Latest Analysis and Commentary

Europe Declares War on the Internet

by Soeren Kern  •  December 17, 2014 at 5:00 am

"Spanish newspapers formed suicide pact, invited Google to pull the trigger. Google did." — Twitter user.

Spain's ailing newspaper industry, which is utterly dependent upon Google News search engine to drive traffic and revenues, is now at risk.

The spirit of the new law "is not really about compensation, but about extorting money from Google... The final result of the Google Tax: no one gets paid, media lose traffic and Internet users lose an important service. Spanish newspaper publishers should be thankful that an external agent drives readers to their publications for free." — Alfredo Pasqual, technology commentator.

Europe's obsession with Google may be more about anti-Americanism than anything else.

(Image source: Google)

The Internet giant Google has announced that it is shutting down its Google News service in Spain.

The move came in response to a new copyright law in Spain that would require Google and other news aggregators to pay Spanish publishers for linking to their content.

The Spanish law follows similar legislation in other parts of the European Union, where politicians are increasingly lashing out at Google over a host of complaints about antitrust, privacy and taxation issues.

Google has accommodated critics in some countries, but with Spain, the government appears to have completely overreached: Spain's ailing newspaper industry, which is utterly dependent upon Google News to drive traffic and revenues, is now at risk.

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Iraq: Iran's "Boots on the Ground"

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  December 17, 2014 at 4:00 am

The big winner politically in the multilateral effort to roll back the Islamic State's territorial gains is Iran.

Tehran has even established an unofficial "no go zone" in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran's most invidious influence, however, is possibly the widespread, invisible presence of agents from its Ministry of Intelligence [MOIS].

Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (middle, with white checked scarf), visits Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq, October 2014.

The U.S. may not want "boots on the ground" in Iraq, but Iran sure does. In Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran's military involvement in the Kurdish governorates of northern Iraq is multi-varied and on the increase.

Kurdish Rudaw T.V. has reported on Iran's support for Kurdistan's Peshmerga (military) campaign to regain villages lost to Islamic State [IS] jihadists this past summer. Rudaw T.V. even discussed the public visits of Iran's Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard's Qods Force, to the Peshmerga front line against the IS.[1]

According to a former Iraqi General of Military Intelligence, who paid a mid-November visit to Kurdistan, the big winner politically in the multilateral effort to roll back the IS's territorial gains is Iran.[2] General Saad al-Obaidi commented that without the presence of several pro-Iran Shia militias and Iranian artillery support, allied bombing raids against IS targets would have been for naught.

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The Name that "Does Not Matter"

by Douglas Murray  •  December 16, 2014 at 5:00 am

Naturally, no one would be responsible for their parents' choice of a name. Nor would they all be likely to emulate the men after whom they were named. But it would probably be reasonable to assume that the choice of names might be telling you something about whom large numbers of people in your country identify with. At least it would seem a question worth discussing.

If we were confident about most of the people involved going overwhelmingly the proud to-be-British way, then we would discuss it. But we aren't, so we don't.

The most popular name given to boys in the UK in 2014 was Mohammed. "So what?" Nothing to see here, please move on... (Image source: BBC video screenshot)

Last week the news arrived that the most popular name given to boys in the UK in 2014 was "Mohammed." The reactions and non-reactions to this story betrayed the deep unease and denial that are now part of the debate around Islam in modern Britain.

We have of course been here before. For some years now, there have been stories of "Mohammed" creeping up the list of most popular names in the UK. And each time the reaction has been similar.

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The Stubborn Antisemitism of Yahoo and The Christian Century

by Dexter Van Zile  •  December 16, 2014 at 4:00 am

Muslim and Arab hostility toward Israel and Jews was downplayed and ignored while Jewish wrongdoing was highlighted. Palestinian violence was depicted as an attempt to achieve sovereignty, and not as an attempt to deny the Jews their right to sovereignty. Palestinians' actions were explained; Israelis' actions were condemned.

When presented with evidence of James M. Wall's factual errors, the publication declined to correct them.

Eventually some people in mainline churches started to realize that these overtures were causing more damage to mainline Protestantism than they were to Israel.

The crimes of The Christian Century continue unabated.

Yahoo, the well-known search engine company, has apparently decided that an antisemitic website, Veterans News Now [VNN], is a credible news source. People who rely on Yahoo's news aggregator to view information about the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict will now find in their news feed links to articles published on this website, which traffics in Holocaust denial and displays articles that blame Israel for the attack against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. This scandal was exposed last week by Gilead Ini, a colleague at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America [CAMERA].

Yahoo should not be mainstreaming a website that posts like this. Moreover, it is not the only entity helping to make VNN look like a respectable website.

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UK: Hamas-linked Interpal Enjoys Mainstream Support

by Samuel Westrop  •  December 15, 2014 at 5:00 am

Peter Oborne's claim, that "it is almost impossible not to deal with Hamas... if you're a charity working [in the Gaza Strip]," is demonstrably untrue. First, scores of British charities operate there, but very few of their trustees find themselves starring in Hamas photo-shoots. Second, does having to "deal with Hamas" really include visits to the family homes and shrines of Hamas terrorist leaders?

Interpal partner Ramada Tamboura with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Muslim charities in Britain today, writes journalist and broadcaster Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph, "risk being reviled, smeared and branded a terrorist organization."

Oborne, the Telegraph's chief political commentator, believes one charity in particular, London-based Interpal, has bore the brunt of such mistreatment. Interpal, in Oborne's eyes, is a scrupulous humanitarian charity that has been relentlessly and unfairly targeted by Western governments, media outlets and Jewish groups.

In a lengthy puff-piece, Oborne decries "media speculation and a series of unsubstantiated and vicious allegations," which have led to Charity Commission inquiries, libel cases and financial restrictions -- "all of which have cleared [Interpal] of wrongdoing and misuse of funds."

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Ethnic Cleansing of Jews in Turkey
How a Population Dropped to Two

by Uzay Bulut  •  December 15, 2014 at 4:00 am

The real question is: Now that the ethnic-cleansing campaign of the Turkish regime has been "successfully" completed, and there are only two Jews left in Edirne, why is the governor of the city still so angry?

The sweet little secret in both Turkey and Europe is that anti-Semites do not need the existence of a Jewish state to attack or threaten Jews. Hatred of Jews did not start with the re-establishment of the state of Israel.

The truth is that those who carried out ethnic cleansing of Jews are the last persons who should whine about the non-existent Israeli "occupation." Israelis are not occupiers in Israel. Israel is the home of the Jews; you cannot be an occupier in your own home. Israel has the legal, moral and historical right to exist as a sovereign state.

A view of the Great Synagogue" of Edirne, from 2010. (Image source: Wikipedia Commons/Yabancı)

The latest anti-Semitic statement in Turkey was made on November 21 by Dursun Ali Sahin, the governor of Edirne, a city in Eastern Thrace. Governor Sahin announced that because he was angry at Israel, he would turn the city's synagogue into a museum. "While those bandits [Israeli security forces] blow winds of war inside al-Aqsa and slay Muslims," he said, "we build their synagogues. I say this with a huge hatred inside me. We clean their graveyards, send their projects to boards. But the synagogue here will be registered only as a museum, and there will be no exhibitions inside it."

In response to the uproar that followed, Governor Sahin phoned the Chief Rabbi of Turkey, Ishak Haleva, to apologize and, according to the newspaper, Salom, said his statements had been misunderstood and distorted by the media.

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Turkey and EU: The Kodak-Moment

by Burak Bekdil  •  December 14, 2014 at 5:00 am

The truth is, Turkey's longer-than-half a-century journey to full EU membership offers volumes of thick picture books full of similar smiling faces, most of them no longer alive. But both the club and the applicant know that Turkey has been dragged planets away from the EU in terms of culture and socio-politics. Turkey is sometimes even hostile to Europe.

While the Europeans wasted their time in self-deception – that Turkey's Islamists were in fact pro-EU, post-Islamist reformers – Turkey was implementing a plan to turn into, not a member of, but a Muslim challenge to what its leaders privately view as a hostile "Christendom."

Turkey, under Islamist rule, has keenly pretended that it wants EU membership, while in reality deeply disliking "Christian" culture; and the EU leaders have pretended that Turkey would one day join the club, while knowing that it would not.

Where Europe meets Turkey. Posing in this December 8 photo are, from left to right: Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations; Volkan Bozkır, Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs; Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. (Image source: EU)

Judging from fancy, Kodak-moment photos that appeared in the press over the past week as well as related statements from European Union [EU] and Turkish bigwigs, one could be tempted to think that things are coming up roses between Ankara and Brussels. Facts, as often, are quite different from what smiling faces and repeated optimism reveal.

On Dec. 6, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, accompanied by nine Turkish cabinet members, visited his Greek counterpart, Antonis Samaras, in Athens, where the leaders of these traditional Aegean rivals happily glossed over major differences and expressed support for closer relations.

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Germans Rise Up Against Islamization

by Soeren Kern  •  December 13, 2014 at 5:00 am

There is a mounting public backlash over what many perceive as the government's indifference to the growing influence of Islam in German society. This backlash represents a potentially significant turning point.

Despite efforts by German politicians and the media to portray PEGIDA as neo-Nazi, the group has taken great pains to distance itself from Germany's extreme right. The group says that it is "apolitical" and that its main objective is to preserve what is left of Germany's Judeo-Christian culture and values.

"Many people in Germany have legitimate concerns about the spread of radical Islamic ideology, which promotes violence against non-Muslims, robs women and girls of their natural rights, and seeks to require the application of Sharia law.... Because the rule of law, tolerance and freedom of religion are fundamental Western values, the PEGIDA movement must leave no doubt that it is precisely these values that it seeks to defend." — Bernd Lucke, leader, Alternative for Germany Party and professor of macroeconomics, Hamburg University.

PEGIDA on a Monday "evening walk" in Dresden, November 10, 2014. (Image source: Filmproduktionen video screenshot)

Thousands of German citizens have been taking to the streets to protest the growing "Islamization" of their country.

The protests are part of a burgeoning grassroots movement made up of ordinary citizens who are calling for an end to runaway immigration and the spread of Islamic Sharia law in Germany.

The guardians of German multiculturalism are fighting back: they are seeking to delegitimize the protesters by branding them as "neo-Nazis" and by claiming that the Islamization of Germany is a myth contrived by misinformed citizens.

But there is a mounting public backlash over what many perceive as the government's indifference to the growing influence of Islam in German society. This backlash represents a potentially significant turning point—one that implies that the days of unrestrained German multiculturalism may be coming to an end.

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Palestinians Flee Hamas, Ask Israel to Imprison Them

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  December 12, 2014 at 5:00 am

"I'm sad that I'm back in the Gaza Strip. I went through happy times [in Israeli detention], where I had food, calm, good work, although I did not receive a salary. Those were unforgettable days where I had delicious food that we don't have in the Gaza Strip." — Rabi, 16, who crossed the border from Gaza and was held in detention for three months before being sent back home.

Not only is Hamas unwilling to accept any kind of responsibility, but it continues to hold everyone but itself responsible for the tragic situation n the Gaza Strip.

Instead of working to improve the living conditions of its people, Hamas is continuing to prepare for the next war against Israel. In recent weeks, Hamas increased its rocket and mortar firing tests out to sea.

An explosion rocks the Egyptian side of the Gaza-Egypt border, as the Egyptian military continues a campaign to battle terrorists and destroy smuggling tunnels, November 2014. (Image source: Reuters video screenshot)

Palestinian youths prefer to spend time in Israeli prison than to live in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Over the past two months, more than 20 Palestinians have been arrested while trying to cross from the Gaza Strip into Israel, according to Palestinian sources. A number of Palestinians have also been killed or wounded during their infiltration attempts.

The increase in the number of Palestinians who try to infiltrate Israel comes as Egypt continues to keep the Rafah border crossing closed. It also comes as the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah intensifies, hampering international efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip and improve Palestinians' living conditions in the aftermath of last summer's military confrontation with Israel.

The situation has become so miserable in Gaza that some Palestinian youths are prepared to endanger their lives by approaching the border with Israel.

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Kurdistan: Waiting to Be Born

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  December 12, 2014 at 4:00 am

The regimes of Turkey, Iran, and Syria all have large Kurdish minorities, and apparently do not want Kurds within their states to seek either autonomy or union within an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, and view an independent Kurdistan as both diluting regional powers and as a possible ally for Israel

The Kurdistan Regional Government parliament chamber in Erbil. (Image source: KRG)

ERBIL — There is a sense of unity throughout Iraqi Kurdistan. The two political rivals, which have controlled Kurdistan's politics for decades, appear to have "buried the hatchet" deep enough to withstand any continuing differences over policy and tribal interests. The Kurdistan Democratic Party [KDP], which represents the Barzani Clan, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK], which represents the Talabani Clan, remain well represented in the parliament with the KDP controlling 38 out of 111 seats and the PUK 18.[1]

There is little public mention of this past rivalry; here, clan-centered local politics seems to have been replaced by a grander vision of a future independent Republic of Kurdistan. The only major decision regarding this future development is the question of the proper timing for the declaration. There are, however, a few variables that may delay the birth of this new, non-Arab state in the Middle East.

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Turkey "Improves" Education

by Burak Bekdil  •  December 11, 2014 at 5:00 am

Members of Turkey's National Education Council last week did not discuss Turkey's extremely poor PISA rankings, or improving the curriculum in mathematics and science. Instead, a pro-government teachers' union proposed making religion a required course in pre-school.

Turkey's response to the European Court of Human Rights, which vehemently told Ankara to scrap all compulsory religious education, was to introduce Islamic teaching to six-year-olds.

Another casualty was the "human rights and democracy" classes that Turkish fourth-grade students must take.

Turkey's President (then Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan participates in a celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the religious "Imam Hatip" school system, January 2014. (Image source: Türkiye Gazetesi)

Systematic Islamist indoctrination in Turkey is becoming less stealthy.

Education is the new battlefield. Turkey's government is pushing to advance its declared policy goal of "raising devout (Muslim) generations."

In 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] released the findings of its prestigious education report, the "Program for International Student Assessment" [PISA], which experts view as the world's most comprehensive education survey. PISA assesses the extent to which 15-year-old pupils from 65 OECD member nations have acquired key knowledge and skills in mathematics, reading, science and problem-solving (the PISA survey covers 510,000 students worldwide.)

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Will Sweden Soon Reverse Recognition of Palestine as a State?

by Peter Martino  •  December 11, 2014 at 4:30 am

As many Swedes have grown sick and tired of a political elite giving in to Islamic demands, it is generally expected that the anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats, will do well in the next elections.

It takes some time before voters realize what is going on, but in the end, they invariably do.

The public face of the Sweden Democrats is charismatic party leader Jimmy Åkesson (right).

Last week, after having been in office for exactly two months and one day, Sweden's government collapsed. Apart from the Palestinians, hardly anyone will regret the fall of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's government. The only thing Löfven's cabinet will be remembered for is its slamming of Israel by recognizing the Palestinian state.

Following last September's general elections, Mr. Löfven, a Social-Democrat, formed a minority government of the Social-Democrats and the Greens. Immediately after its formation, the Red-Green minority coalition recognized "Palestine."

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Raping and Beheading the Faithful
Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2014

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  December 10, 2014 at 5:00 am

This is the third church in Muslim-majority East Jerusalem to be forced shut in recent years.

"You think all men are equal... Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become victims of the enemy you have welcomed into our home." — Archbishop Amel Shimoun, Exiled Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Iraq.

As usual, after filing a complaint about a gang rape with the local police, her family received threats of more violence. "In Pakistan, rape is used as an instrument of arbitrary power over Christian girls... It is a form of violence that wants to reiterate the submission to Muslims. The rest of society is not outraged because the victims mostly belong to religious minorities. Rarely rapists are punished." — Sardar Mushtaq Gill, lawyer, Pakistan.

American Pastor Saeed Abedini's young children have submitted a video to President Barack Obama pleading with him to being their father safely home from Iranian prison. "Now we understand that ISIS members in the prison have said that he is their number one target."

Around 45 churches in Mosul... were destroyed and converted into mosques.

Iranian-American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012, is pictured here with his family in happier times.

Muslims beheading Christians was a visibly growing spectacle throughout the month of August. Islamic State [IS] militants cut off a Christian man's head—after compelling him to say the shehada, the Islamic profession of faith, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger." When the shehada is spoken before Muslim witnesses, the speaker becomes Muslim and thus, in theory, safeguards his life and possessions from the jihad. Not so for this hapless man, who, after renouncing his Christian faith for Islam, was still slaughtered on camera (graphic video can be viewed here).

The Christian Post has the story:

A Christian man in Syria recently had his head brutally hacked off by Islamic militants after being forced to deny his faith and salute Mohammed as "the messenger of God".

The incident was caught on video for the world to see and broadcast as a warning to "everyone like him".

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Statement of Geert Wilders during His Interrogation by the State Police

by Geert Wilders  •  December 9, 2014 at 5:00 am

As a democratically elected politician I name the problems that I see.... That is my duty. That is why I have been elected. I rely on objective facts and figures.... Because they are the truth.

I do not intend to hurt or offend people either... Already for over 10 years, I have lost my personal freedom.

In my fight for freedom and against the Islamization of the Netherlands, I will never let anyone silence me. No matter the cost, no matter by whom, whatever the consequences may be.

To speak with the words of Martin Luther King: "I close by saying there is nothing greater in all the world than freedom. It's worth going to jail for. It's worth losing a job for. It's worth dying for."

Geert Wilders during his March 2014 speech, where he asked "Do you want more or fewer Moroccans?" (Image source: nos.nl video screenshot)

The Hague, December 8, 2014.

Today, Dutch parliamentarian and PVV leader Geert Wilders made a statement during his interrogation by the Dutch State Police. The State Police interrogated Mr Wilders on behalf of the Dutch Public Prosecutor, who is considering to prosecute Mr Wilders because the politician had asked his voters during the election campaign whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.

Our freedom is being threatened. Threatened by a violent totalitarian ideology – Islam – that brings with it death and devastation. Threatened by a politically correct elite that does not tolerate criticism of Islam and mass immigration, and that nurtures cultural relativism.

I rise up against this.

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Britain's Unrequited Love

by Douglas Murray  •  December 8, 2014 at 5:00 am

Willing to be endlessly open and hospitable, Britain finds itself at a loss when that hospitality is neither respected nor returned.

It is worth asking why British Muslims should have their scripture represented in the coronation of the new monarch, when many will not even pray in their mosques for the well-being of that monarch. Including passages from the Quran in the coronation is a mistake because of the old problem of reciprocity — and at the same time as no Christian (let alone a Jew) can even set foot in Mecca. Then what about also representing Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and atheists?

In synagogues in the UK, British Jews every week in their service have a prayer for the long life and happiness of the Queen. It is a moving and heartfelt moment, not to mention a clear signal that Jews in Britain are utterly loyal to the state. So why should British mosques not have a similar prayer? Because many Muslims in Britain simply do not share the good Lord Harries's kindness, tolerance, inclusivity or indeed liberalism.

What is the answer? Perhaps bit more kindness, a bit more generosity, the offering up of a few more of our treasured traditions. That will do it, we think, surely?

British coronations, then and ... now? Left: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Right: Prince Charles, son of Elizabeth and heir to the throne, demonstrating his inclusivity and multicultural credentials during a recent visit to Saudi Arabia -- a country not known for "inclusive hospitality," especially in the realm of religious freedom.

The tradition of liberal tolerance, fostered in Britain, was one of the greatest gifts this country gave to the world. That inclusive tradition of John Locke and John Stuart Mill, however, always leaves itself open to abuse by people willing to use liberalism's flaws — not least its tolerance of intolerance — to end liberalism.

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