Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saddam Hussein's concept of justice

Sar Shalom

One of the many books covering the changes in Iraq from before to after Saddam Hussein's ouster is Joseph Braude's The New Iraq. Among the topics covered in this book is the rebuilding of Iraq's justice system in the post-Saddam era. In describing this task, Braude started with a description of Saddam's concept of justice. Rather than present an overriding theme, Braude presented an anecdote to illustrate how Saddam thought the courts should pursue justice.

Summarizing from my memory of having read it several years ago, one time, while Saddam was traveling, he got hungry and started looking for a food stand that would provide him with something to eat. One street vendor, on seeing him pass by, said "O Saddam, to whom I owe my life, let me provide you with something to eat." Saddam placed an order, which the vendor fulfilled. After being impressed with the meal he had had, Saddam asked the vendor if there was anything he could do to pay him. The vendor replied that it was enough that Saddam provided for his life. After much back-and-forth, Saddam finally got the vendor to open up that he had a dispute with someone in the courts. The courts resolved that this vendor would get what he wanted from the process.

There are some similarities in some counties in America when it comes to tort law. In particularly plaintiff-freindly counties, all that's needed to secure a favorable verdict is to demonstrate that the plaintiff was injured and some involvement of the defendant. In other counties, those that are defendant-friendly, any plaintiff who does not match the profile of the surrounding community has no chance to prevail, no matter what the facts are. Either way, facts are irrelevant, it is simply a matter of doing "justice," for the plaintiff in the former category and for the defendant in the latter.

Such is the case of how the international community pursues "justice" when Israel is involved. From their perspective, Israel is victimizing the Palestinians by expropriating the land that is "rightfully" theirs. Thus whenever a case comes up and there is an opportunity to ameliorate the suffering Israel "imposes" on the Palestinians, the attitude becomes "facts shmacts, do what is necessary to justify the result."

This phenomenon occurs in both official international fora, such as the ICJ, and in the international media. To take one of the most recent example from international fora, the UNHCR voted to investigate Israel's "crimes" in connection with Operation Protective Edge. For the UN, it was enough that Israel was attacking targets in Gaza and that innocents were dieing. What standards Israel should be compared against for target selection and precautions were irrelevant. After, "justice" has to be done for the Palestinians.

Similarly, in their coverage of Operation Protective Edge, the international media don't bother looking in to Israel's claims as to what is at the targets or comparing Israel's precautions against killing civilians to anyone else's precautions. It is simply a matter of doing "justice," and if a distorted picture leads people to be more interested in pursuing "justice," then that what is needed.

Join the American Red Cross!

Michael L.

red cross1On Sunday, July 27, United States House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), spoke with CNN correspondent, Candy Crowley, about the Obama presidency and its relationship with the Russians and the Israelis.  Toward the end of this conversation, after confirming Israel's security needs, Pelosi said the following:
We have to support the Palestinians and what they need. And we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization...
Needless to say, this raised the question of whether or not Pelosi considers Hamas, like the Red Cross, to be a "humanitarian organization."  It has to be noted, first and foremost, that Pelosi has been on record for a very long time recognizing Hamas as a terrorist organization.  There is no question but that Minority Leader Pelosi claims to oppose Hamas for the very same reason that all secular liberals should.

Hamas is an Islamist regime that, by definition, wants to see al-Sharia as the basis of government and, therefore, women treated as property, Gay people murdered outright on religious grounds, all non-Muslims subject to second and third-class non-citizenship within the system of dhimmitude, and Jews kept readily available for genocide.

{By the way, my favorite of the old-timey dhimmitude rules is the one that declared that Jews are not allowed to ride horses, only donkeys.  The purpose of the system, it must be understood, was not merely forced submission, but humiliation in the eyes of Allah.}

So, just why did Pelosi tell the American people that, according to Qataris, Hamas is a "humanitarian organization"?  Why repeat such utter nonsense to the American public?  If someone with Nancy Pelosi's stature says something like this on CNN to Candy Crowley it can cause millions of Americans to think that, well, maybe Hamas is, in fact, a "humanitarian organization."

In my surprise that representative Pelosi, my former representative in Washington D.C., made such a remark, I wrote a small piece on Israel Thrives entitled, Does Pelosi Think that Hamas is a "Humanitarian Organization".  

Here is a tid-bit:
Of course, one must wonder just what she was thinking, therefore, when she raised the point with Crowley, to begin with.  The clear and obvious implication is that Pelosi is sympathetic to that point of view. 
If this is the case it can only mean that Pelosi believes that a genocidal organization that calls specifically for the slaughter of the Jewish people can be a "humanitarian organization."  Either that or she is so woefully ignorant of the Middle East and Israel that she should very definitely remain silent on the matter.
Nancy Pelosi is the ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on Intelligence.  There is no possible way that she does not understand that Hamas is a terrorist organization.  In order to confirm this I wrote a note to Drew Hammill, Pelosi's Deputy Communications Director in Washington D.C. asking him to clarify that Pelosi does not believe that Hamas is a "humanitarian organization" and asking him why she would have raised the point to begin with on national television?

To Hammill's credit he responded in a timely manner and this is what he had to say:
As Leader Pelosi reiterated in her CNN interview, Hamas is a terrorist organization.  As also stated, she believes that in supporting a two-state solution, we must support Abbas, we must support Israel’s Iron Dome initiative and we must support the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians.  She also believes that engaging the Qataris, who refer to Hamas as a humanitarian organization and fund such needs, would put additional pressure on Hamas to stop the rockets attacks and destroy all tunnels.
I very much wonder about that final sentence because it raises more questions than it answers.

I have no reason to doubt the fine intentions of either Nancy Pelosi, or her staff, when it comes to the well-being of the Jewish State of Israel, but are we honestly to believe that Qatar is going to pressure Hamas to reign in the rocketeers and destroy the tunnels that threaten Jewish lives?

I told Mr. Hammill that I have nothing against representative Pelosi and that I would endeavor to be fair if I took up this conversation.  Well, I have taken it up and I do think that I am being fair.

Nancy Pelosi's office is telling us that Qatar might use its influence with Hamas to encourage them not to bomb Israel and to dismantle the terror tunnels.

Are we honestly supposed to believe that this is a credible position for the leading Democrat in the United States House of Representatives?

Given the fact that Qatar funds Hamas' efforts to murder Jews it is rather unlikely that it would use its influence to encourage Hamas not to murder Jews.  In fact, I feel reasonably comfortable in asserting that the very reason Qatar funds Hamas is precisely because Hamas is in The Jew Killing Industry.  The very point of Hamas' existence is to harass and murder the Jews of the Middle East, for the purpose of demoralizing them, while crying to the western-left that ZioNazi Imperial Colonialists are being mean to the bunny-like "indigenous" population.

I do not believe that Pelosi is malicious.

I suppose that what we are left with is either "shockingly naive" or "not really very intelligent."

I'll go with the former.

A Knesset Member Warns Europe

Michael L.

leave1In an article for the Algemeiner, Dave Bender tell us that before a contingent of ambassadors and other dignitaries from all over Europe former Shin Bet chief and current member of the Knesset under Kadima, Israel Hasson, said “If European countries fail to protect their Jews, the State of Israel will. Jewish blood is not cheap blood.”

That is quite a statement and it comes directly on the heels of the first French pogrom since World War II:
On Sunday a mob surrounded the Synagogue de la Roquette in Paris, trapping its occupants inside and fighting with security.

Three members of the Paris Jewish community ended up in the hospital, according to a witness.

“The attackers splintered off an anti-Israel demonstration and advanced toward the synagogue when it was full,” said Alain Azria, a French Jewish journalist who covered the event.

Azria said when the demonstrators arrived at the central Paris synagogue, the five police officers on guard blocked the entrance as the protesters chanted anti-Semitic slogans and hurled objects at the synagogue and the guards. He said nearly 200 congregants were inside.

“They were determined to enter and the police did not have enough forces,” he said.
Was Mr. Hasson serious in the idea that Israel would put boots on the ground in Europe to protect Jews?  Although I appreciate the sentiment, I find it rather hard to imagine.  Israeli military and intelligence forces have, of course, operated all over the world, but it is difficult to see just what Israel can do when an Arab and leftist mob forms in Paris and then targets a synagogue, with 200 Jews trapped inside, for violence.

Having said that, I would nonetheless encourage Israel to do what it reasonably can do to protect European Jewry.  Jews are on the run throughout the continent of Europe and, in my opinion, need to get the hell out of there.  I would recommend that European Jewry move to Israel and, if not Israel, then either the United States, Australia, or Canada.

Besides, Europe is being devoured from within by malicious Islamists that the Europeans were foolish enough to invite into their societies.  There is nothing wrong with inviting Muslims from the Middle East or North Africa to come live in Europe if they wish to integrate and become a harmonious part of European society.  Of course, what we are seeing is a general refusal, on a large part of the emigre population, to integrate.  Instead they insist upon Sharia courts and Sharia neighborhoods patrolled by Virtue Thugs and no-go zones for European police within some Muslim communities.

I say that now is probably a very good time for Jews to get out of Europe.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Join the American Red Cross!

Michael L.

red cross1On Sunday, July 27, United States House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), spoke with CNN correspondent, Candy Crowley, about the Obama presidency and its relationship with the Russians and the Israelis.  Toward the end of this conversation, after confirming Israel's security needs, Pelosi said the following:
We have to support the Palestinians and what they need. And we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization...
Needless to say, this raised the question of whether or not Pelosi considers Hamas, like the Red Cross, to be a "humanitarian organization."  It has to be noted, first and foremost, that Pelosi has been on record for a very long time recognizing Hamas as a terrorist organization.  There is no question but that Minority Leader Pelosi claims to oppose Hamas for the very same reason that all secular liberals should.

Hamas is an Islamist regime that, by definition, wants to see al-Sharia as the basis of government and, therefore, women treated as property, Gay people murdered outright on religious grounds, all non-Muslims subject to second and third-class non-citizenship within the system of dhimmitude, and Jews kept readily available for genocide.

{By the way, my favorite of the old-timey dhimmitude rules is the one that declared that Jews are not allowed to ride horses, only donkeys.  The purpose of the system, it must be understood, was not merely forced submission, but humiliation in the eyes of Allah.}

So, just why did Pelosi tell the American people that, according to Qataris, Hamas is a "humanitarian organization"?  Why repeat such utter nonsense to the American public?  If someone with Nancy Pelosi's stature says something like this on CNN to Candy Crowley it can cause millions of Americans to think that, well, maybe Hamas is, in fact, a "humanitarian organization."

In my surprise that representative Pelosi, my former representative in Washington D.C., made such a remark, I wrote a small piece on Israel Thrives entitled, Does Pelosi Think that Hamas is a "Humanitarian Organization".  

Here is a tid-bit:
Of course, one must wonder just what she was thinking, therefore, when she raised the point with Crowley, to begin with.  The clear and obvious implication is that Pelosi is sympathetic to that point of view. 
If this is the case it can only mean that Pelosi believes that a genocidal organization that calls specifically for the slaughter of the Jewish people can be a "humanitarian organization."  Either that or she is so woefully ignorant of the Middle East and Israel that she should very definitely remain silent on the matter.
Nancy Pelosi is the ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on Intelligence.  There is no possible way that she does not understand that Hamas is a terrorist organization.  In order to confirm this I wrote a note to Drew Hammill, Pelosi's Deputy Communications Director in Washington D.C. asking him to clarify that Pelosi does not believe that Hamas is a "humanitarian organization" and asking him why she would have raised the point to begin with on national television?

To Hammill's credit he responded in a timely manner and this is what he had to say:
As Leader Pelosi reiterated in her CNN interview, Hamas is a terrorist organization.  As also stated, she believes that in supporting a two-state solution, we must support Abbas, we must support Israel’s Iron Dome initiative and we must support the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians.  She also believes that engaging the Qataris, who refer to Hamas as a humanitarian organization and fund such needs, would put additional pressure on Hamas to stop the rockets attacks and destroy all tunnels.
I very much wonder about that final sentence because it raises more questions than it answers.

I have no reason to doubt the fine intentions of either Nancy Pelosi, or her staff, when it comes to the well-being of the Jewish State of Israel, but are we honestly to believe that Qatar is going to pressure Hamas to reign in the rocketeers and destroy the tunnels that threaten Jewish lives?

I told Mr. Hammill that I have nothing against representative Pelosi and that I would endeavor to be fair if I took up this conversation.  Well, I have taken it up and I do think that I am being fair.

Nancy Pelosi's office is telling us that Qatar might use its influence with Hamas to encourage them not to bomb Israel and to dismantle the terror tunnels.

Are we honestly supposed to believe that this is a credible position for the leading Democrat in the United States House of Representatives?

Given the fact that Qatar funds Hamas' efforts to murder Jews it is rather unlikely that it would use its influence to encourage Hamas to make nice with Israel.  In fact, I feel reasonably comfortable in asserting that the very reason Qatar funds Hamas is because Hamas refuses to make nice with the Jewish people.  The very point of Hamas' existence is to harass and murder the Jews of the Middle East, for the purpose of demoralizing them, while crying to the western-left that ZioNazi Imperial Colonialists are being mean to the bunny-like "indigenous" population.

I do not believe that Pelosi is malicious.

I suppose that what we are left with is either "shockingly naive" or "not really very intelligent."

I'll go with the former.

While global anti-Semitism surges, don't forget U.S. campuses

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

hammad1 Amid the current unrest in Israel and Gaza, Jews around the world have been targeted for attack. Virulently anti-Israel demonstrations and activities in cities across Europe and around the world have resulted in frightening anti-Jewish violence.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. right now, school is out and students are safe. But there is little doubt that when the academic year commences, Jewish students on American college and university campuses will be targeted for harassment, intimidation, bullying, and worse, solely because of their actual or perceived identification with the Jewish state.

First, let’s take stock of the global picture for Israel. In Paris, a synagogue was firebombed while hundreds of worshippers were inside. And in a Paris suburb, anti-Israel rioters torched a synagogue, Jewish school, businesses, and cars. In Berlin, demonstrators charged a Jewish couple and shouted “Jew, we’ll get you” after seeing that the man was wearing a yarmulke.

In the Netherlands, the chief rabbi’s home was attacked with stones twice in one week. In Turkey, the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul and the embassy in Ankara were attacked, and an Islamist close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Muslims to target the country’s 15,000 Jews and warned that Jewish tourists to Turkey would be attacked. In Morocco, a rabbi was bad-ly beaten in retaliation for Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza. In Australia, a Jew was punched by men screaming “Jewish dog” in Arabic as he walked in a Jewish neighborhood.

In Canada, at an anti-Israel rally organized by the President of the University of Calgary pro-Palestinian club, two Jewish women were kicked and punched by a large group of angry men, and portions of the crowd chanted “Kill Jews” and “Hitler was right.” In Los Angeles, Jews at a pro-Israel rally were assaulted with sticks wielded by four men waving pro-Palestinian flags. In Boston, Jewish students had to be extracted by police from a pro-Hamas rally, at which demonstrators chanted “Jews back to Birkenau.”
                                                                                           
Now back to American campuses. As we all know, the college campus is a hotbed for anti-Israel sentiment.  Is there any reason to believe that the global anti-Zionist surge won’t permeate U.S. campuses once the school year starts? This new flood of anti-Jewish sentiment will come to campuses already racked by the virulently anti-Israel actions of student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), whose members are often aided and abetted by anti-Israel faculty. Last semester alone, numerous Jewish students across the country reported feeling unsafe on their campuses. Here are their firsthand accounts:

At DePaul University: “This entire campaign and entire sit-in going on in the SAC (Schmitt Academic Center) is totally unsafe for Jewish students and I have had a lot of Jewish students text me and call me today and tell me they are not comfortable walking through that part of our campus, which is really disheartening… About two months ago when SJP started the ‘DePaul Divest’ campaign, I no longer felt safe on this campus and I no longer felt I could be a proud Jewish student.”

At New York University: “Being very straightforward, [the slipping of anti-Israel eviction notices under dorm-room doors by SJP members] made me feel targeted and unsafe in my own dorm room, and I know others feel exactly the same as myself.”

At the University of California, Los Angeles: “For myself and other Jewish and pro-Israel students, the atmosphere is poisonous. We feel attacked, ostracized, and threatened. Our identities are being rejected and our right to express our beliefs endangered. Our academic performance is being harmed unjustly; and our supporters are now targets of hate campaigns, baseless accusations, and unfair political and social retaliation.”

At the University of Michigan: “It was not just individual students who were the victims of violent threats and intimidation by pro-Palestinian forces. Student government representatives were similarly targeted and, most telling, called ‘kike’ and a ‘dirty Jew.’ Both CSG (Central Student Government) representatives and ordinary students were afraid to attend their classes because they felt unsafe.”

At Vassar College: “This year, SJP has made Vassar an unsafe environment for me and for other Jewish students. From their harassment of students participating in the spring break trip, to the Nazi incident and anti-Zionist rhetoric about ethnic cleansing that verges on blood libel, SJP has done everything in its power to make Vassar an unsafe space for Jews.”

Despite the clear and present danger for Jewish students on U.S. campuses, in most cases university administrators have been unwilling to address the problem, preferring instead to defend the freedom of speech or academic freedom of the student and faculty perpetrators. Moreover, Jewish students are well aware that hateful behavior which would never be tolerated by university administrators if directed at other minority groups is perfectly acceptable when directed against Jews, and they experience this blatant double standard as yet another form of anti-Jewish bigotry.

The vulnerability of Jewish students on U.S. campuses is further compounded by the unwillingness of the federal government to protect them from the hostile environment they are experiencing. Seth Galanter, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights who was responsible for dismissing several federal anti-discrimination complaints filed on behalf of Jewish students who were being severely harassed, intimidated, and bullied by their fellow students and faculty, has stated that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights will not even consider complaints in which “offensive conduct [is] based on an individual’s support for… the policies of a particular nation.” In other words, if Jewish students are being harassed because of their real or perceived identification with the Jewish state, no matter how severe the harassment—even to the point of physical assault—they cannot count on protection under federal anti-discrimination law.

In light of the alarming rise in global anti-Semitism and the unwillingness of university or government officials to protect Jewish students from campus-based anti-Semitic activity, it is fair to say that when Jewish students return to school in the fall, they will be the single-most vulnerable students on campus.

The Jewish community must act now. As university stakeholders—students, parents, alumni, donors, and taxpayers—members of the Jewish community and their supporters have every right to use their influence as consumers and funders to demand that Jewish students are protected from the growing scourge of Jew-hatred on U.S. college campuses.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin is a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization that combats anti-Semitism on college campuses.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Does Pelosi Think that Hamas is a "Humanitarian Organization"?

Michael L.

nancypelosiThere is something fundamentally wrong with the Democratic Party and the progressive-left in its understanding of political Islam.  They seem to have no historical understanding of the movement or where it comes from, nor any understanding of the extent or significance of its current activities throughout the Middle East.

This is true, however, only if we assume that the party and the movement actually oppose the rise of political Islam.

This is a shaky proposition, at best.

Today, much to my astonishment, CNN has published the transcript of a conversation between California congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi, and CNN correspondent Candy Crowley.

In this transcript Pelosi says this:
We have to support the Palestinians and what they need. And we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization...
It is a rather unusual conclusion to an exchange between the two and, to be fair, just because Qataris told Pelosi that Hamas is a humanitarian organization, this does not automatically mean that she believes them.  Of course, one must wonder just what she was thinking, therefore, when she raised the point with Crowley, to begin with.  The clear and obvious implication is that Pelosi is sympathetic to that point of view.

If this is the case it can only mean that Pelosi believes that a genocidal organization that calls specifically for the slaughter of the Jewish people can be a "humanitarian organization."  Either that or she is so woefully ignorant of the Middle East and Israel that she should very definitely remain silent on the matter.

I suspect the latter.

What Shall We Call the Next Gazan Operation?

Michael L.

Whatever semi-non-ceasefires that may have briefly been in place are now concluded.

From Y-Net we learn:
hamaskid2At least four people were killed, while at least six others were wounded, some critically, by mortar fire on Eshkol near the Gaza border early Monday evening.

At 12:40 pm on Monday the unofficial ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was broken when Code Red sirens blared in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council as four rockets were fired from Gaza. It was reported that the rockets fell within the Gaza Strip.
Why do I get the feeling that "Operation Protective Edge" is not going quite as planned?  In the mean time, the Obama administration, the European Union, the United Nations, and my neighbor's dog, Harvey, are demanding an immediate ceasefire out of the humanitarian necessity of allowing Hamas to recover and rearm.

I have little faith that Netanyahu has the strength to do what is necessary... if by "what is necessary" we mean the elimination of Hamas as a functioning organization in the Gaza Strip.  It is vital and necessary to destroy the rocket infrastructure embedded in Gazan daily life and it is vital and necessary to destroy those insidious terror tunnels and I could not be happier to see the Netanyahu government engaged in those tasks.

But it is also vital and necessary to eliminate Hamas.

I understand that people might say, "Hey man, you're sitting there in your safe and comfortable perch in the Oakland foothills.  You have no actual skin in the game so, perhaps, you should STFU and leave it to the Israelis."

That's fair enough and if I thought for one second that I had even the merest breath of influence over anything that Israel does, the argument would have considerably more weight.  As it is, however, I do not.

Nonetheless, even if I am wrong to publicly call for the elimination of Hamas as a functioning organization in the Gaza Strip - because I will not have to bare the consequences of such an operation - does it not remain true that Hamas' continuity will result, yet again, in a repeat of the conflict in the not too distant future?

In 2008 there was the weirdly translated Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

In 2012 there was Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip.

In 2014 we have the even more weirdly translated Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.

I say that we start up a contest to see who will come closest to naming the next Gazan operation in, say, 2016 or 2017.

Heck, we can do this all century if people insist upon it.

{I recommend against, however.}