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...and other thoughts on Islamic terrorDennis Prager - townhall.com - April 6, 2004
Golly gee, Muslim terrorists tried to attack Madrid again. How can that be? Wasn't Muslim terror in Spain supposed to end once Spain appeased the terrorists by voting in the socialists?
Only those who do not understand Muslim terror could fool themselves into believing that.
So, to better understand the subject, I offer three conclusions I drew about terror during my week of broadcasting from Israel last month.
First, Islamic terror is caused by Muslims, not, as Islamic and leftist apologists would have it, by the non-Muslims against whom it is directed. In our morally confused world, Spain, Israel and America are blamed for having their men, women and children blown up: What did these countries do to arouse such enmity among otherwise tolerant Arabs and Muslims?
Palestinian terror provides the answer. About 25 percent of Palestinians are Christian, yet if there are any Palestinian Christian suicide bombers, I am unaware of them. Now why is that? Don't Muslim and leftist apologists incessantly tell us that the reason for Palestinian terror is "Israeli occupation and oppression"? Why, then, are there no Palestinian Christian terrorists? Are Christian Palestinians less occupied?
The answer is obvious. There is Palestinian terror for the same reasons there is Muslim terror elsewhere. A significant part of the Muslim world wishes to destroy those non-Muslims -- Americans, Israelis, Filipinos, Nigerians, Sudanese blacks -- who prevent Islam from violently attaining power.
Palestinian Muslim terror emanates from a desire to destroy Israel, not to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Other Muslim terror is aimed at weakening the West, America in particular, so that militant theocratic Islam can dominate Muslim-majority societies and then take over other societies, as it is slowly doing in Western Europe.
Second, despite the Spanish cave-in to terror, in the long run, terror doesn't work. By any rational calculation, to take the Palestinian example, it has become the most self-destructive policy Palestinians could pursue. Palestinian terror has convinced almost all Israelis outside of academia that the moral gulf between them and the Palestinians is so wide that there is presently no hope for peace.
Nor has Palestinian terror terrorized Israelis. In what will surely be recorded as among the most impressive behaviors of a national group, Israelis have decided to live as normally as possible among people who aim to murder and maim as many of them as possible. In fact, I learned, many Israelis are now concerned that they have done this too well, that there is not enough mourning and rage after each atrocity.
Palestinian terror is self-destructive because it has morally, economically, religiously and politically destroyed Palestinian society and led to its present state of chaos. The mayor of Nablus resigned two months ago, declaring that gangs of thugs now govern Palestinian society. Any society that encourages terror ends up consumed by it. Ask the Saudis.
Third, there is a terrible long-term price that Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians in particular are paying for the minority that engages in terror and for the majority that says nothing about it or supports it.
They may wish to reflect on the fact that with every act of terror they engage in, their people and religion are increasingly identified with cruelty. Can anyone anywhere name any Palestinian contribution to humanity other than innovative forms of terror and cruelty? On my radio show, the spokesman of Zaka, the Israeli rescue squad that attends to terror victims, told me that at various times Palestinian terrorists have laced the screws attached to their bombs with rat poison, and that at least one of the Palestinian terrorists was injected with the AIDS virus in the hope that his blood would transmit AIDS to wounded Israelis.
Just as the German nation, fairly or not, has had to grapple with the moral legacy of Nazism, and the name of Christianity still suffers (unfairly) because of medieval persecutions of non-Christians, so, too, Islam, Arabs and Palestinians will have to struggle for generations to shed their identification with murdering innocents.
While it is Americans, Israelis and other targets of terror who most suffer individually from Palestinian and other Muslim terror, those with the most to lose are Palestinians, Arabs and Islam.
No more passes and excuses for the Middle EastBy Victor Davis Hanson - April 4, 2004
What are we to make of scenes from the eighth-century in Fallujah? Random murder, mutilation of the dead, dismemberment, televised gore, and pride in stringing up the charred corpses of those who sought to bring food to the hungry? Perhaps we can shrug and say all this is the wage of Saddam Hussein and the thirty years of brutality of his Baathists that institutionalized such barbarity? Or was the carnage the dying scream of Baathist hold-outs intent on shocking the Western world at home watching it live? We could speculate for hours.
Yet I fear that we have not seen anything new. Flip through the newspaper and the stories are as depressing as they are monotonous: bombs in Spain; fiery clerics promising death in England, even as explosive devices are uncovered in France. In-between accounts of bombings in Iraq, we get the normal murdering in Israel, and daily assassination in Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, and Chechnya. Murder, dismemberment, torture—these all seem to be the acceptable tools of Islamic fundamentalism and condoned as part of justifiable Middle East rage. Sheik Yassin is called a poor crippled “holy man” who ordered the deaths of hundreds, as revered in the Arab World for his mass murder as Jerry Falwell is condemned in the West for his occasional slipshod slur about Muslims.
Yet the hourly killing is perhaps not merely the wages of autocracy, but part of a larger grotesquery of Islamic fundamentalism on display. The Taliban strung up infidels from construction cranes and watched, like Romans of old, gory stoning and decapitations in soccer stadiums built with UN largess. In the last two years, Palestinian mobs have torn apart Israeli soldiers, lynched their own, wired children with suicide bombing vests, and machine-gunned down women and children—between sickening scenes of smearing themselves with the blood of “martyrs.” Very few Arab intellectuals or holy men have condemned such viciousness.
Daniel Pearl had his head cut off on tape; an American diplomat was riddled with bullets in Jordan. Or should we turn to Lebanon and gaze at the work of Hezbollah—its posters of decapitated Israeli soldiers proudly on display? Some will interject that the Saudis are not to be forgotten—whose religious police recently allowed trapped school girls to be incinerated rather than have them leave the flaming building unescorted, engage in public amputations, and behead adulteresses. But Mr. Assad erased from memory the entire town of Hama. And why pick on Saddam Hussein, when earlier Mr. Nasser, heartthrob to the Arab masses, gassed Yemenis? The Middle-East coffee houses cry about the creation of Israel and the refugees on the West Bank only to snicker that almost 1,000,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world.
And then there is the rhetoric. Where else in the world do mainstream newspapers talk of Jews as the children of pigs and apes? And how many wacky Christian or Hindu fundamentalists advocate about the mass murder of Jews or promise death to the infidel? Does a Western leader begin his peroration with “O evil infidel” or does Mr. Sharon talk of “virgins” and “blood-stained martyrs?”
Conspiracy theory in the West is the domain of Montana survivalists and Chomsky-like wackos; in the Arab world it is the staple of the state-run media. This tired strophe and antistrophe of threats and retractions, and braggadocio and obsequiousness grates on the world at large. So Hamas threatens to bring the war to the United States, and then back peddles and says not really. So the Palestinians warn American diplomats that they are not welcome on the soil of the West Bank—as if any wish to return when last there they were murdered trying to extend scholarships to Palestinian students.
I am sorry, but these toxic fumes of the Dark-Ages permeate everywhere. It won’t do any more simply to repeat quite logical exegeses. Without consensual government, the poor Arab Middle East is caught in the throes of rampant unemployment, illiteracy, statism, and corruption. Thus in frustration it vents through its state-run media invective against Jews and Americans to assuage the shame and pain. Whatever.
But at some point the world is asking: “Is Mr. Assad or Hussein, the Saudi Royal Family, or a Khadafy really an aberration—all rogues who hijacked Arab countries—or are they the logical expression of a tribal patriarchal society whose frequent tolerance of barbarism is in fact reflected in its leadership? Are the citizens of Fallujah the victims of Saddam, or did folk like this find their natural identity expressed in Saddam? Postcolonial theory and victimology argue that European colonialism, Zionism, and petrodollars wrecked the Middle East. But to believe that one must see India in shambles, Latin America under blanket autocracy, and an array of suicide bombers pouring out of Mexico or Nigeria. South Korea was a moonscape of war when oil began gushing out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia; why is it now exporting cars while the latter are exporting death? Apartheid was far worse than the Shah’s modernization program; yet why did South Africa renounce nuclear weapons while the Mullahs cheated on every UN protocol they could?
No, there is something peculiar to the Middle East that worries the world. The Arab world for years has promulgated a quite successful media image as perennial victims—proud folks, suffering under a series of foreign burdens, while nobly maintaining their grace and hospitality. Middle-Eastern Studies programs in the United States and Europe published an array of mostly dishonest accounts of Western culpability, sometimes Marxist, sometimes anti-Semitic that were found to be useful intellectual architecture for the edifice of panArabism, as if Palestinians or Iraqis shared the same oppressions, the same hopes, and the same ideals as downtrodden American people of color—part of a universal “other” deserving victim status and its attendant blanket moral exculpation. But the curtain has been lifted since 9-11 and the picture we see hourly now is not pretty.
Imagine an Olympics in Cairo? Or an international beauty pageant in Riyadh? Perhaps an interfaith world religious congress would like to meet in Teheran? Surely we could have the World Cup in Beirut? Is there a chance to have a World Bank conference in Ramallah or Tripoli? Maybe Damascus could host a conference of the world’s neurosurgeons?
And then there is the asymmetry of it all. Walk in hushed tones by a mosque in Iraq, yet storm and desecrate the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank with impunity. Blow up and assassinate Westerners with unconcern; yet scream that Muslims are being questioned about immigration status in New York. Damn the West as you try to immigrate there; try to give the Middle East a fair shake while you prefer never to visit such a place. Threaten with death and fatwa any speaker or writer who “impugns” Islam, demand from Western intellectuals condemnation of any Christians who speak blasphemously of the Koran.
I have purchased Israeli agricultural implements, computer parts, and read books translated from the Hebrew; so far, nothing in the contemporary Arab world has been of much value in offering help to the people of the world in science, agriculture, or medicine. When there is news of 200 murdered in Madrid or Islamic mass-murdering of Christians in the Sudan, or suicide bombing in Israel, we no longer look for moderate mullahs and clerics to come forward in London or New York to condemn it. They rarely do. And if we might hear a word of reproof, it is always qualified by the ubiquitous “but”—followed by a litany of qualifiers about Western colonialism, Zionism, racism, and hegemony that have the effects of making the condemnation either meaningless or in fact a sort of approval.
Yet it is not just the violence, the boring threats, the constant televised hatred, the temper-tantrums of fake intellectuals on televisions, the hypocrisy of anti-Western Arabs haranguing America and Europe from London or Boston, or even the pathetic shouting and fist-shaking of the ubiquitous Arab street. Rather the global village is beginning to see that the violence of the Middle East is not aberrant, but logical. Its misery is not a result of exploitation or colonialism, but self-induced. Its fundamentalism is not akin to that of reactionary Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, but of an altogether different and much fouler brand.
The enemy of the Middle East is not the West so much as modernism itself and the humiliation that accrues when millions themselves are nursed by fantasies, hypocrisies, and conspiracies to explain their own failures. Quite simply, any society in which citizens owe their allegiance to the tribe rather than the nation, do not believe in democracy enough to institute it, shun female intellectual contributions, allow polygamy, insist on patriarchy, institutionalize religious persecution, ignore family planning, expect endemic corruption, tolerate honor killings, see no need to vote, and define knowledge as mastery of the Koran is deeply pathological.
When one adds to this depressing calculus that for all the protestations of Arab nationalism, Islamic purity and superiority, and whining about a decadent West, the entire region is infected with a burning desire for things Western—from cell phones and computers to videos and dialysis, you have all the ingredients for utter disaster and chaos. How after all in polite conversation can you explain to an Arab intellectual that the GDP of Jordan or Morocco has something to do with an array of men in the early afternoon stuffed into coffee shops spinning conspiracy tales, drinking coffee, and playing board games while Japanese, Germans, Chinese, and American women and men are into their sixth hour on the job? Or how do you explain that while Taiwanese are studying logarithms, Pakistanis are chanting from the Koran in Dark-Age madrassas? And how do you politely point out that while the New York Times and Guardian chastise their own elected officials, the Arab news in Damascus or Cairo is free only to do the same to us?
I support the bold efforts of the United States to make a start in cleaning up this mess, in hopes that a Fallujah might one day exorcize its demons. But in the meantime, we should have no illusions about the enormity of our task, where every positive effort will be met with violence, fury, hypocrisy, and ingratitude.
If we are to try to bring some good to the Middle East, then we must first have the intellectual courage to confess that for the most part the pathologies embedded there are not merely the work of corrupt leaders but often the very people who put them in place and allowed them to continue their ruin.
So the question remains did Saddam create Fallujah or Fallujah Saddam?
One of Israel's most highly respected commentators on security affairs has urged the Sharon government to follow up hard on the heels of the Yassin execution and move quickly to smash the rest of the Hamas leadership.
Gainsaying other analysts, who have suggested that the Islamist group suffered a debilitating blow when its wheelchair bound sheikh was killed by an Israeli missile, Ehud Ya'ari warned that Hamas is set to strike "to the full extent of [its] capability" in order to "murder as many Israelis as it can."
Eighteen days after Yassin died, the apprehension that gripped Israel in the immediate aftermath of his killing - as Hamas leaders in Gaza and Damascus vowed an "earthquake of revenge" - appears to have dissipated.
A massive security alert that has been in place through the first half of the Passover week has successfully prevented any attacks, creating some sense of relief.
Ya'ari, however, fears a response will still be forthcoming if Hamas can get away with it, and says the group is doing all it can to succeed.
He contends strongly that, in confronting this threat, Israel's security forces must end its policy of "limited conflict."
They'll kill all they canWriting in the latest edition of The Jerusalem Report the veteran journalist, author and commentator on Israel's security affairs, Ehud Ya'ari, declared that Hamas "will murder as many Israelis as it can" after the execution of its founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Ya'ari said the terror group's "fiery rhetoric of revenge is reaching new peaks" and he believed it's members would strike Israel "to the full extent of their capability."
Hamas was making no secret of its plans, and had recently spoken on Hizballah radio of recruiting thousands of "suicide" bombers in order to carry out a large number of simultaneous attacks.
"This is not vain talk. Hamas is working flat out towards this end, with the funding, guidance and encouragement of Hizballah's Sheikh Nasrallah," Ya'ari wrote.
"The Hamas leadership's belief is that a series of blows of this kind would 'shock' Israel and bring this current round to its end game."
Ya'ari described the group as having "no limitations" and said they remained intent on pulling off a mega-attack, something they have already attempted to do.
'Hamas-stan'Contrasting Hamas in the Gaza Strip to its cadres in Judea and Samaria, Ya'ari said that, in the latter areas, Israel had succeeded in crushing 90 percent of the group's infrastructure.
In Gaza, however, Hamas was building up a "popular army" - a militia which, if allowed to establish itself, would become a "highly-motivated armed force to rival the puny security apparatuses of the Palestinian Authority."
As soon as it managed to put together thousands of fighters, this Hamas militia would turn the Gaza Strip into "Hamas-stan" - a terrorist terrain similar to the "Hizballahstan" that came into existence in southern Lebanon after Israel's hasty withdrawal from there.
No time to stopYa'ari, who appears regularly on Israeli television and is believed to have a lot of influence in the country, said the "worst mistake that Israel could now make would be to stop pursuit of the terror leaders."
The ranking Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, and his top echelon of lieutenants did not believe Israel would err at this point, and had gone into hiding after Yassin was killed.
Knowing it had been dealt a body blow, Hamas would be doing everything in its power to pull off major attacks.
Should Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stop targeting the "terror contractors," Yassin's execution would come to represent the turning point, "at which Hamas realizes its dream of achieving a balance of terror against Israel," writes Ya'ari.
He argues that, since the start of the Oslo War, Israel had restrained its use of force and employed "selectivity and caution" in its pre-emptive actions.
This "credo of limited conflict" was believed by some in the military to actually be dragging out the conflict rather than ending it. For what Israel had been facing since the beginning was an "all-out confrontation."
In the light of Hamas' determination to score a major victory in its terror war, Israel dared not respond in "a hesitant, halting manner," said Ya'ari.
"It is time to keep the gloves off."
This week, the world's nearly 13 million Jews will once again "down tools" and gather in the homes of family and friends to celebrate their forefathers' liberation from Egyptian slavery more than 3,000 years ago.
The wondrous, well-worn account will be retold around Seder tables across Israel, and wherever Diaspora communities remain. Wide-eyed children will hear of the awful plagues inflicted upon Pharaoh, and will sing about the mind-blowing miracles God performed to secure the Israelites' freedom.
The Seder meal is always a time for rejoicing - even during difficult circumstances. That first Passover not only marked the failure of Pharaoh's efforts to kill off the children of Israel, but in a very real way also signaled the birth of the nation.
Such a high point was the Exodus in Israel's history that it has been commemorated without fail, every year and in every place the descendants of those Israelites have lived.
No amount of suffering and hopelessness - not even the horror of Hitler's Holocaust - could snuff out the hope it holds.
And yet, today, as they ask the question, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" desperation and fear threaten the Jews once more.
After surviving centuries of suffering, and finally finding haven in their ancient homeland, Israel's future as a nation seems endangered again.
Sixty-six years ago, they danced in the streets and sang with all their hearts "Am Yisrael Chai," (the nation of Israel lives).
While they still sing the words today, the conviction is fading, eroded by a combination of international efforts to divide up their land, and their own leaders' apparent determination to do so.
But Israel's hope has never been in man. It has always been, and remains, in their God.
As much as He watched over and ensured their eventual freedom from slavery all those centuries ago, He is watching over them today.
Today, Israel is in the midst of a second Exodus; an event that, according to the prophet Jeremiah, promises to eclipse the first.
Just as the first Exodus marked their liberation from Egypt, Israelis can take comfort in the fact that today's unfolding Exodus signals their salvation from the plots and plans of today's gentile world.
Few people recognize it. Few pay any attention. The immigration of Jews to Israel is hardly a media event. Yet Exodus II already dwarfs the one headed up by Moses.
Before it is over, it is going to impact the hearts and minds of the Jewish people in such a way that it will actually cause them to change a millennia-old tradition:
"Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that it shall no more be said, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' but, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.' For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers…" (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
Under Moses, God brought around two million Israelites out of bondage in Egypt.
The last century has seen Him bring more than four million Jews out of the captivity of the Diaspora in more than 100 countries, into the eternally Promised Land.
Today 5.5 million Jews call Israel home, and their land is the only place in the world where the Jewish population is growing, and not shrinking.
Since the rebirth of Israel, the country's Jewish population has grown more than eight-fold. Three million people have immigrated to Israel since 1948, with more than one million coming since 1990. Over 30,000 immigrated in the past year.
To bring them home, the Almighty has used "fishermen" - like the emmisaries who went into 1930s Europe and warned the Jews to flee; and like those who have gone into the former Soviet Union where they, with love and compassion, helped those Jews who wanted to to come home.
The Lord has also used hunters - those who have shown their hatred of Israel and its people and, as in Europe today, rising anti-Semitism which is causing more and more Jews to consider making the move to Israel.
Being forced to flee, and at the same time seeing the place they want to go to itself increasingly in peril, this is enough to sow despair into the hearts of most Jews.
It should not do so.
The same God Who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and promised to deliver His people out of Egypt has spoken through His prophets, promising Israel a future bright with hope.
"For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob." (Malachi 3:6)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
It is the LORD God, not Great Britain, the United Nations, not even the United States that is responsible for the restoration of the Jews. And He has committed Himself to bring them as a nation back into relationship with their God:
"Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 'And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul." (Jeremiah 32:37-41)
Their return to their land is, this time, irreversible:
"I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them," says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:15)
And it will be followed by one of the most astounding events ever to happen to any nation:
"When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their own land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel," says the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 39:27-29)
It was not only be the people of Israel who were affected by the first Exodus. News of God's deliverance of them spread through the known world, putting fear into the hearts of those who would oppose the Israelites, and carrying the fame of the God of Israel far and wide.
So, too, is this latter-day Exodus set to impact the world, whose nations reject God now, but not for long:
The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Isa 52:10)
"Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD." (Ezek 38:23)
"So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel." (Ezekiel 39:7)
The United States, the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations, Russia, China, and the Quartet - they will all know that the God of Israel, He is the Lord.
MAYOR OF LONDON: THROW SHARON IN JAILLondon Mayor Ken Livingstone, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, called for throwing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a cell with former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, for the Saudi Arabian royal family to be "swinging from lampposts," and for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to press US President George W. Bush regarding Israel.
As for President Bush, though, "I'm not even sure he was aware there were any Palestinians before he was elected…." Livingstone said.
Furthermore, he explained, there cannot be peace in the Middle East until "the West shows it is taking on board the injustice of what's happening to the Palestinians, and looks at the financial network of corruption between some of the oil sheikhdoms, the oil companies and the White House."
The conservative Tory party opposition candidate in London, Steve Norris, took a surprising tack in his reaction, saying, "With the threat of a terrorist attack on London in the air, this kind of Livingstone rant is downright dangerous." Liberal Democrat candidate Simon Hughes mentioned the offense given to the Americans and Saudis.
No British politician condemned Livingstone's remarks regarding Prime Minister Sharon.
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