by complacency.
Denis MacEoin: The City of Light Goes Dark
The targets in all the Paris attacks were not chosen "randomly." Charlie Hebdo stood for the Enlightenment value of free speech, for the right to challenge, even to make fun of figures who deem themselves above criticism: politicians, religious leaders, the rich and famous. It stood for the right to be secular: for refusing to fence off religion, or award believers greater respect than non-believers.
Like the attempts to shut down all criticism of Islam -- whether in novels such as Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, cartoons such as those of Muhammad drawn and published in Denmark, or debates between academics -- the Charlie Hebdo killings were intended to instil fear and silence all honest discussion of Islam and its values.
Through bold criticism in a secular manner, European states have been able to create a more pluralistic, tolerant, and humane culture. For devout Muslims (not just radicals), this is blasphemy of the worst sort: democracy, made by man and not by Allah, is evil, and tolerance for all beliefs is a path to hell.
This ongoing failure to admit that the law of jihad is explicitly cited by spokesmen for Islamic State is the root cause of our inability to fight this war. The ancestors of today's Europeans knew how to fight against Islamic encroachment, but today, hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants, some of them devoted to waging jihad, are being given free access to enter Europe.
Graeme Wood: What ISIS Really Wants
What is the Islamic State?
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.
Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.
We cannot live with Islamic State so we shall have to live without them
The fire was not started in the west and if it cannot be put out by western intervention alone that does not absolve our government from the task of sharing the burden of responding to the latest conflagration.
It may be that ISIS would like to ‘provoke’ a reaction but that does not necessarily mean a reaction is ill-advised. Defeating ISIS on its ‘home’ territory will not on its own be a sufficient response; it still seems a necessary part of any response. Not least because the alternatives invite them to try, try, and try again. Everyone expects that to happen anyway. This will happen again.
But are we – France, the UK, whomever – supposed to sit back and ‘take it’? Of course we can take it and we will take it. ISIS and the wider jihadi movement cannot destroy France or the UK. We should have sufficient confidence in ourselves to remember that. But being able to take it is not the same thing as having to take it. Nor does it impose any requirement to confirm the jihadi suspicion that the west is irredeemably weak and decadent.
Defeating ISIS won’t be the end of the matter but it cannot be ended without their defeat either. We didn’t choose the fight but that does not mean we can shrink from it either. There comes a point at which dignity, as well as the national interest, demands a response. It might not be enough. It might not work. Success too, however it is defined, is liable to spawn fresh intractable problems. So be it. We move to deal with them as and when they arise.
Aux armes, citoyens.
Jewish refugees have never been as popular as now
There is no doubt that there are a lot of sincere and well-intentioned people among those who are currently promoting the argument that the refugees of today should benefit from the “lessons” to be learnt from the callous rejection of Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s. Take for example the just published article by Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, who argues that “xenophobia, religious bigotry, and hatred shut international doors in the faces of those fleeing Nazi Germany. The world cannot afford to make that mistake again.”
While I agree that there is indeed again a lot of xenophobia, religious bigotry, and hatred in the debate about today’s refugees, I’m afraid there is also a lot of hypocrisy and bigotry among some of those who now enthusiastically embrace this all too convenient “lesson of history.” As a matter of fact, I was alerted to the popularity of the comparison while monitoring the Twitter activity of notorious Israel-haters like Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal.
So when there is a debate about how to respond to the hundreds of thousands – projected soon to become millions – of mostly Muslim refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty in their own countries, Abunimah and Blumenthal discover their sympathies for the Jewish refugees desperate to flee the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The problem with this is that both Abunimah and Blumenthal are otherwise often busy promoting the 21st century version of the Nazi slogan “The Jews are our misfortune,” which is: “The Jewish state is our misfortune.”
Obviously, if Israel had been established just ten years earlier, many of the Jews trying in vain to find refuge from the Nazis would have had a place to go to.
However, Ali Abunimah has asserted that Zionism is “one of the worst forms of anti-Semitism in existence today,” and that “[s]upporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.” On the basis of these reprehensible views, he has formulated a truly Orwellian definition of antisemitism that has been endorsed by many prominent anti-Israel activists.
Douglas Murray: France’s civil war — and the struggle facing Europe
In the wake of the massacre in Paris, President François Hollande said that France was ‘at war’ — and that it must be fought both inside his country and outside in the Middle East. As the French air force began dropping bombs on Raqqa in Syria, another operation was under way in towns and cities across France: 168 raids in two days. A battle on two fronts has begun.
Chartres cathedral is one of the great monuments of western civilisation, but Chartres was also home to one of the Bataclan theatre suicide bombers. A man from the same area died last summer in Syria, fighting for Isis. In Lyon, the raids turned up a rocket launcher. On Tuesday night, a large-scale counter-terror assault was launched in St Denis in Paris. After heavy gunfire, a woman blew herself up by detonating a suicide belt, according to the police.
That the French police know where to look is heartening. That there are so many places to look is not. Long before this week’s slaughter, the French have known that large parts of France are effectively not French.
Ten years ago, when the banlieues lit up and more than 9,000 cars were burnt, the world paid some attention. But it soon sank back into denial. Statesman talk of the danger of ‘ungoverned spaces’ in the Middle East and Africa. But the ungoverned spaces in France and in other parts of Europe were largely ignored.
Douglas Murray: On Question Time tonight, will someone please ask Mehdi Hasan about his views on infidels?
Various readers have been asking if I am doing Question Time, This Week or Any Questions this week. It’s not the BBC’s fault but I’m not able to be in the country at the moment. I am particularly sorry not to be able to do Question Time now that I learn that the line-up includes Mehdi Hasan and Anna Soubry.
So could someone else on the panel or in the audience please point out that Mehdi Hasan has expressed similar contempt for us infidels as Isis have? Here is a reminder of a sermon he gave in 2009:
‘The kuffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Koran; they are described in the Koran as “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Koran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.’
The Spectator: Podcast: the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks
Is Jeremy Corbyn a peacenik or is he only interested in badmouthing the West? On this week’s View from 22 podcast, Nick Cohen and Freddy Gray discuss the Paris terrorist attacks and the response from British politicians. Was the Labour leader right to shift his position on shoot to kill? What does his association with Stop The War mean for the party? And has Corbyn’s response to the events in Paris weakened his leadership?
Jeremy Corbyn isn’t anti-war. He’s just anti-West
Before the bodies in Paris’s restaurants were cold, Jeremy Corbyn’s Stop the War Coalition knew who the real villains were — and they were not the Islamists who massacred civilians. ‘Paris reaps whirlwind of western support for extremist violence in Middle East’ ran a headline on its site. The article went on to say that the consequence of the West’s ‘decades-long, bipartisan cultivation of religious extremism will certainly be more bloodshed, more repression and more violent intervention’.
This flawless example of what I once called the ‘kill us, we deserve it’ school of political analysis takes us to the heart of Corbyn’s beliefs. Even his opponents have yet to appreciate the malign double standards of the new Labour party, though they ought to be clear for all to see by now.
Whatever its protestations, Corbyn’s far left is not anti-war. Pacifism may not be a moral position in all circumstances but, in my view at least, it remains an honourable belief, rooted in Christian teaching. Corbyn does not share it. He does not oppose violence wherever it comes from, as the BBC’s political editor claimed this week. When anti-western regimes and movements go to war, his language turns slippery. Corbyn never quite has the guts to support the violence of others, but he excuses it like a gangster’s lawyer trying to get a crime boss off on a technicality.
Jews and the War on the West
Yesterday, the entire Jewish community of Sweden went on lockdown as authorities said they were conducting a manhunt for a suspect who was believed to be planning a terrorist attack on Jewish targets. Meanwhile in Marseilles, France, three persons who claimed to be ISIS supporters assaulted a Jewish teacher. He was stabbed after being subjected to anti-Semitic taunts. In some ways, this was business as usual for European Jews. Reports of anti-Semitic incidents have gone up this year since the massacre of patrons at a Parisian kosher market in January by the same murderers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attack. But in the wake of the mass slaughter in Paris on Friday, these events take on an even more sinister tone. While ISIS’s war against the West involves indiscriminate attacks on all those who don’t follow their creed, Jews are always particular targets of Islamist violence. But what is just as troubling is the fact that in assigning blame for Paris and for anti-Semitic outbreaks, European elites are blaming the most convenient scapegoat: the Jews.
That’s the upshot of recent comments from Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom and Jan Marijnissen, the head of the Dutch Socialist Party, who both blamed the Paris attacks on Israel because of the frustration and despair of the Palestinians. They aren’t the first to make such remarks as such scapegoating of Israel and the Jews has become commonplace among Western European academics, artists as well as some politicians. Their willingness to use this moment to pile on in this manner at this particular moment is particularly distressing because it is helping to incite even more violence against Jews. But it also stems from a profound misunderstanding not only about Islamist views but also about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Here are five key points about ISIS, the Palestinians, Israel and the Jews that are at the heart of this delegitimization that doubles as incitement to violence.
France asks UN to authorize 'necessary measures' against ISIS
France asked the UN Security Council Thursday to authorize countries to "take all necessary measures" to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) group after the jihadists claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.
A draft resolution presented to the 15-member council called on UN member states to "redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts" committed by ISIS and other extremist groups linked to Al-Qaeda.
The French draft resolution does not provide any legal basis for military action and does not invoke chapter seven of the UN charter that authorizes the use of force.
French diplomats maintain, however, that it will provide important international political support to the anti-ISIS campaign that has been ramped up since the attacks in Paris on Friday that left 129 dead.
"The exceptional and unprecedented threat posed by this group to the entire international community requires a strong, united and unambiguous response from the Security Council," French Ambassador Francois Delattre said.
"This is the goal of our draft resolution, which calls on all member states to take all necessary measures to fight Daesh," he added, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
After Raid on ISIS Terrorists in Saint-Denis, French Security Chief Admits Using Israeli Counter-Terror Techniques
The head of RAID, the special ops French police unit that led Wednesday’s raid — in which the apparent ringleader of Friday’s devastating ISIS attacks was killed — said his unit’s latest counter-terrorism techniques were developed in part with help from Israel, Le Figaro reported on Thursday.
Speaking to the French newspaper about the raid in the northern Parisian neighborhood of Saint-Denis, which included gunfights, thrown grenades and a suicide detonation, RAID commander Jean-Michel Fauvergue said his unit “has used the experience of our foreign friends, including techniques used in Israel, but also in other countries.”
Fauvergue, five of whose officers were wounded in the 30-45-minute raid, mostly by flying shrapnel, said these techniques were to ensure the least possible damage when engaging potential suicide bombers.
RAID — which stands for Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence — was also the unit that stormed the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris last January, after an ISIS terrorist took it over and killed four people.
Two Australians among terror group arrested in Kuwait accused of supplying funds, weapons and rockets to Islamic State terrorists
Two Australians have been arrested in Kuwait after being accused of being members of an extremist network that supplied funds and weapons, including rockets, to Islamic State militants.
The cell's Lebanese chief confessed that he raised funds and provided logistical support for Islamic State, which has carried out deadly attacks in Lebanon and France in the past week, according to Kuwait's interior ministry.
He acted as coordinator for ISIS in Kuwait and arranged arms deals and FN6 portable air defence systems from Ukraine, which were shipped to IS in Syria through Turkey.
Marseilles Teacher Recounts Horrific Antisemitic Attack at Hands of ISIS Slashers
A day after he was attacked by three apparent ISIS supporters on the streets of Marseilles in southern France, Rabbi Tzion Saadon said he believes Israel is the safest place in the world for him and his family, Israeli Walla news reported on Thursday.
“The Jews in France feel like they’re being watched closely by Daesh,” said the 56-year-old history teacher at a local Jewish school, using another acronym for ISIS.
“The most secure place in the world is the land of Israel,” he said. “Perhaps we’ll make aliyah [immigrate to Israel], if God wills it.”
In fluent, French-accented Hebrew, the rabbi recreated for Walla the disturbing scene of three men attacking him on Wednesday night, based on his religion alone.
“I left the house yesterday at around 7 p.m.,” he recounted. “I encountered three guys on the road. They were wearing Daesh shirts. They asked me, ‘Are you Muslim or Jewish?’ I told them I’m Jewish, and then one of them said they wanted to kill me. He took out his cell phone and recorded me. Then, they started slashing me.”
Key Group of Democrats Aligned With House GOP to Help Pass Syrian Refugee Bill
In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Americans are looking toward their elected leadership for a way forward in the plan to defeat ISIS.
One of the plans put forward by the GOP-led Congress is to enhance security measures and to temporarily halt settlements for the incoming Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and to also require the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to perform individual background checks.
The White House has reported that President Obama has made it clear that he will veto the House-led legislation if it arrives at his desk.
From Fox News:
“Given the lives at stake and the critical importance to our partners in the Middle East and Europe of American leadership in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis … [Obama] would veto the bill.”

But even some Democrats are showing defiance towards the president’s strategy and are aligning themselves with the GOP on this particular issue.
The Blue Dog Democrats, who are more conservative-leaning, will back the legislation.
PM: Sweden has been 'naive' about terror threat
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has said his country is stepping up security measures after being "naive" about the possibility of a terror attack.
"Perhaps it's been hard for us to accept that in the middle of our open, democratic society there are people sympathizing with the Isil (Isis) killers," he told journalists at a press conference in Stockholm on Thursday afternoon.
The Social Democrat leader added that among the Swedes travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight for Isis there could be people who are also a threat to residents of the Nordic nation.
"It's completely unacceptable that people can take part in terrorism and return [to Sweden] without being held responsible," he continued.
However the Prime Minister suggested that his country was ill-prepared for the growth of Islamist extremism in the Nordics.
Swedish Jews close synagogues after terror threat raised
Synagogues across Sweden were closed down as a precautionary measure after Stockholm raised the country’s terror threat assessment level on Wednesday, the World Jewish Congress has announced.
Swedish authorities have said that they are hunting a suspect and had "concrete information" of a possible attack only days after ISIS terrorists killed more than a hundred people across Paris in a series of coordinated attacks. The biggest scene of carnage during the attack, the Bataclan Club, was, until recently, Jewish owned and the scene of many Israeli and community-related gatherings.
Security police (SAPO) chief Anders Thornberg said one arrest had been made "in absentia" for terrorism crimes for an unnamed suspect. He said there were no known links at present with the Paris attacks but the threat from Islamic State militants formed the backdrop to the raised risk level.
German Intelligence Chief: We Should Respond To Terror As Israel Does
After a soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled on Tuesday due to a bomb threat, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said that his country should respond to terror like Israel does, Ynet reported on Wednesday.
Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, observed in an interview on German television that Israel does not cancel public events in the face of terror threats.
Maassen said Germany must not surrender to ISIS’s terrorism. He noted that in Israel, soccer matches and concerts go on despite threats of terrorism….
Massen told German television that if ISIS will attack Germany if it can, and that’s his agency’s main concern, but that Germany has to avoid cancelling large public events in the face of these concerns. He said that a very serious tip that German intelligence received caused the cancellation of the match on Tuesday. He did not reveal what that tip was or comment on the reports that said it came from France.
Homage to replace Lyon's Festival of Lights
Officials announced on Thursday that they had cancelled Lyon's annual Festival of Lights - one of the biggest celebrations in France - after the tragic terror attacks in Paris. Instead the city will pay homage to the victims of the attacks.
The four-day event was scheduled begin on December 5th, with organizers expecting up to 3 million visitors.
Lyon mayor Gérard Collomb told the assembled media that the event would be replaced with a day of tribute on December 8th.
"For me, not putting Lyon residents at risk does not mean the terrorists have won," he tweeted later.
"There will still be thousands of lights on across Lyon. The whole city will be lit up," he told BFM TV.
Local prefect Michel Delpuech added that the event would have required a mobilization of police to the maxium level, which was simply unfeasible for a four-day period.
Pro-Israel Group Honoring Jon Voight Tightens Security Amid Terror Fears
Following last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, a pro-Israel awards gala set to honor actor Jon Voight in New York City this weekend is beefing up security.
According to the New York Daily News, the Zionist Organization of America received calls from concerned guests who were invited to attend Sunday’s Brandeis Awards dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown.
A number of guests reportedly feared the event could become a target for terrorists.
Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein told the Daily News the group had been in contact with law enforcement and would move forward with the event as planned.
“After internal discussions about whether or not to cancel the Brandeis Award dinner, we decided it was best to move forward as planned,” he said.
“This dinner is a time for friends and family to gather and celebrate another year of continued support for Israel,” he added. “We are confident that the dinner will go off without a hitch.”

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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