Latest Analysis and Commentary

Jerusalem, Israel's Capital: Watch the Masks Fall

by Najat AlSaied  •  December 15, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • When the actual announcement came, nothing happened. Those who were exploiting sensitivities related to Jerusalem -- especially political Islamists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah -- come mainly from the axis of resistance, led by Iran.

  • While mainstream media shows the oppressor to be Israel and the oppressed to be the Palestinians, the polls tell a different story.

  • The US Department of State is no less culpable than the mainstream media in failing to play a more vital role in revealing these realities, which could also mitigate the anger and hatred felt towards the US. This Department needs to be reformed from top to bottom to ensure that all diplomats are truly working for US interests. I am sure that it is the Department of State itself that will be the most reluctant to move its embassy to Jerusalem. It is not an exaggeration to say that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem is the best decision that has been taken by any American President because it lays bare a rotten reality.

The Harry S Truman Building in Washington, DC, headquarters of the US Department of State. (Image source: Loren/Wikimedia Commons)

Many analysts say that US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a campaign promise to evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters, but there is another way of looking at it. Trump's recognition might be a golden opportunity for two-faced opportunists to be unmasked -- a shot of reality that might eventually help the peace process and solve this long-lasting conflict.

Since the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, many Arab observers, intellectuals and academics have started to question the veracity of those jihadists who claim they are sacrificing themselves to defend Jerusalem, because when the actual announcement came -- nothing happened. Those who were exploiting sensitivities related to Jerusalem -- especially political Islamists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah -- come mainly from the axis of resistance, led by Iran.

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Think the Alabama result has derailed Donald Trump? Think again

by John R. Bolton  •  December 15, 2017 at 3:00 am

President Donald Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018, at the White House, December 12, 2017. (Image source: The White House)

Pundits are furiously assessing the broader consequences of the Democrats' upset Senate victory in Alabama on Tuesday, but there is less there than meets the eye. True, the Republican Senate majority now hangs by a thread, forcing even harder fights for every legislative victory.

Nonetheless, Republican chances for major gains in November 2018, perhaps six or seven Senate seats, remain strong. Moreover, Democrat 
Al Franken is resigning his seat any day now because of sexual misconduct charges, bringing another totally unexpected Republican opportunity.

Of course, any statewide Democratic victory in Alabama is stunning, but there were also stunning reasons for it. Republican Roy Moore was a flawed candidate even before allegations of sexual misconduct emerged – and he still lost by just one percentage point.

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How Many Muslims in Europe? Pew's Projections Fall Short

by Soeren Kern  •  December 14, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Pew's baseline estimate of the number of Muslims currently in Europe — the estimate upon which its future projections are calculated — has been undercounted by at least five million Muslims.

  • The UCIDE figures — which posit that there are roughly 750,000 more Muslims in Spain today than the estimate proffered by Pew — are widely recognized in Spain as the most accurate assessment of the Muslim population in that country. It remains unclear why Pew failed to mention the UCIDE report in its source appendix.

  • In Germany, Pew "decided not to count" the one million plus Muslim asylum seekers who arrived in the country in 2015/2016 because "they are not expected to receive refugee status."

  • The Pew report entirely ignores the key issue of how Europe will integrate tens of millions of Muslim migrants whose values — including anti-Semitism, polygamy, female genital mutilation and honor violence — cannot be reconciled with those of Europe's Judeo-Christian and liberal-democratic heritage.

(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Europe's Muslim population is set to double — and possibly triple — between now and 2050, according to new projections by the Pew Research Center.

The projections, contained in a report, "Europe's Growing Muslim Population," confirm what has long been common knowledge: decades of declining European birthrates, coupled with mass migration from the Muslim world, are fast-tracking the Islamization of Europe.

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Palestinians: Arab Rulers are Traitors, Cowards

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  December 14, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • The decision to boycott a visit later this month by US Vice President Mike Pence comes in the context of absorbing the anger of the street. Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have also made it clear that they no longer consider the Trump administration an "honest" and "unbiased" broker in any peace process with Israel. As such, the Palestinian Authority leadership announced that it will reject any peace plan proposed by the Trump administration, even if the plan gains the support of Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

  • The Palestinian strategy now is to work hard to thwart any peace plan coming from the Trump administration. The Palestinians are convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Arab leaders are cooking up a new "conspiracy" behind their backs -- with the aim of "liquidating" the Palestinian cause by imposing an acceptable solution on them. This, of course, has nothing to do with Trump's announcement on Jerusalem. This has been the Palestinian position even before Trump made his announcement, and it is unlikely to change after.

  • The question now is: How will the Arab regimes respond to this latest charge of fratricide leveled against them by their Palestinian brothers?

Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have made it clear that they will reject any peace plan proposed by the Trump administration. Pictured: Abbas speaks during the U.N. General Assembly on September 20, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

Once again, the Palestinians are disappointed with their Arab brothers.

A declaration of war on the US, in the Palestinians' view, would have been the appropriate response to US President Donald Trump's December 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

For the Palestinians, the anti-US demonstrations that took place in some Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Iraq and Lebanon were a welcome development.

But the protests have evidently failed to satisfy the appetite of the Palestinians, who were banking on the Arab heads of state and governments to take more drastic measures against the US.

The Palestinians are not expecting the Arab and Islamic armies to march on the White House or bomb New York and Los Angeles.

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Islamic Terrorism vs. Political Correctness

by A. Z. Mohamed  •  December 14, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Religion (in this instance, Islam) plays a smaller part in what makes terrorists tick than "the [human] need for... personal significance... Especially when it comes to violence that is shunned by most religions and most cultures, you need validation from a group of people that would then become your reference group. So the group component is very important, particularly when it comes to antisocial activities that are forbidden or shunned...." — Arie W. Kruglanski, distinguished professor of psychology at the University of Maryland and former co-director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

  • It seems as if many analysts gloss over the role of Islamic teachings -- the Quran, the Sunna, and fatwas -- by minimizing them while highlighting matters such as the need for personal significance and validation. By minimizing the content of the Islamic literature, what they overlook is that Islamic teachings actually justify many activities that they would label antisocial.

  • The validation jihadists get from their reference group is mainly Islamic in words and meanings and that reference group has no significance without referring to the Islamic texts. What seems a universal dismissal or whitewashing -- intentionally or not -- of what is written in the texts, has become so prevalent, that it undermines our ability to recognize, let alone rectify, it.

  • Even relatively "moderate" Muslims, as hard as it is for a Westerner to comprehend it, deeply believe that we are here just for an insignificant instant, and that the really important life is yet to come in the afterlife.

Responding to findings of a recent study on what motivates both ISIS fighters and those who combat them, Arie W. Kruglanski -- distinguished professor of psychology at the University of Maryland and former co-director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism -- said:

"The ideology component addresses individuals' need to matter and feel significant. ... It tells people what to do, such as fight and make sacrifices, in order to gain respect and admiration from others."

Kruglanski, whose 2014 article, "Psychology Not Theology: Overcoming ISIS' Secret Appeal," argues that religion (in this instance, Islam) plays a smaller part in what makes terrorists tick than "the [human] need for ... personal significance." He added:

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Islamic Extremism: Who is Purest of Them All?

by Giulio Meotti  •  December 13, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • In the twentieth century, targets were churches and synagogues; today, they are churches, synagogues, mosques, temples -- wherever there is a faith, even a Muslim one, that these Islamic fundamentalists want to "purify".

  • Radical Islam has declared war on the pillars of the West: modernity, science, rationalism, tolerance, equality under the law, freedom of expression and the dignity of the individual, to name only a few. Many of these ideas are currently under threat in Western Europe.

  • Many Europeans might sentimentally think of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims pouring into Europe as "the new Jews" – even though their culture is virtually opposite to the Jews' -- but perhaps the Europeans should be aware that they have now forced the Jews to flee twice in the modern era.

  • Islamists are erasing civilizations. Is Europe's next?

Naser Khader, a Muslim dissident who is a Danish Member of Parliament, says "the radical Muslims are the Nazis of Islam". (Image source: Jyske Bank TV video screenshot)

The number of victims in the jihadist attack at a Sufi Mosque in Egypt has risen to 305 and is destined to rise even more. Inside this number there is another one, even more tragic: the 27 children murdered by Islamic terrorists. It has been not only one of the world's most sickening terror attacks since 9/11. It was, in intent, a genocidal attack aimed to erase a religion and a community from the face of earth.

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Locked up in the Islamic Republic of Iran

by Denis MacEoin  •  December 13, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • What is genuinely troubling was the way in which Robert Levinson's fate has been kept largely secret. The Iranian authorities have never revealed who captured him, who currently holds him, what charges have been laid against him, or even if he is still alive. And no effort has been made to negotiate his release, set a prison term, or work by the rules of international intelligence or diplomacy.

  • An Iranian revolutionary court charged Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, without the slightest evidence, of "plotting to topple the Iranian regime". This was done in a trial without a defence lawyer, without any details of her "offence", and ended in a sentence to five years in prison.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (left), a British-Iranian project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, travelled with her baby to visit her parents in Iran in 2016. She was arrested while preparing to board her flight back to England, and sentenced to 21 years in prison for "plotting to topple the Iranian regime". (Image source: MrZeroPage/Wikimedia Commons)

All of you will be familiar with articles on individuals who have been imprisoned, tortured, or even executed in several Muslim countries. Many such individuals are Iranians, imprisoned unjustly for their beliefs or actions that would be considered perfectly innocent or even praiseworthy in the West. Since the revolution of 1979, Iran has been not only the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, but also one of the world's most consistent human rights abusers. In Amnesty International's most recent (2016-2017) report on rights issues in the country, it listed abuses under numerous headings:

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Jihad Festering in America

by A. Z. Mohamed  •  December 13, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Saudi influence on American administrations, and relationships between senior officials in both countries, is behind Washington's ignoring Riyadh's "well-established... involvement in supporting terrorism and terrorist groups." — Report by the Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA), released on June 1.

  • The IGA report, covering the three-year period since then and including extremely serious charges against both Saudi Arabia and previous U.S. administration and security officials, indicates the urgency with which the current administration needs to treat the issue and act upon it.

(Image source: ISIS)

A new investigative report reveals that hundreds of Saudi and Kuwaiti nationals residing in the United States -- some with dual citizenship, and most students subsisting on government scholarships -- have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq during the past three years.

Titled "From American Campuses to ISIS Camps: How Hundreds of Saudis Joined ISIS in the U.S.," the report -- released June 1 by the Washington-D.C.-based think tank, The Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA) -- provides details of the flow of students leaving American institutions of higher learning to fight in the Middle East.

According to a 2016 working paper produced by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Saudi Arabia is the second-largest source of ISIS fighters from Muslim-majority countries, with an estimated 2,500. If the IGA report is accurate, a whopping 16% of these fighters were in the U.S. when they joined ISIS.

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Germany's Batty Plan to Deter Migrants

by Stefan Frank  •  December 12, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Every German knows that hardly any asylum seekers whose applications are rejected are forced to leave Germany. But if their application is rejected and they do decide to return to their home country, they are rewarded with an allowance of between €1000 ($1,200) and €3000 ($3,600).

  • This information campaign, however, must have been carefully hidden from the German public -- no major newspaper reported it at the time.

  • "The only authentic and honest thing about this movie were the closing credits...." — Henryk Broder, columnist, Die Welt.

A promotional video produced in 2014 by the German government shows the arrival of a fictional refugee from Iraq, with no mention of any obstacles or unpleasant situations; just smiling officials who have seemingly have been waiting just for him. (Image source: Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge)

The German foreign ministry has launched a website to discourage would-be migrants from making their journey to Germany: "Rumours about Germany: Facts for Migrants". It aims -- In English, French and Arabic -- to debunk "some of the most common false promises made by traffickers", such as:

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"Eurosion": Muslim Majority in Thirty Years?

by Giulio Meotti  •  December 12, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • Even if all current 28 EU members, plus Norway and Switzerland, closed their borders to migrants, the Islamic population will continue to exponentiate.... Today, it is an increase of six million in seven years. And tomorrow?

  • What will happen in major European cities, where the Muslim communities are currently based? Will London, Marseille, Stockholm, Brussels, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Birmingham all have Muslim majorities?

  • Under the "medium" and "high" projections in Pew's scenarios, how can Europe preserve all its most precious gifts -- freedom of expression, separation of church and state, freedom of conscience, rule of law and equality between men and women?

What will happen in major European cities, where the Muslim communities are currently based? Will London, Marseille, Stockholm, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin and Birmingham all have Muslim majorities? (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

One of the most debated arguments about Muslims in Europe is the "Eurabia" claim: that high birth rates and immigration will make Muslims the majority on the continent within a few decades. For years, most of the media and analysts dismissed the claim as alarmist and racist. "Dispelling the myth of Eurabia", sniffed a major Newsweek cover.

Not many had the courage to sound an alarm. The great Arabist scholar, Bernard Lewis, sent out a warning more than a decade ago that Europe would turn Muslim by the end of this century, and dissolve into "part of the Arab West, the Maghreb". The late scholar Fouad Ajami also cautioned that "Europe is host to a war between order and its enemies, fueled by demography"; and the Italian writer Oriana Fallaci imagined a continent with "the minarets in place of the bell-towers, with the burka in place of the mini-skirt". Mark Steyn explained that "the future belongs to Islam" with an "enfeebled" West in a "semi Islamified Europe".

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Trump's Jerusalem Declaration Long Overdue

by John R. Bolton  •  December 12, 2017 at 4:00 am

In 1948, the United States, under President Harry Truman, was the first country to recognize the modern state of Israel upon its declaration of independence. (Image source: Harry Truman Library/Wikimedia Commons)

President Trump's announcement Wednesday that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was both correct and prudent from America's perspective. Much more remains to be done to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but this was a vital first step.

What is now critical is implementing Trump's decision. Will the State Department actually carry out the new U.S. policy — which State's bureaucracy strongly opposed — or will the entrenched opponents of moving the embassy subvert it quietly by inaction and obfuscation?

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President Trump: The Courage to Act

by Douglas Murray  •  December 11, 2017 at 5:30 am

  • The reaction around the world in recent days has been a reminder of the one central truth of the whole conflict. Those who cannot accept that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel tend to be exactly the same as those who cannot accept the State of Israel.

  • Trump comes out of the whole situation well -- taking on a promise that his three predecessors made, but on which only he had the courage to act. Those who have most forcibly criticised him, on the other hand, have shown something weak, as well as ugly, about themselves.

Following President Trump's historic and commendable announcement on the status of Jerusalem last week, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May chose to berate Trump. Pictured: PM May, on January 27, 2017 addresses the media in Washington, DC alongside President Trump. (Image source: 10 Downing St./Flickr)

President Trump's announcement on the status of Jerusalem last week was both historic and commendable. Historic because it is the first time that an American president has not just acknowledged that the Israeli capital is Jerusalem but decided to act on that acknowledgement. Commendable for breaking a deceitful trend and accepting what will remain the reality on the ground in every imaginable future scenario. As many people have pointed out in recent days, there is not one prospective peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians in which Tel Aviv becomes the capital of the Jewish state.

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Firebombing Jewish Children in Sweden

by Bruce Bawer  •  December 11, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • On Friday night, an anti-Trump rally in Malmö drew about 200 people, many of whom shouted anti-Jewish remarks and threatened to "shoot the Jews."

  • Saturday's attack on the Gothenburg synagogue may have been immediately triggered by Trump's recognition of Israel's capital, but it is part of a pattern of persecution and savagery that has been in place, and that has been systematically ignored, denied or played down by the news media and public officials, ever since the Islamization of Western Europe began.

The synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden, which was firebombed on December 9. (Image source: Lintoncat/Wikimedia Commons)

On Saturday, December 9, masked men threw firebombs at a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden. The attack took place shortly after 10:00 pm, at a time when about thirty children and teenagers were attending a party at the Jewish Center adjoining the main building. When the assault began, the guards rushed them into the cellar, and finally allowed them to go home at about 11:30 pm. (Guards, of course, are a fixture at European synagogues these days.) A mother of one of the girls at the party received a text message from her daughter saying that she was scared and that there was a smell of gasoline.

Yes, in Western Europe, in 2017, a group of young Jews stood huddled in a basement, helpless, amid the gasoline fumes from firebombs. (It is not clear whether the people guarding them were armed, or why, facing the threat of a possible conflagration, they chose to send them into a cellar.)

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Bangladesh: Runaway Muslim Persecution of Hindus

by Mohshin Habib  •  December 11, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • If you want to root out a Hindu family from its ancestral home in Bangladesh, just accuse one of its members of insulting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. You will find thousands of Muslims rushing to burn the Hindu family's whole neighborhood down, without hesitation or evidence.

  • In a horrible twist, an investigation into the Facebook post that ostensibly sparked the riots revealed that the user who wrote the supposedly offensive comments was MD Titu, not Titu Roy.

  • Within 30 years, there will be no Hindus left in Bangladesh, based on "the rate of exodus over the past 49 years." — Dr. Abul Barkat, Dhaka University.

Hindu women stand beside the ruins of their home in Chittagong, Bangladesh, after it was destroyed by Islamists who attacked their community, in March 2013. (Image source: Mehedi Hasan Khan/Global Voices/Wikimedia Commons)

If you want to punish a non-Muslim, especially a poor Christian in Pakistan, point your index finger at him and utter the word "blasphemy." You will soon find thousands of Islamic hardliners beside you chanting, "Death to blasphemers!" Similarly, if you want to root out a Hindu family from its ancestral home in Bangladesh, just accuse one of its members of insulting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. You will soon find thousands of Muslims rushing to burn the Hindu family's whole neighborhood down, without hesitation or evidence.

Such behavior towards minorities -- Christians in Pakistan and Hindus in Bangladesh -- has become commonplace among fundamentalist Muslims in both countries, whose governments have surrendered to Islamists.

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Newsflash: Jerusalem Not on Fire!

by Bassam Tawil  •  December 10, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "More journalists than protesters..." — Björn Stritzel, German journalist.

  • Protests against Israel and the US are not uncommon on the streets of Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem. But for the "war correspondents," there is nothing more exciting than standing behind burning tires and stone throwers and reporting from the heart of the "clashes." Such scenes make the journalists look as if they are in the middle of a battlefield and are risking their lives to bring the story home to their viewers. They might even receive an award for their "courageous" reporting from danger zones!

  • Jerusalem is tense, and has long been so, because the Palestinians have not yet managed to come to terms with Israel's right to exist. That is the real story. The Palestinians rage and rage for only one reason: because Israel exists. Put that in a story and publish it.

A Palestinian man uses a slingshot to hurl stones at Israeli border police near Ramallah, on December 9, 2017. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Palestinians declared a three-day-long "rage" spree over US President Donald Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Thus far, however, it seems that the real anger is showing up in the international media, not on the Palestinian street.

Question: How many foreign journalists does it take to cover the Palestinian reaction to Trump's announcement? Answer: As many as the Israel-Palestinian-conflict-obsessed-West can manage to send.

The massive presence of the international media in Jerusalem and the West Bank has taken even the Palestinians by surprise. Since Trump's announcement on December 6, dozens of additional journalists and camera crews have converged on Israel to cover "the big story."

The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, once a favorite haunt of international reporters, is once again packed with journalists from around the world.

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