Latest Analysis and Commentary

Christians Who Demonize Israel - Part II

by Denis MacEoin  •  February 9, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • It is commonly repeated by Palestinians that there were never any Jews in the Holy Land before the 19th century and that the first and second Jewish Temples never stood in Jerusalem. Not only do these claims fly in the face of over a century of archaeological work and the records of Greek, Roman and other historians in antiquity, they flatly contradict and annul the texts of both the Old and New Testaments. By their own rejection of Jewish rights in Israel, Christians unwittingly repudiate their own rights and history.

  • Christians in St Thomas Church did not once criticize or deplore the Palestinian glorification of violence, this delight at the murders of children, this dancing in the streets when innocent throats are cut.

  • Is it the Christian thing to demand that hospitals and doctors across the globe should refuse to use Israeli medicines or surgical devices or advanced medical equipment? Would Christians who work with bodies like Christian Aid call on countries damaged by natural and man-made calamities to ban Israeli aid teams?

  • Abandoning Israel will not soothe the hearts of the Palestinian people or make the Christians less vulnerable -- as we are now seeing from the throat-slittings and mass displacements throughout the Middle East, done not by Jews but by Muslim fanatics.

St Thomas The Martyr Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (left) recently hosted an event in which a Kairos leader advocated a boycott of Israel. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

(See also Part I: Christians Who Demonize Israel: Kairos)

Christians make up only some 1.5% of the Palestinian population. They live in an overwhelmingly Muslim atmosphere and are, given the threats they face from Muslim extremists, naturally loath to express a Christian narrative that differs from the dominant Palestinian narrative, which openly rejects many fundamental Christian beliefs. It is commonplace for Palestinians to express denials of history. Thus, it is repeated that there were never any Jews in the Holy Land before the 19th century and that the first and second Jewish Temples never stood in Jerusalem. Not only do these claims fly in the face of over a century of archaeological work and the records of Greek, Roman and other historians in antiquity, they flatly contradict and annul the texts of both the Old and New Testaments.

Continue Reading Article

Turkey and Israel: A Loveless Date

by Burak Bekdil  •  February 9, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • "Writing anti-Israel speech on the wall of a synagogue is an act of anti-Semitism," Ivo Molinas, editor-in-chief of Salom.

  • Turkey's ruling Islamists have systematically nurtured and exploited anti-Semitic sentiments.

  • The architects of Turkish anti-Semitism will now have to use the same propaganda machine they used to fuel anti-Semitism to diffuse it, if they want a sustainable courtship with their old Jewish friends.

Which way will Turkey go on Israel? Left: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then Prime Minister) shakes hands with then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, on May 1, 2005. Right: Erdogan shakes hands with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on January 3, 2012.

There is official evidence and credible speculation that Turkey and Israel may be on the brink of a historic handshake. Some say that it may be a matter of weeks, some speak of a couple of months before old friends, new foes, Turkey and Israel, will befriend each other once again. Probably until they become foes once again.

Ankara and Jerusalem look like two teenagers being forced into an unwilling date by their classmates, friends, foes and schoolteachers, and also because they feel alone and threatened; not because they feel even halfheartedly warm toward one another. They are nervously, grudgingly going on their date.

Continue Reading Article

Iran Infiltrates the West Bank

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  February 8, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • "The Patient Ones," Al-Sabireen, are seeking Palestinians as a group to become an Iranian proxy in the region, and redoubling efforts to eliminate the "Zionist entity" and replace it with an Islamist empire.

  • Loosed from its sanction-based constrictions, Iran is now free to underwrite terror throughout the region. This is precisely what is happening in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Iran's infiltration of the West Bank should serve as a red flag not only for Israel, but also for the U.S. and other Western powers. An Israeli pullout, leading to a Hamas takeover of the West Bank, has been a subject of concern. Now, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians are wondering if such a vacuum will provide an opening for Iran.

Al-Sabireen's Gaza commander, Ahmed Sharif Al-Sarhi (left), was responsible for a series of shooting attacks on Israel before he was fatally shot in October 2015 by IDF snipers along the border with the Gaza Strip. The Iranians are also believed to have supplied their new terrorist group in the Gaza Strip with Grad and Fajr missiles (right) that are capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

Emboldened by its nuclear deal with the world powers, Iran is already seeking to enfold in its embracing wings the Arab and Islamic region.

Iran's capacity for intrusions having been starved by years of sanctions. Now, with the lifting of sanctions, Tehran's appetite for encroachment has been newly whetted -- and its bull's-eye is the West Bank.

Iran has, in fact, been meddling for many years in the internal affairs of the greater region. It has been party to the civil wars in Yemen and Syria, and, through the Shiite Muslims living there, continues actively to undermine the stability of many Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The lives of both the Lebanese and the Palestinians are also subject to the ambitions of Iran, which fills the coffers of groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

Continue Reading Article

The Real Cost of Nuclear Deterrence

by Peter Huessy  •  February 8, 2016 at 4:30 am

  • North Korea used both the Agreed Framework and the NPT as camouflage to cheat and proceed with its covert nuclear weapons program. Nuclear weapons are apparently an integral part of North Korea's strategy eventually to reunify the Korean peninsula under North Korean communist rule.

  • According to Hwang Jang-Yop, highest-ranking North Korean defector in history, North Korea's goal is to remove American military forces from South Korea. Once that withdrawal is achieved, the North would use its nuclear arsenal to deter Japan and the U.S. and prevent these two key South Korean allies from coming to the defense of the South once the North invades it.

  • Arms control, since the height of the Cold War, has cut both the U.S. and Russian strategic deployed arsenals by nearly 90% and thus can hardly be described as part of any "arms race" that might have compelled North Korea to build nuclear weapons.

  • The idea that the U.S. deciding to replace aging nuclear systems, some half-century after the last modernization, is somehow perpetuating an "arms race" is without foundation.

Kim Jong Un, the "Supreme Leader" of North Korea, supervises the April 22 test-launch of a missile from a submerged platform. (Image source: KCNA)

"Military critics" are already anticipating how to disembowel critical elements of the U.S. military -- especially its aging nuclear deterrent -- when the defense budget will be unveiled by the administration and sent to Congress February 9, 2016. In two recent essays, for instance, Gordon Adams, previously at the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration, and Lawrence Korb, at the Center for American Progress, are both calling for dismantling the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

Korb has long claimed that nuclear deterrence itself is obsolete. He blames U.S. nuclear modernization plans for providing an excuse for North Korea to test and build nuclear weapons of their own. It is an echo of Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick's 1984 warning that when things go wrong in the world, many critics of American policy will "always blame America first."

Continue Reading Article

Middle East Strategic Outlook, February

by Shmuel Bar  •  February 7, 2016 at 6:00 am

  • The EU-Turkey agreement of 25 November, which provided Turkey with 3 billion euros over two years in order to stop the flow of refugees to Europe, has not achieved that goal. Speaking privately, EU officials complain that Turkey has not taken any concrete measures to reduce the flow of refugees. In our assessment, Turkey will continue to prevaricate on steps to stem the flow of refugees as pressure on the EU to give more concessions.

  • During the coming year there will certainly be further terrorist attacks that will push European public opinion further to the right.

  • We assess that Iran will continue in indirect channels with a parallel nuclear program, realized long before the 10-year target of the JCPOA.

  • The demand for unification of Kurdistan -- Iraqi and Syrian -- will also begin to be heard. It is highly likely that Russia will take advantage of the trend and support the Kurds, effectively turning an American ally into a Russian one.

The Iranian seizure of two US Navy patrol boats on January 12 underlined the sense of immunity that Iran has achieved.

The announcement by the IAEA that Iran has fulfilled its obligations according to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has triggered "Implementation Day" and the removal of the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. The JCPOA, however, did not deal with Iran's ballistic missile program, and the sanctions related to it are still nominally in force. These sanctions are minor and will not have any real effect on the Iranian missile program. The missile program will mature during this period and will include Ghadr missiles with ranges of 1,650-1,950 km, which may be capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Continue Reading Article

Islam's Sword Comes for Christians
Muslim Persecution of Christians, December 2015

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  February 7, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • "It was very difficult above all when they said, 'Become Muslim or we'll cut your head off.'" — Rev. Jacques Mourad, Syriac Catholic priest, Syria.

  • "The only reason they [Muslim authorities] let you go is when they torture you to death.... They don't want you to die in prison, it's not their responsibility, so they send you home to die." — Helen Berhane, gospel singer, Eritrea.

  • "[I]f they fear that people are offended by being surrounded by Christian symbols, then perhaps those [Muslim] people applied for asylum in the wrong country." — A speaker for the Progress Party, Norway, on being asked to remove crosses from Christian camp sites to accommodate Muslim asylum seekers.

In December 2015, a Christian cemetery in Kirkuk, Iraq was vandalized. Crosses and tombstones were broken, and graves opened.

Hostility for Christmas was on full display. On Christmas Day, Muslims in Bethlehem, as documented here, set a Christmas tree on fire and greeted the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem with a hail of stones; in Belgium, Muslim "refugees" set fire to a public Christmas tree; in Nigeria, Muslim jihadis attacked churches during Christmas mass and killed at least 16; in the Philippines, on Christmas Eve, Muslim jihadis slaughtered 10 Christians to "make a statement;" in Bangladesh, churches skipped Christmas mass, due to assassination attempts on pastors and death threats against Christians; in Indonesia, churches were on "high alert," with 150,000 security personnel patrolling; in Iran, Christians celebrating Christmas in homes were arrested; and three Muslim countries -- Somalia, Tajikistan, and Brunei -- formally banned any Christmas celebrations.

Continue Reading Article

Trump's Ban on Muslims: The Discussion the Media Won't Have

by Salim Mansur  •  February 6, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • Trump's call to ban the entry of Muslims to the U.S. seemed to indicate that it should be temporary, until the American leadership has figured out what in the complex reality of the Muslim world – religious, political, economic, cultural, and so on– contributes to turning a significant portion of Muslims into jihadi operatives at war with the United States.

  • Despite numerous terrorist attacks carried out by extremist Muslims inside the United States, Americans have not turned against their Muslim neighbors; on the contrary, Americans and Europeans in general have continued to be accommodating, tolerant, even protective, of Muslims in their midst, in keeping with their secular and liberal democratic values.

  • Americans have watched the unabated spread of terrorism and warfare in the name of Islam; the intensity of hatred in Muslim countries directed towards the United States; the attacks on Americans by extremist Muslims, and the betrayals by Muslim countries that have been receiving American assistance, such as Pakistan.

  • The elite in Muslim-majority states is mostly, if not entirely, responsible for the wretched state of affairs that has left those states at the bottom of the list of countries when measured in terms of economic development, human rights, gender equality, education, freedom and democracy.

  • For the elite in third world societies, a getaway to America has meant a readily available exit to avoid being held accountable for their misdeeds.

  • Herein lies the irony of a Trump's proposed ban: it would greatly affect the Muslim elite and, consequently, compel them to begin taking responsibility for how they have mismanaged their societies and impoverished their people.

A few days after the San Bernardino massacre carried out by jihadists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik (left), Donald Trump (right) called for "a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our representatives can figure out what is going on." (Trump photo by Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons)

On December 7, 2015, U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign released a press statement calling "for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our representatives can figure out what is going on." He was publicly saying what an increasing number of Americans over the years have apparently begun to think about Muslims and Islam in terms of the "clear and present" danger to their security and their country.

A press release explained the reason for the ban:

"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims (sic) of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."

Continue Reading Article

Facebook's War on Freedom of Speech

by Douglas Murray  •  February 5, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • Facebook is now removing speech that presumably almost everybody might decide is racist -- along with speech that only someone at Facebook decides is "racist."

  • The sinister reality of a society in which the expression of majority opinion is being turned into a crime has already been seen across Europe. Just last week came reports of Dutch citizens being visited by the police and warned about posting anti-mass-immigration sentiments on social media.

  • In lieu of violence, speech is one of the best ways for people to vent their feelings and frustrations. Remove the right to speak about your frustrations and only violence is left.

  • The lid is being put on the pressure cooker at precisely the moment that the heat is being turned up. A true "initiative for civil courage" would explain to both Merkel and Zuckerberg that their policy can have only one possible result.

It was only a few weeks ago that Facebook was forced to back down when caught permitting anti-Israel postings, but censoring equivalent anti-Palestinian postings.

Now one of the most sinister stories of the past year was hardly even reported. In September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook at a UN development summit in New York. As they sat down, Chancellor Merkel's microphone, still on, recorded Merkel asking Zuckerberg what could be done to stop anti-immigration postings being written on Facebook. She asked if it was something he was working on, and he assured her it was.

Continue Reading Article

Sweden: Death by Immigration

by Ingrid Carlqvist  •  February 4, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • The atmosphere on Swedish social media is now almost revolutionary. People post videos of themselves accusing the government of murder, of filling Sweden with violent people.

  • When Alexandra Mezher was murdered, she was alone in the residence with ten asylum seekers. She was stabbed by one of the "children" she cared for.

  • When National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson appeared on the "Good Morning Sweden" TV show, the day after Mezher's murder, he expressed sympathy for the murderer, but barely mentioned the victim. This sparked frenzied outrage on social media.

Alexandra Mezher (left) was murdered in the home for "unaccompanied refugee children" where she worked. She was stabbed to death by a resident who claims to be 15 years old and from Somalia. When National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson (right) spoke on television about the murder, he expressed sympathy for the murderer, but barely mentioned the victim.

Mass immigration is continuing to claim victims in Sweden. Murder, assaults and rape have become everyday occurrences in this small country, with a population just short of ten million, which last year opened its doors to almost 163,000 immigrants. The latest victim is 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher. She was stabbed to death last week by a so-called unaccompanied refugee child at the asylum house where she worked.

Although the massive influx of asylum seekers has decreased drastically since January 4, when Sweden implemented border controls on the Swedish/Danish border, the people who are already here pose a giant problem to municipalities, police and citizens. The police are fighting a losing battle against street crime, as well as daily incidents at asylum houses – general disturbances that include fights, rapes and threats.

Continue Reading Article

Turks' Unrequited Love for Palestinians

by Burak Bekdil  •  February 4, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • The flag the Turkish prime minister proudly witnessed while being hoisted at the United Nations is an inspiration of the flag used by the Arab Palestinian nationalists in the first half of the 20th century, which was the flag of the 1916 Arab Revolt against Prime Minister Davutoglu's beloved Ottoman Empire.

  • In his speech, Abbas did not forget to "convey our best wishes to our beloved Armenian brothers in Palestine, in Armenia and in the entire world," and invited Armenian President Serzh Sarghsyan "to visit Palestine and we hope he will accept the invitation."

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (pictured left with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and right with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal) now finds his affection and emotional support for the Palestinian cause unrequited.

Although it came as no surprise, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in his weekly parliamentary group speech last December, spoke like a Palestinian politician, not a Turkish one:

"The most oppressed people of the 20th and 21st centuries is the Palestinian people ... Our support will continue until Jerusalem becomes the capital of independent Palestine ... No one should doubt our devotion to the Palestinian cause ... We won't forget Palestine, Gaza, Jerusalem, not even in our dreams ... We do politics for this holy way."

He then narrated an anecdote:

Continue Reading Article

Who Can Believe Mahmoud Abbas?

by Bassam Tawil  •  February 3, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • As Hamas's power increases, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its security services are gradually losing their control of the West Bank.

  • Both the Israelis and the Palestinians know that if the PA falls, the best case scenario is that Hamas will take over the West Bank. The worst case scenario is a welcome mat for ISIS.

Eighty-year-old Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is regularly fêted and flattered by Western leaders such as France's President François Hollande (left) and top European Union officials like Federica Mogherini and Jean-Claude Juncker (right).

After Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas threatened yet again that he would end security coordination with Israel, not only has he not ended it, but -- luckily for him, as it turned out -- it is now stronger than ever. The Israelis, it seems, exposed two separate Hamas networks in the West Bank, both of them planning a mass-casualty attack on Israel and the destruction of the rule of Mahmoud Abbas.

Mahmoud Abbas's other threat, that he will dissolve the Palestinian Authority (PA), and force Israel to fill the resulting vacuum and incorporate its residents and territories into Israel, also turned out to be cow plop.

Continue Reading Article

Hamas: The "Merchants of War" Who Seek to Destroy Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  February 2, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • In the words of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the tunnels are being dug not only to "defend the Gaza Strip, but to serve as a launching pad to reach all of Palestine." As one can see from any map of Palestine, "all of Palestine" does not mean living in peace alongside Israel; it means supplanting Israel.

  • To its credit, Hamas has been refreshingly transparent about its ambition, the elimination of Israel. Hamas wants the Palestinians to continue living in misery and bitterness. It is fertile soil for jihad recruitment.

  • A Palestinian Authority-Hamas unity government would mean tunnels not only along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, but also from the West Bank into Israel.

  • Forever looming, of course, is the illusion that Abbas will be able to persuade Hamas to abandon its aim to destroy Israel.

In the words of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (left), the tunnels Hamas digs from Gaza into Israel (right) are not only to "defend the Gaza Strip, but to serve as a launching pad to reach all of Palestine."

The myth that Hamas uses tunnels to smuggle food and other necessities to the "besieged" Gaza Strip has been buried under the rubble of the tunnel that collapsed last week east of Gaza City.

The incident, in which seven members of Hamas's armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, were killed when the tunnel they were working in collapsed, provides further proof that the Islamist movement has stayed true to its charter, which calls for the total destruction of Israel.

The Hamas men who were killed in the tunnel collapse belonged to the movement's elite "Tunnel Unit." According to Ezaddin Al-Qassam, the men were busy repairing one of the tunnels (damaged during the 2014 war with Israel) when it collapsed due to severe weather conditions.

Continue Reading Article

Germany's Migrant Deportation Plan: "Political Charade"

by Soeren Kern  •  February 1, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • N24 television has reported that up to 50% of "asylum seekers" have gone into hiding and their whereabouts are unknown. They presumably include economic migrants and others who are trying to avoid deportation if or when their asylum applications are rejected.

  • Tens of thousands of migrants destroyed their passports and other identity documents before arriving in Germany. It may take years for German authorities to determine the true identities of these people and their countries of origin.

  • Even if Germany sends these individuals back to the countries where they first entered the EU (usually Greece, Hungary or Italy), with a borderless Europe, migrants can easily make their way back to Germany.

  • German authorities are downplaying migrant lawlessness, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiment.

  • Migrants are still coming to Germany at the rate of about 2,000 per day.

  • "Eight to ten million migrants are still on the way." – Development Minister Gerd Müller.

Left: A new poll shows that nearly half the Germans want Chancellor Angela Merkel to resign because of her open-door migration policy. Right: Interpol has data on 250,000 stolen or lost Syrian and Iraqi passports, including passports that are blank.

After three months of political infighting, Germany's coalition government has announced new measures aimed at making it easier to deport migrants who are convicted of committing crimes.

The measures emerged in response to voter outrage over the sexual assaults of hundreds of women by migrants in Cologne and other German cities on New Year's Eve — and alleged attempts by the government and the news media to cover up the crimes.

Known as the Asylum Package II (Asylpaket II), the draft law was announced by the cabinet on January 28 and must now be approved by the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, for it to come into effect.

A central feature of the plan involves increasing the number of migrant reception centers to five, up from two today. The centers would supposedly fast-track legitimate asylum requests submitted by people who can prove they are fleeing war-zones.

Continue Reading Article

Mideast Christian Suffering, U.S. Denial

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  January 31, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • Escaped eyewitnesses have reported that ISIS places Iraqi and Syrian Christians in cages or coffins and sets them on fire.

  • ISIS persecution of Christians "fits the definition of ethnic cleansing." — Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial.

The Syriac Orthodox Church of St. Ephrem in Mosul, Iraq, before if the captured by the Islamic State (left), and after.

When a 1,400-year-old Iraqi Christian monastery was destroyed by the Islamic State (ISIS) most of the world condemned the demolition -- except for spokesman for the U.S. military's Operation Inherent Resolve, Col. Steve Warren.

"Thousands [of Iraqi Christians] have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee," said CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview with Col. Warren the other week. "There is legitimate fear -- you're there in Baghdad -- that the long history of Christians living peacefully, productively in Iraq, is coming to an end. How worried should we be about the Christian community in Iraq?"

Col. Warren's response: "Wolf, ISIL doesn't care if you're a Christian ... We've seen no specific evidence of a specific targeting towards Christians."

Continue Reading Article

Will Democracies Combat Terror?

by Jagdish N. Singh  •  January 31, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • Many extremist Islamic groups are still shielded by states such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. These countries have so far not severed their links, overt or covert, with these outfits.

  • The United States and other members of the free world need to take corrective measures not only against terrorist groups but also against the states that sponsor them.

  • Washington, in its relationship with Tehran and Islamabad, among others, is on the wrong track. Its approach towards a rogue Iran is not likely to "bring it in from the cold," but to embolden it even further in its various terror activities the world over.

In 2014, this photo of Muslim ISIS supporters in India's Tamil Nadu state went viral on Twitter.

Sadly, major world powers, including the United Nations, have not appeared serious about fighting terrorism or the Islamic State (ISIS, IS) or similar terrorist groups.

UN Security Council Resolution 2170 (August 15, 2014) called on member-states to take "national measures to prevent fighters from traveling from their soil to join the IS and deny it any arms or financial support. The resolution also "expressed readiness to consider putting on the sanctions list those who facilitated the recruitment and travel of foreign fighters."

Continue Reading Article