Latest Analysis & Commentary

Who Checks the Fact-Checker?

by Peter Huessy  •  July 30, 2014 at 5:00 am

The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler not only invents points the Cheneys did not make, he then casually dismisses "uncomfortable points" they did make. How many Pinocchios is that worth?

Kessler evidently assumes that when intelligence assessments differ, the correct version is only that which differs from the points made by the Cheneys but not by their critics.

Most senior Democratic members of the Senate at the time voted -- twice -- for giving the President the authority to take down Saddam Hussein. How else can Democrats say they made a mistake voting for the war if they cannot now make the case that they were "fooled"?

The U.S. took down Saddam Hussein's regime because on balance the threat-intelligence could not be ignored.

Dick and Liz Cheney, appearing last month on Fox News to discuss Iraq. (Image source: Fox News video screenshot)

A recent article in the Weekly Standard by former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Liz Cheney, noted that there was sufficient evidence prior to the 2003 liberation of Iraq that Saddam Hussein might coordinate terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its interests.

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Beheadings of Infidels, Halal Sex Products and "Muslims Don't Like Dogs"
A Month of Islam in Europe: June 2014

by Soeren Kern  •  July 29, 2014 at 5:00 am

The Vatican failed in an attempt to cover up the contents of a prayer by a Muslim cleric at an interfaith "Prayer for Peace" service held in the Vatican garden on June 8. Departing from a pre-approved script, the imam recited verses 284-286 of Sura 2 from the Koran, the latter part of which calls on Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims.

Danish police raided a mosque in the Vibevej district of Copenhagen after a passerby allegedly saw weapons being carried into the complex.

"We now have hundreds of jihadists and thousands of sympathizers. This naïve Cabinet's inaction is inviting an attack in the Netherlands." — Geert Wilders, Dutch Freedom Party.

Conference attendees called on the Spanish government to sponsor an official study aimed at finding ways to bring European food standards into compliance with Islamic Sharia law.

The Dutch-Turkish jihadist known as Yilmaz is one of about 130 Dutch jihadists who have travelled to Syria.

Austria accused Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of stirring up trouble on June 19, when he urged thousands of cheering supporters in Vienna to reject "assimilation."

Erdogan was rallying support for his candidacy ahead of Turkish presidential elections in August, and expatriate Turks have become a significant bloc of voters after changes to the electoral system now allow them to cast votes abroad.

Around 268,000 people of Turkish origin live in Austria, according to government figures, of whom nearly 115,000 are Turkish citizens.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who had expressly warned Erdogan not to undermine efforts to integrate Turks into Austrian society, criticized the latest comments:

"These show very clearly that the Turkish premier has brought the election campaign to our country and created unrest with this. We reject this. And I can only say that respect for a host country looks clearly different."

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And Now... Europe's Kristallnacht

by Douglas Murray  •  July 28, 2014 at 5:00 am

They carried banners saying, "Stop Israeli State Terror," but some went off-message, deciding, apparently, that it did not matter if their targets were Israelis or not.

In the Netherlands, fresh from a pro-ISIS rally in Amsterdam, the home of the Chief Rabbi -- not Israeli, just Jewish -- was attacked twice in one week.

We live in a rightful disgust for racism of any kind. And yet here we see -- and nowhere more clearly than in Germany -- the new racist nightmare for Europe.

Scenes from Europe, July 2014: Left, an anti-Israel protestor in London holds up a sign saying "Hitler you were right". Right, one of a group of anti-Israel thugs who stormed a soccer field in Austria assaults a player from the Israeli team Maccabi Haifa.

The backlash in Europe against Israel has been underway since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. In each country the protests have similarities. And in each they are spear-headed by the same motives and often by the same people.

In London the protests have been dominated young Muslims with the usual smattering of far-left fellow-travellers. They have carried Socialist Worker Party banners saying "Stop Israeli State Terror." But some went off-message, apparently deciding it did not matter if their targets were Israeli or "just" Jews. There have also been the predictable banners comparing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Adolf Hitler. Others have a more confused relationship with this sinister conflation. One young protestor was photographed at a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in London with a poster saying, "Hitler you were right!" Elsewhere the protests have spilled over into occasional outbursts of violence.

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Grooming Jihadists

by Samuel Westrop  •  July 28, 2014 at 4:30 am

"These boys were groomed [at the Al Manar Centre] ... so that they are satisfied that what they go to do is right ... once they're groomed, all it takes is someone to say come and I'll take you." — Source close to the Yemeni Community, Cardiff, U.K., as reported in The Telegraph.

All these preachers share one thing in common: they are favorites of the two leading government-subsidized Salafi charities in Britain.

Saudi Islamist preacher Muhammad al-Arifi (right) at an iERA stall in London

The British government, on June 26, banned Sheikh Mohammad Al Arifi from entering the United Kingdom, after reports in the British media linked the Saudi preacher to the radicalization of British youth now fighting for ISIS in Syria.

Arifi's sermons at the Al Manar Centre in Cardiff in particular, have been linked to the radicalization of three young British Muslims: brothers Nasser and Aseel Muthana and their friend, Reyaad Khan.

This ban demonstrates the British government's growing acceptance that Islamist preachers actually do play an important role in driving Muslim youth toward terrorism.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Mohammad Al Arifi denied the charges and voiced condemnation for those who incite Muslims to fight in Syria. His denial, however, was clearly at odds with his earlier declarations. In 2010, Arifi stated in a television broadcast that:

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How the Media Is Helping Hamas

by Bassam Tawil  •  July 27, 2014 at 5:00 am

"We know that Hamas uses human shields. But why would you report this when you are sitting in the middle of the Gaza Strip, surrounded by Hamas gunmen?" — Reporter covering the war, who asked not to be identified.

Besides the human shields story there is another item that the international media choose to ignore: the extrajudicial execution of Palestinian "collaborators" during the last two weeks. The executions were reportedly carried out in the most brutal manner. Hamas has also been shooting suspected "collaborators" in the legs to prevent them from moving around.

It is the media that is helping Hamas get away with war crimes.

This photo from October 2013 shows a gallows constructed by Hamas in Gaza, prepared for an execution. (Image source: Gaza Interior Ministry)

Hamas and its Palestinian and Western propagandists continue to insist that the Islamist movement does not use civilians in the Gaza Strip as human shields during war. But the truth is that Hamas itself has admitted that it does use innocent civilians as human shields, to increase the number of casualties and defame Israel in the eyes of the international community.

This admission, however, has, of course, gone unnoticed by most Western journalists and analysts reporting on the war in the Gaza Strip. Many Western journalists in the Gaza Strip choose to ignore the fact that Hamas is forcing civilians to serve as human shields. They also seem to ignore the fact that senior Hamas officials and militiamen have found shelter among civilians and in hospitals, especially Gaza City's Shifa Hospital. Is it really a coincidence that Hamas spokesmen gave interviews to the Arab and Western media from the premises of Shifa Hospital? Why hasn't anyone even noted it as odd?

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Paris's Kristallnacht

by Guy Millière  •  July 26, 2014 at 5:00 am

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

Almost all French politicians adopt an attitude of appeasement toward the enemies of Israel and Jews. They act as if they did not see that the hate speech that France finances in the Middle East is now spreading throughout France itself.

No major French television report speaks of Hamas's genocidal Jew-hatred or of the use of Arab women and children as human shields. Criticizing radical Islam on public television is now almost impossible. Members of the Israeli government are never interviewed on French television.

French politicians know that 70% of all the inmates in French prisons are Muslims, and that these prisons have been transformed into recruiting centers for jihadists.

A crowd in front of the Don Isaac Abravanel Synagogue in Paris during the "anti-Israel" riot of July 13, 2014.

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

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

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

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

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Hamas Mega-Attack Planned through Gaza Terror Tunnels

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  July 25, 2014 at 9:30 am

IDF Excavation of the tunnels has resulted in the seizure of tons of Hamas supplies as well as the discovery of plans for future operations.

An IDF paratrooper officer emerges from a Hamas cross-border tunnel that his unit discovered, July 20, 2014. (Image source: IDF)

Hamas had apparently been preparing a murderous assault on Israeli civilian targets for the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 24, according anonymous sources in the Israeli security services, as reported today by the Israeli daily Maariv.

The Hamas plan consisted of what was to be a surprise attack in which 200 fighters would be dispatched through each of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel, and seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians.

Israeli soldiers already frustrated a surprise assault by Hamas through one tunnel from Gaza into the Eshkol district of Israel on July 19. The Hamas fighters escaped back into the tunnel, but the clash cost the lives of two Israel Defense Force [IDF] troops.

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There Must Not Be a Ceasefire

by Denis MacEoin  •  July 25, 2014 at 5:00 am

Even in its weakest moments, would Britain have risked a cease-fire with Nazi Germany during World War II -- knowing that Hitler habitually broke his promises?

In this photo posted to Twitter by The Wall Street Journal's Nick Casey (and since deleted), a Hamas spokesman uses a room in Gaza's Shifa Hospital for a filmed interview, while seated in front of a huge photo of a bomb crater. The Washington Post has also reported on the hospital as "a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices."

With their usual mixture of human rights concern and hypocrisy, several countries have stepped into the fresh Israel-Gaza conflict by demanding a cease-fire. Egypt has played an important role in this demarche; Hamas has turned down flatly all the conditions on which Egyptian President al-Sisi insisted. How far the war will go still hangs in the balance. As Israeli ground forces now fight with Hamas in their tunnels and bunkers, over 600 Palestinians (largely made up of men of fighting age) have died[1], as well as over 32 Israelis.

The international pressure from all sides for a ceasefire is widening and intensifying. Of course, what a ceasefire amounts to, as it has before, is to give Hamas a second chance. And a third and a fourth — whatever is needed for them to achieve their clearly stated goals of wiping Israel from the map, and then Jews.

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War "Statistics": The New York Times Deceives Again

by Gil Lavi  •  July 25, 2014 at 4:00 am

It is the very power of numbers, graphics and photographs that makes them compelling ways to prove a point, and lousy ways of explaining what is really going on.

Creating compelling clickbait in the form of infographics is a disturbing trend in news today. But that is not "all the news that is fit to print;" that is propaganda.

The New York Times "Daily Tally" infographic is seriously misleading, its numbers devoid of all context. (Image source: Screenshot of nytimes.com)

The "Daily Tally" in the New York Times, a casual-sounding infographic, presents a side-by-side count of casualties and missiles in Gaza and Israel. Although it is ostensibly one of the clearest representations of violence, it is seriously misleading.

War photography can be powerful, moving, and shocking; and data to prove a point can be reassuring, if often falsely. It is the very power of numbers, graphics, and photographs that makes them at the same time compelling ways to prove a point, and lousy ways of explaining what is really going on.

During World War II, it is estimated that 378,000 German civilians were killed in British air raids, compared to only 62,000 British civilians killed in German air raids. Knowing this, however, does little to help understand the nature of the conflict.

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UN probe of Israel will only encourage Hamas war crimes

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  July 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Richard Goldstone destroyed his career by producing the discredited 2009 report for the "United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict", which had no evidentiary support. (Image source: (UN/Jean-Marc Ferre)

There you go again," as Ronald Reagan said to Jimmy Carter. Once again the United Nations Human Rights Council has voted – with the United States dissenting – to conduct a so-called "investigation" of Israel's military responses to Hamas's double war crimes. Once again Israel will have to decide whether to feed the kangaroos that make up this court by cooperating with yet another phony investigation whose outcome is predetermined. Yet again Israel is presented with a Hobson's choice: If it refuses to cooperate, it will blamed for denying the investigatory commission relevant information; if it cooperates it will lend credibility to a conclusion that has already been reached.

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Hamas's Absurd War against Israel

by Salim Mansur  •  July 24, 2014 at 5:00 am

What we are witnessing is Israel engaged in a struggle against Hamas, against Palestinians, against Arabs, against Muslims, and against an expanding body of opinion in the West that is less and less inhibited from displaying the rancid anti-Semitism behind its support for those who openly call for another Holocaust for the Jews.

Gaza was returned to the Palestinians in 2005 as a test for building trust.

This verse [31:27 ] means that no one Muslim should claim that he has a monopoly over the reading of the Quran, for that would amount to reducing the majesty of God to the smallness of man.

The sound of battle is louder than the call to prayer.

Chaim Weizmann, a Zionist leader and future President of Israel (L), meets with Emir Feisal in 1918.

When a few years ago I travelled to Israel, I had the specific purpose in mind of making my own pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Looking back on that summer of 2010, Israel was enjoying an interlude of uncertain peace. More than a year earlier, in December 2008-January 2009, the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] had been sent into Gaza to disarm Hamas because of their launching rockets into Israel; then two years later, in November 2012, the IDF went back into Gaza again for similar reasons.

As I watch with people across the world, the IDF has once more been reluctantly forced into military action to stop Hamas from firing hundreds of rockets capable of reaching deep inside Israel, I shall try to go beyond simple and easy condemnations of the brutality of wars and ritualistic sympathy for its victims.

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Why Abbas Endorsed Hamas Demands

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  July 24, 2014 at 4:30 am

Evidently Abbas has reached the conclusion that unless he hurries up and declares his support for the Palestinian "resistance" in the Gaza Strip, his people will march on his office and force him to quit. Abbas's fear of a revolt has driven him into the open arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Another reason for the unexpected change in Abbas's policy might be the promise of financial aid he received from Qatar -- an enemy of Egypt's al-Sisi, but the largest funder of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Abbas know that if he wants to survive, he will have to be on the side of the radicals.

Mahmoud Abbas (r) meets with the Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar, July 20, 2014. (Image source: Handout from the Palestinian Authority President's Office/Thaer Ghanem)

Until recently, Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas was very critical of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for their refusal to accept the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel.

But now Abbas appears to have made a 180-degree turn and has even endorsed the conditions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for a cease-fire.

The shift in Abbas's position became evident after he visited Doha, Qatar, where he held separate talks with Emir Tamim bin Thani al-Hamad and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

Prior to his visit to Doha, Abbas was in Cairo, where he met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and discussed with him ways of ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

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How selective body counts incite more violence

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  July 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The media has obsessively counted every dead body in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. They rarely explain why so many more Palestinians than Israelis have been killed: Hamas does not allow Palestinian civilians into their shelters, while using civilian areas from which to fire their rockets; Israel, on the other hand, devotes its resources to building shelters and Iron Dome protection. Put another way, while Israel uses shelters and Iron Dome to protect its civilians, Hamas uses its civilians to protect its rockets and its terrorists. A widely circulated cartoon makes this point effectively:

Recently, supporters of Hamas have argued that to say that Hamas uses civilians as human shields is a manifestation of racism and an attempt to dehumanize Palestinians. But it is Hamas' own leaders who have long boasted of this tragic reality. Listen to Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council:

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The U.S.-Israel Alliance: No Apologies Necessary

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  July 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

There is no change in U.S policy toward Israel that will win any true allies in the Middle East, despite what Arab leaders claim. They often assert that if only we would solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem first, relations would improve. This is a tactic. These leaders employ it simply to divert Western officials from making demands on them, instead of on Israel. The reality is that most Arabs view the U.S., its European allies and Israel with ineradicable contempt.

A test launch of the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile defense system, jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel. (Image source: United States Missile Defense Agency)

Remember the commentaries after 9/11 that "we should have been expecting something like this"? Some even implied that America was, in part, responsible for the attacks because of our one-sided policy toward the Muslim world, and in particular, "our support for Israel's occupation of Palestinian land."

Remember also, though, the news reports about the cheering and dancing in Palestinian Arab neighborhoods on 9/11? Perhaps these celebrations resembled the high-fives and other macabre gestures of glee made by some Palestinian Arabs following the recent kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers in Gush Etzion, near the ancient Judean city of Hebron.

Guilt-riddled apologies for America's alliance with Israel can only be explained by ignorance, by disingenuous attempts to curry favor with Arabs, or for some, by a darker motivation.

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Has Hamas ended the prospects for a two state solution?

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  July 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Hamas's decision to fire rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport may well have ended any real prospect of a two-state solution. Whether the regulators and airlines that have stopped flights to and from Israel are right or wrong, this stoppage cannot possibly be tolerated by a democratic country that relies so heavily on tourism and international travel. It is of course a war crime to target an international civilian airport, as Hamas has clearly done. Israel has every right to keep that airport open, employing all reasonable military means at its disposal. Since Hamas fires its rockets from densely populated civilian areas, there will be more Palestinian civilian deaths.

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