Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’
On Friday, prior to the disclosure of the leaked documents, a Syrian mortar barrage landed in the downtown of a Turkish city on the border with Syria, damaging homes and workplaces. The barrage came from inside Syria, where Syrian troops and opposition forces have been fighting.
Turkey has deployed dozens of armored vehicles to the region near the Syrian border and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu threatened military action: “I would like the public to know that if such breaches towards our borders continue we are reserving our rights and we are exercising our rights.”
If I’m not mistaken, Davutoglu has issued exactly the same statement dozens of times in the last 18 months. Zaman (Istanbul)Share on Facebook
Kurt Westergaard, whose lampoon of Mohammad in the Jyllands-Posten paper nearly got him killed by an axe-wielding assassin in 2010, told Austrian magazine News he had no regrets about his work and said freedom of speech was too precious to relinquish.
“Should we in future let ourselves be censored by Islamic authorities in deeply undemocratic countries? Should they be allowed to tell the German chancellor in future whom she should honour and whom not? Are we really this far along?” he asked, referring to Angela Merkel’s citation of his work.
Westergaard, 77, said he still lives in constant fear of another attempt on his life. His home has become a “fortress” with a police station in the back yard and bodyguards who ferry him and his wife around in the back seat of an armoured car.
Westergaard said cartoons poking fun at Muslims could signal that Western cultures saw them as part of society. “But we don’t understand one another,” he added.
That was because “we have long found ourselves in a culture war” raging not just between the West and the Middle East but directly in Western societies where he said many Muslims seem not to understand or respect democracy and freedom of speech.Share on Facebook
Already drowning in debt and struggling through a crushing economic crisis worsened by austerity measures demanded by international lenders, Greece is being overwhelmed with an inundation of illegal immigrants despite an ongoing crackdown to round up those who don’t have papers to stay in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The paper noted that Greece is a favorite destination for immigrants because it is a gateway to the European Union and on the bloc’s southern border, with access from land and sea. The country quietly has become a steppingstone for a wave of Middle East and South Asia workers fleeing job markets ravaged by years of government turmoil.
In 2011, an extraordinary year because of the uprisings in North Africa, some 140,980 people were detected entering the EU illegally, up 35% from the year before, according to Frontex, the EU’s border-control agency. Of those, 40% came through Greece. Through July this year, 23,000 people were apprehended crossing the border illegally, roughly 30% ahead of last’s year pace.
Border control in Greece isn’t a new problem. But the country’s economic malaise and budget restrictions are hampering many of its efforts to reduce the flow of illegal immigration. Hoping to come to the rescue, the Europe Commission—the EU’s executive branch—began pouring €255 million ($331 million) into border protection for Greece over the past two years. But that is still less than it gives some countries with far smaller border problems.
And whatever it gives, years of bloated bureaucracy and now new public hiring restrictions in Greece have stalled some of the best-laid plans.
According to one confidential EU report, the country has hired only 11 staffers to help process asylum cases, despite funding last year for 700 positions. Only about one in 10,000 asylum applicants had been approved.
John Cantlie said the fighter told him he had taken two years’ leave from a London hospital to travel to the Middle East for holy war.
The medic was said to have described his hospital experience in detail and carried NHS medical kit, saying he planned to return to the UK to become a trauma consultant in A&E, according to Mr Cantlie’s account to a newspaper.
Last night, MI6 was said to be trying to track down the doctor.
Mr Cantlie, 41, and Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans were held captive at a camp two miles inside the Syrian border last month before being rescued by Syrian rebels.
“I asked him for his help as we were both from London. But he refused to even send a text to my girlfriend to say we were alive. He said he would be beheaded if he did.
“When we asked his name he said ‘Just call me the doctor. I’m the only one here.’ He told us he had a wife and a child in London.
“He spoke with a south London accent and said he had taken two years out from his work as an NHS doctor to fight jihad.”
The doctor, believed to be 28 and of Pakistani descent, was apparently one of ten to 15 Britons at the camp – many of them from London.
The captors belonged to the al Absi organisation, a small group of militants trying to use the revolt in Syria to convert the country to a sharia law state.
According to Mr Cantlie, the doctor said that “treating jihadists wounded in battle” was good training for his future career as a trauma specialist in the UK.
The man treated the photographers’ injuries when they were shot trying to escape but seemed disappointed when two others, who were Syrian, were not beheaded, saying they were “definitely spies”, it was claimed.Share on Facebook
There are some readers for whom obtaining a first edition copy of their favorite book or author is of great import and this is evidenced by people standing in long lines to get their hands on new books. While this may be a common site in the West, many believe this is not the case in the Arab world.
There is a common perception too about the number of Arabs that frequent libraries. That number mirrors the nature of a reading culture and can be used to evaluate reading habits among its generations.
Earlier this year, a debate on how to foster reading habits among Arab youth was prompted after the Arab Thought Foundation’s Fikr released its fourth annual cultural development report in January, saying that the average Arab child reads “six minutes” a year in comparison to 12,000 minutes its Western counterpart spends.
It also reported that an Arab individual on average reads a quarter of a page a year compared to the 11 books read by an American and seven books by a British person.
“If we adopt the minimum average time that youth is on the Internet, that gives us 365 hours a year, and if we compare that with the average time an individual Arab spends reading, which is six minutes a year, then the difference between the two becomes clear, and the importance of the Internet in youths’ lives becomes apparent,” the report said.
Soon after these statistics were released, both skeptical and furious debates took place on social media forums like Twitter, with people highlighting the number of challenges facing their society.
Some comments suggested more active usage of e-books to encourage reading habits among the youth at a university level. Others attributed the decline in reading to inappropriate educational environments across the Arab region and families rarely visiting public libraries together.
Family trips to libraries are considered rare across the Arab world. Hind Saud, a student tweeted that TV has become the focal gathering point for families. “We never had a chance to read or discuss a book together as a family.”
Ghader al-Shehabi, a medical student at Riyadh College of dentistry told Al Arabiya that her reading habits only developed after attending university. “We are required to do in-depth research and I’m enjoying it. We used to rely on one text book at school but the more you read, the better you become. I encourage everyone to bring change to their lives by reading.”
Another survey on reading habits in the Middle East in April 2011 made for a depressing read. Only one in five read on a regular basis and among those under 25 ─ nearly 65 per cent of the 3,667 questioned by Yahoo! Maktoob Research ─ about one in three seldom or never read a book for pleasure.
The survey’s results shows similar reading habits across countries. In an Arab League table of readers by nations, the United Arab Emirates placed fifth behind Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and Iraq. In the UAE, just 22 per cent of people described themselves as regular readers.
A general lack of educational opportunities in poor Arab countries can also add to these facts. Research for the Arab League region estimates that about 100 million people ─ almost one in three – struggle to read and write. A 2011 UNESCO report found that in the UAE, one in 10 people is illiterate.
Other factors to consider in the decline of reading can be attributed to people shunning the Arabic language in favor of English. Noura Farouq, a teacher based in the UAE, told The National in April that she has seen a decline in appreciation of Arabic in her 20 year career. “Students do not see the importance of learning their mother tongue. Their parents put a lot of emphasis on English as they think it will further their careers, so they tend to develop an indifferent attitude towards Arabic.”
Despite the benefits of implementing an English language teaching curricula in elementary schools, it has created a language of culturally deprived children. Most of these children are not linked to the narrative perspective of their mother tongue novels, which have created a parallel gap between them and the book.
Bringing children to the habit of choosing their favorite novels, adding to develop reading sessions, or a frequent individual reading classes at schools propose a reading support techniques for young generations.Share on Facebook
A fossil skull tells us what its long-ago possessor looked like, how intelligent he was, what he used his brain for, and even what he ate. It may also tell us who were his likely ancestors as well as his possible descendants, which is the evidence we are looking for in this book.
The afrocentrists argue that Africa has the oldest archaic (Hs) and modern (Hss) skulls and therefore modern man arose in Africa. But, as the character “Sporting Life” sang in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, “It ain’t necessarily so.” Afrocentrists claim that several African fossil skulls are “modern” even though they are in some ways more primitive than some of the skulls of early man, shown in Chapter 2, and are more primitive than some European and East Asian skulls of about the same age. This is not surprising as living Africans are also more primitive than Eurasians, as described in Chapter 16.
Human fossils are rare because the conditions needed to preserve them are rare. 1 Early humans did not bury their dead, so animals, decomposition, and the weather soon erased all traces of them. To be preserved, a body must be buried soon (hours, days, or months, depending on circumstances) after death in a way that excludes oxygen. This can happen if a catastrophic event, such as a volcanic eruption, a landslide, or a flash flood caused the death, or the person dies in a river that is depositing silt. So, if non-Africans were the first moderns, but did not die in areas where preservation was likely, an early African skull may not be from the first modern humans. Also, northern Africa is, and was, quite accessible to Eurasians and, as we shall see in Section IV, it is likely that modern humans arose outside of Africa, then migrated in to Africa, where they and their descendants died.
Even if the African skulls are modern and some of the humans from those populations did migrate out of Africa, that does not mean that all of today’s modern humans came from those African modern humans; modern humans could also have arisen both inside and outside of Africa, as the Multiregional theory holds – independent evolution is very common. Flight, for example, independently evolved in insects, birds, and mammals and sight independently evolved in insects, mollusks, and vertebrates. If becoming “modern” required a series of changes in many different genes, man becoming modern is unlikely to have occurred independently on two different continents. But if it required only a single change in a single gene, such as a Hox gene that turns a host of other genes on or off, then independent evolution may not be unlikely at all.
Let us look at the most prominent skulls offered by the afrocentrists to prove that Hss arose in Africa.
As evidence for their contention that the oldest modern human skulls are found in Africa, the afrocentrists offer the Herto skulls, of two adults and one child. (Clark, 2003) However, these skulls are now assigned to the sub-speciesHomo sapiens idaltu, which indicates that they are Hs, not Hss, and therefore not “modern.” The skulls were found near the village of Herto, in the Afar region of eastern Ethiopia in northeast Africa. Radiometric dating places the remains at between 160,000 and 154,000 ya. Figure 17-1 is a side view of one of the adult skulls.
This skull is of an almost complete adult cranium. It has a number of primitive features, such as large eye sockets, prominent brow ridges, sloping forehead, large teeth, and a severe post-orbital constriction, which is a very primitive characteristic. The reader may compare the post-orbital constriction in the superior view of the skull (Fig. 17-2) with the skulls in Figures 9-7 and 9-14 to 9-16.
The adult Herto skull is also wider at the cheek bones, another erectus trait, and is much thicker and more robust than a modern, fully Hss skull. It lacks a saggital keel, but it does have an occipital bun, as in the Neanderthals. Although the jaw protrudes, it is not as much as it does in some living Africans. A further puzzlement is its cranial capacity of about 1450 cc, the average for Neanderthals, but larger than most living Caucasians (1441 cc) and significantly larger than most living Africans (1338 cc), though it is smaller than the average for Asians
(1491 cc,). If present day Africans evolved from a Herto population, the afrocentrists cannot explain how their brainsshrank. Since Africans today have a significantly smaller cranial capacity than Herto, if Herto did evolve in Africa and today’s Africans evolved from Herto, then large skulls, and therefore large brains and greater intelligence, must be a disadvantage in Africa, a conclusion that afrocentrists would find embarrassing. The patterns on the inside of the skull do not specifically match those of any contemporary group of modern humans, which suggests that Africans did not de-evolve from Herto and that the Herto population was a dead end.
Moreover, Herto does not have features that are clearly African, but does have some non-African features, particularly the large cranial capacity. So what is this un-African skull doing in Africa? One clue may be the location where the Herto skulls were found. The village of Herto is in the famous Rift Valley, where Richard Leakey and other paleoanthropologists have found many human fossils. The village is only about 200 miles from the narrow strait that separates the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden. The country of Yemen in the Middle East is on the other side of the strait. (Fig. 17-3).
Herto lived during an ice age (Fig. 5-1) when sea water was locked up in ice; sea levels were well over a hundred feet lower than today. 2 Thus, the passage of people across the strait from the Middle East into Africa could be expected. 3 Eurasian Hs, escaping the cold, could easily have crossed from the Middle East into Africa. Interbreeding with African erectuswould produce hybrids like Herto, who have a sapiens cranial capacity in a skull with some erectine features. This is likely the reason that afrocentrists have classified Herto as Homo sapiens idaltu instead of as Hss, despite their claims that Herto is modern. Thus, it cannot be concluded that Herto evolved in Africa.
|Omo 1||Omo 2|
The Omo skulls are also cited by afrocentrists as support for OoA. (McDougall, 2005). Like Herto, which was found near the Awash River in Ethiopia, Omo was also found near a river in Ethiopia, the Omo River near the village of Kibish (in Fig. 17-3, it’s in SW Ethiopia near the top of the long blue lake). Omo is a bit older than Herto, dating to 195,000 ya. There are two partial adult craniums, Omo 1 and Omo 2 (Fig. 17-4), with Omo 2 being described as more primitive.
Omo 1 is only a skull cap, so not much information can be obtained from it, but its upturned front and back ends indicate that it is very primitive. Omo 2 has a cranial capacity of over 1400 cc and seems to be another Herto-type hybrid of Eurasian sapiens with an African erectus. Omo, like Herto can, at best, be Hs, but certainly not Hss, nor do the afrocentrists claim that these skulls are Hss; nevertheless, they claim these skulls are “modern.”
|Figure 17-5a||Figure 17-5b|
Figures 17-5a and 17-5b show an African erectus skull, Kabwe, aka “Rhodesian Man” or “Broken Hill”). This male (Kennedy, 1984) skull is from the Broken Hill 1 site, near Kabwe, Zambia, in Africa. It is classified as a Heidi (Fig. 2-5) and is dated at 125,000 to 300,000 BP. It is very primitive but the capacity of the skull is between 1280 and 1300 cc, only slightly less than living Africans (1338 cc). Note the prominent ridges above the eyes, the extreme slope of the forehead, the saggital keel, and the protruding upper jaw (“maxilla”).
Now, one might wonder, why does this 125,000 to 300,000 year old African skull look so much more primitive than the 160,000 to 154,000 year old Herto skull and the 195,000 year old Omo skull when it might actually be younger? Surely, the primitive Kabwe skull should have a much older date? Yes, it should, especially since it was found on the same continent. The answer to that question may come from looking at a map of Africa (Fig. 17-6).
Ethiopia, where Herto and Omo were found, is almost touching Yemen in the Middle East, but Zambia, where Kabwe was found, is deep in the interior of southern Africa. Zambia would have been a more difficult place for people from the Middle East to reach 125,000 to 300,000 ya. Any inconsistency between the age and primitiveness of the Kabwe and the Herto and Omo skulls is easily resolved by the hypothesis that Herto and Omo were the descendants of Hs or Hss Eurasians who had migrated into Africa and had interbred with indigenous African erectus, such as Kabwe. If that simple hypothesis is correct, then modern man did not evolve in Africa. 4
Now let’s look at some Chinese skulls, starting with a gruesome, but happy, Chinese erectus, reconstructed by Franz Weidenreich. (Figures 17-7).
|Figure 17-7a||Figure 17-7b|
This skull is known as Peking Man (aka “Beijing Man”), pieced together from the fossil remains of several different individuals found at the Dragon Bone Hill site, Zhoukoutien, near Beijing, China. Note the prominent brow ridges, the sagittal keel, occipital bun, and protruding jaw with no chin. Although it has primitive features, its cranial capacity is about 1075 cc and, aside from being larger, its teeth and arm bones are indistinguishable from those of modern man. It is estimated to be between 300,000 and 500,000 yrs old, older than Kabwe. Unfortunately, the original of the skull was lost in WWII, so it cannot be accurately dated. Animal remains and evidence of fire and the manufacturing and use of tools were found nearby. The flaking of his stone tools shows that Peking Man had already developed handedness, and was right-handed. (Howells, 1948, p. 49).
|Figure 17-8||Figure 17-9|
Figure 17-8 is a particularly interesting skull from China, known as “Dali.” It has a mixture of erectine traits (saggital keel, heavy brow ridges) and sapiens traits (delicate cheek bones, flat face). The endocranial volume is about 1120 cc (Encyclopedia Britannica) and, although uranium series dating of ox teeth from the site gave a date of 209,000 ±23,000 yrs, other testing gives a date of about 270,000 yrs. (Xiao, 2002).
Next compare 125,000 to 300,000 year old Kabwe (Fig. 17-5) to the 260,000 year old skull in Figure 17-9 from Jinniushan, China. (Rosenberg, 2006). Although Jinniushan and Kabwe both date from about the same time, Jinniushan is classified as an Hs, while Kabwe is classified as an erectus. Also, the cranial capacity of Kabwe is 1280 to 1300 cc, but the cranial capacity of Jinniushan is about 1330 cc (Rosenberg, 2006), comparable to the average of today’s Africans (1338 cc), and Jinniushan is the skull of a woman. Although women have smaller skulls than men, this woman is estimated to have been 5’ 5 ½” tall and weighed 173 pounds. (Bower, 2006). If the Chinese archaics were so much farther evolved than the African archaics, just as today’s Chinese are far more advanced than today’s Africans, isn’t it more reasonable to conclude that modern man evolved in Asia rather than Africa?
Figure 17-10 shows a skull found in Liujiang County, China. It is unequivocally modern (Shen, 2002) and should be classified as Hss. The top of the skull is smooth and evenly domed and shows not even a hint of a thickening or a saggital keel. There are no brow ridges and the face is refined with small teeth. The Liujiang skull was initially dated at 87,000 BP5 but it was found in sediment dated at 110,000 to 138,000 yrs old 6 and some experts believe it is over 150,000 yrs old. 7 Its skull capacity is a remarkable 1480 cc (Wu, 1995), higher than today’s Caucasians (1441 cc), much higher than today’s Africans (1338 cc), and only slightly less than today’s Asians (1491 cc). The Liujiang skull proves that modern man was in China long before 65,000 ya, when the afrocentrists say he left Africa.
Another difference between the Kabwe skull and the four Chinese skulls (Peking Man, Dali, Jinniushan, and Liujiang), that is not as easily seen, is that the Chinese skulls have “shoveled” incisors. Shoveled incisors (Fig. 9-28) are seen only rarely in living Caucasians and almost never in living Africans (except for Bushmen), but they are common in living Asians and Native Americans that came from Asia. 8 But where did the Asians get them from?
All of the Chinese fossils (that have incisors) have shoveled incisors, dating back to the earliest Asian Homo erectus (Java Man) about 1.8 mya. 9 Hmmm. Now if the Chinese H. erectus had shoveled incisors, Peking Man, Dali, Jinniushan, and Liujiang had shoveled incisors, and many of the Chinese alive today have shoveled incisors, and a significant percentage of no other living population outside of Asia commonly has them, it doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out what’s going on here. Modern Chinese evolved from an Asian erectus that was already different from erectus in Africa and Europe! 10 The OoA position, that the Asian erectus with its shoveled incisors was replaced by modern Africans without shoveled incisors 65,000 ya, who then evolved shoveled incisors a second time in Asia, is simply incredible.
In addition to shoveled incisors, all Chinese skulls from erectus to the present show a remarkable similarity in head shape and facial characteristics, as well as a gradual change in features. (Pope, 1992).
Table 17-1 summarizes the skulls presented in this chapter; Java Man is from Indonesia, but hominin fossils of about the same date have been found in China (Zhu, 2008).
|Skull||Classified as||Cranial Capacity (cc)||Age (ya)|
|Peking||H. erectus||1075||500,000 – 300,000|
Table 17-1 shows an almost continuous increase in cranial capacity from H. erectus to modern Chinese, excellent evidence that modern Chinese evolved in China. (Etler, 1996). And, while we are on this subject, take a look at the Chinese “firsts” in Table 17-2. 11
|First||Date||Place in China||Reference (see Morton, 2002)|
|Occupation of China 12||2.25 mya||Renzidong Cave, Anhui||(Hotz, 2000)|
|Occupation in Asia north of 40° latitude 13||1.36 mya||Nihewan Basin||(Zhu, 2001, p. 413)|
|Asian hand ax 14||800 kya||Rezidong Cave, Anhui||(Hotz, 2000, p. 24)|
|Asian fire 15||500 kya||Zhoukoudian||(Barnouw, 1982, p. 141)|
|Association of men with dogs 16||500 kya||Zhoukoudian||(Serpell, 1995, pp. 8-10)|
|Oldest writing||8600 ya||Jiahu||(Senner, 1989)|
(All “firsts” are by erectus except writing, which is by Hss.) Are these tables consistent with the OoA theory, which asserts that there were no modern men in China until modern Africans left Africa 65,000 ya and migrated there thousands of years later? 17
In 2003, an 18,000 year old skull of a 32 year old (age approximated from worn teeth and fused skull bones) female was discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores (“Homo floresiensis“). She was about 1 meter tall (3’ 4”) and had a cranial capacity of only 417 cc, 18 smaller than a chimpanzee’s, though the frontal part of her brain would have been “well-wired.” The skull appeared to be a dwarf form of an early erectus, earning it the nickname, the “Hobbit.” 19 The Hobbits were fully bipedal, used stone tools and fire, and hunted dwarf elephants also found on the island. The skull (Fig. 17-11) had a protruding jaw, large teeth, brow ridges, and the sloping forehead; both a chin and an external nose are absent. The skeletons are also reported to have “shoulders … hunched slightly more forward than in modern humans, and … extraordinarily short legs ended in long feet.” 20 Note that the ape skeletons (Fig. 9-30) have shoulders hunched forward and short legs. The feet of apes are also long in proportion to their height. (Coon, 1962, p. 248). The Hobbits show similarities to Homo habilis above the neck and to Australopithecusbelow the neck. 21
Since the current population of Flores is also of very small stature and the Hobbits were living there from at least 94,000 ya to at least as recently as 13,000 ya, 22 they may have been ancestors of the current population on the island. The afrocentrists take the position that all living people are modern, but the Hobbit skull (Fig. 17-11) clearly is not modern, so either the Hobbits evolved into modern humans in only 13,000 yrs (extremely unlikely) or the present population is not modern (no, the afrocentrists insist that every living person is modern, and if they are modern, the Hobbits must have been modern). The only other possibility is that OoA is wrong and modern humans either did not arise only in Africa and leave only 65,000 ya, or they did not evolve in Africa at all.
Western European countries are preparing the ground for the revision of the Schengen border control and recovery. France and Germany are primarily interested in taking such measures aimed at ensuring the EU’s internal borders. The new French president Francois Hollande, as well as his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, is in favor of strengthening the fight against illegal migration. Enhancement of border controls, especially in the south of France, can significantly reduce the flow of migrants, the Ministry of Internal Affairs believes.
The German government also supports the retention of the right to restore borders in the EU. German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich repeatedly spoke in favor of the partial revision of the Schengen Agreement. Without denying the importance of maintaining the Schengen area, Frederick, however, insists that the internal security of each country is a priority.
The German politician expressed particular concern over the problems of uncontrolled illegal immigration, which “is a direct threat to the stability and security of the entire Old World,” information portal Newsru.com quoted Hans-Peter Friedrich.
The debate around the issue of open borders has been ongoing for years. When Europe has supported democratic change in the Middle East and Africa, no one imagined that soon the “Arab spring” could ripple to the European continent. Refugees from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya flooded into Greece and Italy. Thanks to the Schengen area hundreds of migrants could later move to France, Austria and Germany.
Nicolas Sarkozy was one of the first to express his discontent by the transparency of the European borders. Then France unequivocally declared that it refused to respect the Schengen agreements if control over the external borders of the EU is not enhanced. In 2011, the French managed to get permission from the European Committee for inspection of trains from Italy to stop the flow of illegals.
European officials did not hide their frustration with the fact that the majority of African migrants penetrated the continent via Greece unable to control the border with Turkey. The Greeks, who were considered the main culprits of the crisis in the euro area, again had to make excuses and hurriedly strengthen measures against mass migration. In March of 2012 Europe once again was talking about the introduction of internal border controls.
Finally, on June 7 at the Council of Ministers meeting in Luxembourg, a decision was made that may influence the further development of the entire European Union. Henceforth, the government of the united Europe has the right to temporary reintroduce border controls for six months. Special approvals are no longer required. To restore the border it will be sufficient to inform the neighboring states of the decision. In addition, in emergency situation border closure is now permitted for two years, which would constitute a serious precedent for the entire European Union.
However, some countries in the united Europe have resorted to exceptional measures in matters relating to border security. The special position of the Schengen Agreement, which allows in exceptional cases up to 30 days to recover control of the borders was used several times: in 1995 after the terrorist attacks in Paris, in 2001 during a summit of the “G8” in Genoa where there were major clashes between the authorities and anti-globalists, and in 2009 during a NATO summit in the French city of Strasbourg, the French International Radio (RFI) reported referring to Figaro newspaper.
However, the current decision in Luxembourg led to an extremely negative reaction of the European Committee. These amendments to the Schengen agreement could undermine the foundations of the EU in its entirety, Brussels believes. Recently, European Commissioner for Internal Affairs Cecilia Malmström said that the move “undermines the achievements of the European integration.” “I am deeply disappointed by the lack of European ambitions of the participants of the meeting,” quoted Malmström Newsru.com.
It is not clear how far the Europeans are ready to go to tighten the measures against mass migration from Africa and the Middle East. However, initial steps have already been taken.
Another question is how the new strategy in Germany, France and Italy will reflect on the state of affairs in the European Union that is going through hard times. Today, diplomats, analysts and chief executives are talking about the failure of multiculturalism policy increasingly more. However, the debate about the degree of openness of European borders is not finished yet. In this regard it is worth noting that the present decision of the heads of the EU Interior Ministry announced on June 7 could not be considered definitive. Now, the amendment to the Schengen Agreement that has already caused a backlash of MPs must be approved in the EU institutions.Share on Facebook
Pro-regime militiamen swept through farmlands in central Syria slaughtering dozens including women and children, activists said Thursday, sparking opposition calls for increased military raids by armed rebels.
The latest massacre came as Washington demanded a full transfer of power in Syria, setting the stage for a renewed diplomatic stand-off after Russia and China said they were strongly against intervention and regime change.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 55 people were killed in Wednesday’s assault on the Al-Kubeir area of the central province of Hama, and added that UN observers were rushing to the site to check on the massacre.
“There are 49 confirmed and identified victims in Al-Kubeir, the majority of them from the Al-Yateem family,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Observatory.
“Among the dead are 18 women and children,” he said, adding that six other people were also killed on Wednesday in a village near Al-Kubeir, which is in a farming area northwest of Hama city.
Earlier tolls from opposition groups had put the death toll at between 87 and 100.
They and activists, citing survivors and witnesses, said the militiamen stormed into the small settlement on Wednesday afternoon armed with guns and knives after regime forces had earlier pounded it with shells.
They then went on a killing spree, hacking, stabbing and shooting residents as they tried to flee.
A video posted on YouTube showed bodies of several children, including babies, wrapped in blankets and white plastic body bags, apparently victims of the massacre. Some were charred beyond recognition.
Each body had a label, and the video, whose authenticity could not immediately be verified, shows the faces of several dead infants. Dried blood can be seen on the face of one child.
The Syrian government denied responsibility, saying in a televised statement: “What a few media have reported on what happened in Al-Kubeir, in the Hama region, is completely false.”
“A terrorist group committed a heinous crime in the Hama region which claimed nine victims. The reports by the media are contributing to spilling the blood of Syrians,” the statement said.
The opposition called for stepped up military assaults against regime forces in the wake of the reported massacre.
“The Syrian National Council calls on the (rebel) Free Syrian Army to step up military assaults on regime forces to break the siege against the civilian population and protect civilians throughout the country,” Mohammed Sermini, spokesman for the coalition, told AFP.
In a statement, the SNC also urged demonstrations on Thursday and Friday to denounce the killings.
The Al-Kubeir incident comes after at least 108 people were killed in a two-day massacre that began on May 25 near the central town of Houla, most of them women and children who were summarily executed, according to the United Nations.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said in reaction to news of the latest “brutal and sickening” killings that the international community has to do more to isolate Damascus.
“We need to do much more to isolate Syria, to isolate the regime, to put the pressure on and to demonstrate that the whole world wants to see a political transition from this illegitimate regime to actually see one that can take care of its people,” Cameron told reporters during a quick stop in Oslo.
In Beijing on Thursday, leaders of a grouping led by Russia and China issued a statement opposing military intervention in the Middle East.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) also called for a “peaceful resolution of the Syrian problem through political dialogue” in a statement released at the end of a two-day summit.
“Member states are against military intervention into this region’s affairs, forcing a ‘handover of power’ or using unilateral sanctions,” it said, referring to the Middle East and North Africa.
Russia and China have vetoed two Security Council resolutions against Assad’s regime, but backed UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan’s blueprint to end the conflict in which more than 13,500 people have died since March 2011, according to the Observatory.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has voiced mounting frustration with the Chinese and Russian positions, sought to mobilise support in Turkey, calling on the international community to “close off the regime’s economic life lines.”
“We can’t break faith with the Syrian people who want real change,” said a State Department official who briefed reporters late on Wednesday on Clinton’s meeting in Istanbul with officials from 16 regional and European powers.
Clinton set forth “essential elements and principles that we believe should guide that post-Assad transition strategy, including Assad’s full transfer of power,” the official said.
The Annan plan was supposed to begin with a ceasefire from April 12 but doubts have emerged about its effectiveness as violence has raged on despite the deployment of nearly 300 UN observers.Share on Facebook
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“Right now the key thing that is driving higher gas prices is actually the world’s oil markets and uncertainty about what’s going on in Iran and the Middle East, and that’s adding a $20 or $30 premium to oil prices,” President Obama said March 23. It’s complete and utter nonsense. Oil is trading in lockstep with expectations for economic growth, as reflected in stock prices. There’s not a shred of evidence that geopolitical uncertainty has added a penny to the oil price. Obama’s $20 to $30 per barrel risk premium is a number pulled out of a hat, without a shred of empirical support. In effect, the President is blaming Israel for high oil prices.
On April, 3, Vice-President Biden blamed higher oil prices on “talk about war with Iran“; fear that Iran might “take out the Saudi oil fields and Bahraini oil fields”; the Arab Spring movement; “war in Libya”; the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood; and a potential for unforeseen political unrest, such as “chaos in Russia.” It’s all complete and utter nonsense. Oil prices are going up because the world economy is consuming more oil and supply has not increased to meet the demand – in part because the Obama administration discourages North American energy development, most recently by stopping the proposed Keystone pipeline from Canada. It’s easier to blame foreign phantoms for high gas prices at the pump than the administration’s business-killing politics
One might argue that the market should price strategic risk into the oil price, but the fact is that markets are not especially good at assigning prices to possible events whose probability can’t be measured.
Goldman has some nifty charts to prove his point. Here’s one, courtesy of Bloomberg, that shows the price of oil vs. the S&P 500 for the last three years. Note how closely they track:
During the past three years, oil prices have tracked equity prices almost perfectly, with a regression coefficient of nearly 90%. (For statisticians, the correlation of daily percentage changes in the two markets is 51%). Equity prices embody expectations of future economic growth, and higher growth means more demand for oil. If oil supply cannot keep up with demand–because the Obama administration has restricted development, among other factors–the oil price goes up.
The Advocate of Stamford reports that a lawyer for 47-year-old William Bryan Jennings of Darien filed a motion to dismiss the case Wednesday in Stamford Superior Court. The motion alleges the cab driver gave conflicting accounts of the Dec. 22 incident and police ignored exculpatory evidence.
The driver of Middle Eastern descent told police Jennings also threatened to kill him and told him to go back to his own country as he drove off to find a police officer after Jennings refused to pay the $204 fare from New York City to Darien.Share on Facebook
The Jews never had a homeland or a fatherland. Their origin is as mysterious as that of the Gypsies. We do know this much: The Jews came from the Middle East to Europe through Constantinople and the Iberian Peninsula, where it nears Africa. They have lived among the nations of Europe for many centuries. Their outward appearance and spiritual characteristics quickly distinguished them from the blond, blue-eyed Nordic peoples. The instincts of Nordic blood and bad experiences soon led the European nations to protect themselves from the Jews through legislation. As a foreign people, Jews were prohibited from having a role in the personal lives of the host nations. Particular care was taken to exclude the Jews from any role in government.
The Jews came to Europe with the concealed aim of sooner or later destroying the peoples living there. From the beginning, they worked to eliminate those restrictive laws. They went about it by promoting false ideas. They went so far as to persuade the guest peoples to believe that a Jew could become a Gentile. People began to believe that Jews could become French in France, English in England, Spanish in Spain, Italians in Italy, etc. He who opposed the idea was said to be a barbarian or an enemy of humanity. The revolution the Jews brought about at the end of the 18th century in France and in other nations eliminated these laws or rendering them impotent. The revolutions incited by the Jews in the middle of the 19th century also brought the Jewish plan of emancipation (the elimination of anti-Jewish legislation) closer to reality. The end of the World War brought equality to the Jews in Russia, Germany, and other states. Over the corpses of the greatest and most significant war of the modern era, Pan-Jewry could gloat at winning a victory over the peoples of Europe that World Jewry had dreamed of for centuries.
After the World War, no nation in Europe would have dared to deny the Jews a role in leading peoples and nations. So sure were they of their power that they dared to put full-blooded Jews at the head of German provincial governments, and even placed Jews in the position of Reich minister. The Jew Walter Rathenau was the embodiment of the Jewish drive for world domination in those days when Germany was betrayed and enslaved.
National Socialism in Germany and Fascism in Italy have put an end to Jewish domination. In other nations, Jewry rules from behind the mask of democracy. What one calls democracy today is concealed Jewish domination. Jews determine what happens in the democratic states, and Jewish bank hyenas and government ministers are working for a new world war that will re-subject Germany and Italy to renewed and final Jewish domination. In England, the Jew Hore Belisha as war minister is preparing to send the English people to the battlefields of a European war. This is necessary if Jewry’s hopes are to be fulfilled. These hopes are: the defeat of the National Socialist and Fascist led peoples and their final enslavement under the yoke of the world criminal Pan-Jewry.Share on Facebook
The product of his research – the 90-minute documentary from Under the Hood Productions – describes how fear is triggered and shapes society. “Anatomy of Hate” explores the emotional and biological reasons people are susceptible to acts and ideologies of hate, while also demonstrating that we are equally capable of overcoming them. Ramsdell juxtaposes interviews with experts in the fields of psychology, neurology and sociology, interspersed with stories of redemption told by former participants in hate ideologies.
The film has received many awards, including the designation of “Best Political Documentary” at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival in 2009 and the “Audience Choice Award” at the Atlanta DocuFest. It also was an official selection for the Boston International Film Festival.
“Hate and prejudice are sneaky things,” said Wilson College Director of Residence Life Sherri Ihle Sadowski, who was instrumental in bringing “Anatomy of Hate” to campus. “It is our responsibility as members of a community to reflect upon and seek to understand our own behaviors, assumptions and contradictions, and to strive to overcome past hurts and misunderstandings.”
The March 22 program is sponsored by Wilson’s dean of the faculty, offices of student development and residence life, the Diversity Team, Women’s Studies Advisory Group and multiple faculty and staff across campus.
Political scientist Oscar Aubert, an expert on West Europe, Russia and CIS, has said that the scenario in Russia is different to the Arab Spring, stating that Europe “should not apply the same standards to Russia as it has done to the Middle East.”
Aubert said, in a recent article said: “We Europeans can easily take for granted simple and clear clichés. For example, we took the revolutionary events in Egypt last year at the instigation of our media for the revolt of educated youth and middle class against the corrupt military despotism.
“But today, looking at the results of parliamentary elections, we see that the “revolutionary youth” got only 7 seats out of 508. The winners were two blocks of Islamist parties, which main bodies are the Freedom and Justice Party (based on the organization “Muslim Brothers” banned in many countries) and the Light Party (representing radical Islam of the Salafi persuasion).
“Religious fundamentalists have in total more than 70% of the votes, while European observers today prefer to call “Muslim brothers” moderate Islamists, which is justified only in comparison with Salafis … secular and liberal parties gained only 15%.
“General democratic elections summed up last year’s “revolution on the Tahrir Square” in which France’s sympathy of Egypt was completely on the side of the rebels, but President Hosni Mubarak experienced strong pressure exerted in order to make him resign. Did Egypt become closer to the West? Did the security of Israel, the only truly pro-European government in the Middle East, strengthen? Did a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem appear? Did the threat from Islamic terrorists to France and our citizens decrease? A repeated sullen “no” is a consequence of that thoughtless joyful “yes” that we shouted a year ago to greet “the Arab Spring”.
“The Europeans can hardly imagine a situation in which the radicals completely dominate the political spectrum while the liberals are marginalized. But this is the democratic choice of the Egyptians and we have to accept it.
“If we can learn from our mistakes we should not show the same light-mindedness when it concerns Russia. Today the majority of French political observers describe the situation in Russia in terms of a confrontation between pro-European democratic-minded young people and conservative authoritarian regime which relies on the older generation that feels nostalgic for Soviet times. And more often such understandable for Europeans political figures as the leader of the party “Yabloko” Grigory Yavlinsky, Yeltsin’s former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, the former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov are named among leaders of the protesters.
“Indeed, they and their supporters are present at the protest rallies. But, going back to the parallels with Egypt, this reminds us of El Baradei, the former Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who with a small group of supporters was regularly broadcast a year ago in the European media as the leader of the Egyptian opposition. However according to the December poll his president rating was 4%.
“The overall rating of the three above-mentioned Russian liberals is even lesser. But the real hero of the street opposition is the radical nationalist Alexei Navalny who feels comfortable enough to speak in front of a crowd of skinheads raising their hands in a Nazi salute. The second most popular hero of the protest movement is the radical leftist Sergei Udaltsov who differs from Navalny by his internationalism. These two leaders are united by the slogan of a large-scale redistribution of property – “from oligarchs – to the Russian people” in Navalny’s wording and “from oligarchs – to working people” in Udaltsov’s interpretation.
“It is not surprising that outnumbered liberals feel uncomfortable at the joint meetings of protest, especially when the nationalists obstruct speakers with Jewish roots.
“In a face-off with ultra-nationalists and radicals Vladimir Putin is guided by the formula of Pyotr Stolypin, a popular historical figure in Russia, Prime Minister (1906 – 1911), a reformer and a fighter against the Revolution, who died tragically at the hands of a militant: “They need a great upheaval, we need a great Russia!”. And this slogan (in different variations) allows Putin to consolidate successfully his supporters.
“We in France need stable Russia – an ally and partner of the EU. In the word combination “great Russia” some Europeans hear the imperial notes that, taking into account our historical experience, can cause certain concern. But the phrase “a great upheaval” in the case of Russia is, indeed, Europe’s nightmare.”
TEHRAN, iran — Iran‘s supreme leader pledged Friday to aid any nation or group that challenges Israel and said any military strikes over the Islamic Republic‘s nuclear program would damage U.S. interests in the Middle East “10 times over.”
The nationally broadcast comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei staked out a hard line in apparent replies to suggestions that military strikes are an increasing possibility if sanctions fail to rein in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
It also might signal that Iran’s proxy forces — led by Lebanon’s Islamic militant group Hezbollah — could be given the green light to revive attacks on Israel as the showdown between the archfoes intensifies.
The West and its allies fear Iran could use its uranium enrichment labs, which make nuclear fuel, to eventually produce weapons-grade material. Iran insists it only seeks reactors for energy and medical research.
Israel has so far publicly backed the efforts by the U.S. and European Union for tougher sanctions that target Iran’s crucial oil exports. But Israeli leaders have urged even harsher measures and warn that military action remains a clear option despite Western appeals to allow time for the economic pressures and isolation to bear down on Iran.
Although Israel has raised the strongest hints over a military campaign, Khamenei reserved some of his strongest comments for Israel’s key ally, the U.S.
Khamenei claimed Iran, however, could only emerge stronger. “Iran will not withdraw. Then what happens?” asked Khamenei. “In conclusion, the West’s hegemony and threats will be discredited” in the Middle East. “The hegemony of Iran will be promoted. In fact, this will be in our service.”
At Ramstein Air Base in Germany, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said sanctions remain the best approach to pressure Iran. But he told U.S. airmen Friday that Washington keeps “all options on the table and would be prepared to respond if we have to.”Share on Facebook
Mayor Andreas Starke of Bamberg said there will be a gradual reduction of troop numbers over the next few years before the bases officially shutter.
Starke said although the closures would have “far-reaching consequences,” hurting craftsmen and other businesses who have made millions of euros from the Americans, he said it will also have benefits.
“In a crisis, there’s also a chance,” Starke said, pointing to the city’s long-running need for new student housing to support the University of Bamberg.
Schweinfurt Mayor Sebastian Remelé too tried to take something positive from the announcement, saying new residential housing was needed and that he could also envision new businesses moving onto space left by the decommissioned base. However, he said, 600 local civilian jobs were threatened by the closure.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said the federal government would be offering special assistance to the affected cities.
“The federal government will surely help wherever it has leeway,” Friedrich told the Münchner Merkur newspaper.
In January, the US government announced it was pulling between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel out of Europe as part of redeployment to focus on the Middle East and Asia.Share on Facebook
“I’ve lost my patience with the universities. I think they’re complicit in aiding and abetting these hate-mongers,” Benlolo said, reacting to a lecture presented by pro-Iranian, anti-Israel speaker Zafar Bangash on McMaster University’s campus last week.
The Jan. 26 lecture, titled “Iran in the Crosshairs,” was sponsored by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, Independent Jewish Voices, as well as the student groups Students for Justice in the Middle East, McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice, and Students Resisting War and Occupation.
Benlolo wrote a letter to McMaster president Patrick Deane that challenged him to take a stand against a speaker who was quoted during last summer’s Al Quds rally at Queen’s Park as saying, “This black man in the White House, Barack Obama… he would rather have Americans starve to death but he cannot say no to the Zionist parasitical state… That is what makes them racists, that is what makes them inhuman, that is what makes them barbarians.”
Bangash, president of the Islamic Society of York Region, who is known for advocating Iranian-style theocracy, has also said, “Inshallah [God-willing] I see that day when we, the Muslims, will march on Palestine and liberate Palestine… under Islamic law,” and has advised Israelis to go “back where they came from: the U.S., Canada, Europe, Russia, whoever is willing to take them in.”
Despite Benlolo’s complaints, McMaster chose not to cancel the lecture, citing its “important role in maintaining freedom of speech.”
McMaster spokesperson Gord Arbeau put the onus on the organizers of the event to ensure respectful dialogue on campus.
“Every event that is booked at McMaster follows the same protocols. Event organizers are responsible for ensuring a safe event and those protocols have been followed in this instance.”
But Benlolo, who sends letters of complaint to university presidents each time he learns that an anti-Israel speaker has been invited to speak on a Canadian campus, said he is becoming tired of getting the “brush-off” from university administrators who he says hide behind the “freedom of speech” excuse.
“We’re awaiting a response… I would expect the exact same response that I get from all the university presidents, which is what these universities hide behind. They say, ‘We have to allow for freedom of speech and freedom of debate and the truth will prevail.’”
Benlolo added that the trend of having anti-Israel speakers lecturing on campus is “becoming intolerable,” adding that “it’s about time that the universities step up and draw a red line in the sand and say that speakers who are divisive and to an extent, antisemitic, should not be permitted on campus. Period.”
McMaster’s Jewish Student Association president Ariela Rozenek and McMaster’s Israel on Campus president Jessica Lax-Vanek monitored the lecture.
Rozenek said that while Bangash mostly stayed on topic, there were “undertones of racism and bigotry” in his talk.
“I understand that McMaster wants to provide an environment that encourages discussion, that promotes freedom of speech, but the inflammatory language that was used by Bangash adds to a toxic, intolerant environment and stifles true dialogue.”
She added that the students who attended the lecture as representatives of the Jewish community are working toward an inclusive environment, and lectures like the one delivered by Bangash go against that goal.
“We really try to host events that elevate the level of discourse on campus and this sets us back.”
Benlolo said that if university presidents don’t want to cancel these types of events, they should at least take a moral stand.
“There’s a minimum and a maximum [response]. The minimum is that the president should denounce it, and the maximum is that the university property should not be made available for these speakers. It’s public property and the university can define the rules and should not permit hateful speakers on their campus.”Share on Facebook
If you do a search on google, along with predispositions, you’ll find more than 20 medical diseases affiliated with aberrant genes possessed within a segment of the Jewish people. One which is omitted but equally malicious is Jewish antisemitism. A rampant flu, this disease is spreading wildly throughout a vocal sector of this population, threatening to do more internal damage than outside factors have done since the 1940s. A generational scourge so great that famed Zionist labour founder Berl Katznelson asked back in the 1930s: “Is there another people on earth so emotionally twisted that they consider everything their nation does despicable and hateful, while every murder, rape, robbery committed by their enemies fill their hearts with admiration and awe.”
Under the guise of anti-Zionism, antisemitism has reared its ugly head in a relatively new incarnation, Jews joining the chorus of those disparaging Israel. In high schools, on college campuses and classrooms throughout Canada, the United States and Israel the propagandist delegitimization of the Jewish state is becoming pervasive. Likewise, concurrence of the Palestinian narrative amongst so-called progressive Jews can also be seen in broadcast, print media, and writing what you are reading now. At first blush, one might assume Jewish antisemitism would afflict only the uneducated but research and personal experience have proven otherwise. If ever there was a uniting factor for the left, right, educated, and uneducated amongst Jews that despise Israel, it’s Jewish antisemitism.
In writing the Israeli Advocate to a weekly, mostly Jewish readership now exceeding 7,000, my responses both pro and con usually total 30-50. But the anti-Israel vehemence of those opposed to the Jewish state – and I’m sure this article will garner a lot more – is most striking.
One very pragmatic ‘intellectual’ Jew, a PhD and MD from North Carolina is obsessed with Palestinian refugees from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Despite conclusive evidence to the contrary, he dogmatically sticks to the mantra that Israel is solely responsible for the plight of the Palestinian refugees and only their suicidal repatriation into Israel proper for them and millions of their descendants can rectify their situation. He cares little for facts such as the Palestinians and Arab world choosing war against Israel over acceptance of UN-sanctioned partition or having left their homes not as Jewish policy but as in all wars; victims of war itself. Neither does he or those that think like him recognize the denial of citizenship by their fellow Arabs in the countries which they left for during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Nor do they have empathy for the 800,000 to 1 million Jewish refugees stripped of their land and possessions, disenfranchised from homes their families lived in for hundreds of years in Muslim countries throughout northern Africa and the Middle East during the 1920s; long before the re-creation of the state of Israel and lasting until the mid 1950s.
The difference being, Israel repatriated their refugees into full-fledged citizens while the Arabs chose to allow theirs to wallow in wretched squalor, as political pawns till this very day. To these Jewish Quislings, the only remedy of the Palestinian refugee problem is the destruction of the Jewish character of Israel from within by an influx of people sworn to her delegitimization and destruction. In other words these Jews seek demographically to attain for the Palestinians and their descendants what their ancestors failed to do militarily 64 years ago.
He’s far from alone. As mentioned, Jew-on-Jew hatred can be found on both sides of the political-religious spectrum. One fanatical religious sect is an ultra-Orthodox group called the Neturei Karta. This lovely group of right-wing zealots – wined and dined by none other than that upstanding, Holocaust-denying leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – believe the Jewish state is blasphemy since it preceded the Messianic era. Like their far-left fellow loonies, these vehement, Israeli bashers are not just opposed to Israeli policy, but to her very existence itself. The movement’s supporters believe that the Jewish exile – begun when the Second Temple was destroyed some 2,000 years ago – exists by Divine decree and can be reversed only through Divine intervention. To be sure, they’re not the only Jew bashers swinging from the right side of the plate. Astonishing as it may seem, in September 2007 police in Petah Tikvah, Israel broke up a neo-Nazi gang of 8 naturalized Russian Jews giving Nazi salutes and carrying out mob attacks on homosexuals, non-whites and observant Jews. To be sure there are many more. However, all this notwithstanding, receiving the lion’s share of attention and by far the most malicious aggregation and individuals disparaging of the Jewish state are from the left of the political spectrum.
Professors, writers, students, left-leading media, and clergy particularly from the reform movement denounce what they see as the ill’s of Zionism – the right of Jews to their historic ancestral homeland. They seek to draw a boundary between Judaism the religion and the right to such a homeland.
‘Progressives,’ as many Jews within the anti-Zionist camp deem themselves relish any action of repudiation of the Jewish state, some going as far as renouncing their rights under the law of return. At a ritual circumcision a Jewish couple made the following pronouncement to their yet to be cognizant newborn: “We are thrilled to pronounce you a Jew without the Right of Return. Your name contains our deep hope that you will explore and celebrate your Jewish identity without confusing it with nationalism.”
Hopefully the child once recovered from the ordeal of circumcision will be circumspect enough to ask the parents why people of other religions can have national homelands but he as a Jew couldn’t.
On a daily basis you pick up a newspaper or google the Web and find inaccurate condemnations of alleged Israel human rights violations, along with ideologue professors denigrating her while leading their wards in divestment and boycott campaigns.
Why, some might ask, should anti-Zionism be considered antisemitism? The answer is simple. None of these idealistic individuals or activist groups equally denounce years of Palestinian atrocities such as the killing and maiming of innocent men, women and children in buses, restaurants, or murdering babies sleeping in their cribs.
During the Al-Aqsa intifada, which began in September 2000 and lasted about 5 years, 1,100 Israeli citizens and 5,500 Palestinians were killed. In 10 months alone, Bashar al-Assad has massacred 5,400 of his own people. Has anyone heard a peep of outrage or denunciation from these sanctimonious ‘progressives?’ Quite clearly, the term anti-Zionism as used by these people is nothing short of subterfuge for antisemitism.
In their continuing effort of delegitimizing Israel and casting her as a pariah state they disguise their motives in lofty terms such as peace, reconciliation and justice.
Unfortunately, if they had their way, none of this would apply to Israel whose sovereignty would no longer exist upon the dissolution of the Jewish state. The Jews still therein, they most assuredly would return to the protective status; dhimmitude, as long as they paid the poll tax; the humiliating jizzia – a tax Jews were forced to pay their Arab masters for hundreds of years during a degrading ceremony made to acknowledge their debasement. All this for the honour of being permitted to live amongst the Arabs as second-class citizens.
Pointing out this reality to the previously mentioned Jewish, MD, PhD I had been corresponding with, his matter of fact reply was: “Muslims paid zakat, non-muslims paid jizza. So what. Do you have a problem with people paying taxes?”
No I don’t, but I do have a problem with antisemites, particularly Jewish ones.Share on Facebook
In an interview with Iran’s Fars News Agency on Sunday, Palestinian Minister for Captives Affairs Ataollah Abu Sabah said of the 44,000 Palestinian inmates currently languishing in Israeli prisons, seven are women and 23 are members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Abu Sabah described the desert prison of Naqab (Negev), where the detainees are kept in tents, as the Israeli regime’s worst prison.
Last year, an Israeli TV station released video footage of Palestinian detainees being tortured by Israeli troops in the notorious Naqab prison in 2008, as a result of which one Palestinian died and several others sustained injuries.
The Palestinian official further confirmed reports that the relatives of the inmates and sometimes even their lawyers are forced to strip and are interrogated.
In late December 2010, a human rights group called Public Committee against Torture in Israel revealed that Palestinian detainees are systematically denied the right to meet a lawyer during interrogations.
Being shackled to chairs for long periods, sleep deprivation, intimidation, torture and excruciating detention conditions are some of the instances documented by the rights group in its report.
Abu Sabah went on to add that stripping captives in the subzero cold in the winter is one of the most common torture methods of the Israeli regime.
The ill captives, he said, are deprived of even the most basic medical treatment, adding that the inmates suffering from medical conditions are not few in number and face gradual death in the regime’s prison
Israel has some secret prisons where it keeps some of the first captives of the Resistance Movement, Abu Sabah said, adding that the regime has even abducted activists from other Arab countries, whose fate is unknown.
Israel Prison Service (IPS) Director Aharon Franco announced in October that there are several prisons in Israel, including Damon prison, Ramle’s Neve Tirza prison, and the Ma’asiyahu prison, that are no longer fit for inmates.
Franco also said the standard in the US is to allocate eight meters of space for each inmate and the standard is six meters in Europe. In Israel, however, just four meters are allocated for each inmate.Share on Facebook
Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, who fought German soldiers in WW II and later thought about converting to Judaism, led a three-Senator delegation to Israel Sunday, starting off with a meeting with President Shimon Peres.
Sen. Inouye, chairman of the powerfulSenate Appropriations Committee, is being accompanied by the committee vice chairman, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, and senior committee member Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat. They arrived in Israel after a stop in Tunisia.
President Peres thanked Sen. Inouye for his “contributions to strengthen the securityof Israel” and added, “The United States has stood by us for years, and this true friendship is unquestioned.”
The senators asked him for his views on Iran, the Middle East in general and the Palestinian Authority specifically. The President said that Iran is not a “problem” but instead is a “threat to peace in the Middle East and the entire world” because of its nuclear ambitions. He continued to promote his theme for direct “negotiations” between Israel and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Sen. Inouye fought in World War II and was a sergeant who led a platoon in the war. Now 87, he wrote in his book “Journey to Washington” that his platoon attacked German soldiers in France and Italy. He later was promoted to an officer and returnedhome with a Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with cluster and 12 other medals and citations.
He lost an arm and suffered gunshots in his stomach and spent 20 months in army hospitals. Sen. Inouye heard about the horrors of the Holocaust from another soldier who had been in Germany, and he then studied Jewish history.
After Israel was re-established as a Jewish State in 1948, the senator signed on as a registered Israeli bond salesman without commission and considered converting to Judaism, but his Methodist mother talked him out of it.
After his delegation’s meeting with President Peres Sunday, Sen. Inouye said, “We are here to say clearly and out loud that in this period of uncertainty in the Middle East, the United States stands with you.”Share on Facebook
Foreign aid has few domestic allies. Aid programs weathered steep cuts in the recent budget deal in Congress, and a plan from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would slash spending on international affairs and foreign assistance by an eye-popping 44 percent by 2016.
What’s the point of U.S. foreign aid, and does it do any good? Let’s topple a few misconceptions and find out.
Republicans hate foreign aid.
Former congressman Tom Delay, R-Tex., once noted that it was difficult for lawmakers to explain to their constituents why they were more interested in helping Ghana than Grandma. Yet every Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has been a staunch advocate for foreign aid programs.
Ronald Reagan launched the National Endowment for Democracy in 1983 to help “foster the infrastructure of democracy” around the globe. George W. Bush established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 2003. According to the Congressional Research Service, this fund, along with money for Iraq reconstruction, was part of the largest appropriation for foreign aid in three decades.
“U.S. assistance is essential to express and achieve our national goals in the international community — a world order of peace and justice.” Sound like Obama? Richard Nixon said it in 1969.
Foreign aid is a budget buster.
In poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly say they believe that foreign aid makes up a larger portion of the federal budget than defense spending, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare or spending on roads and other infrastructure. Since the 1970s, aid spending has hovered around 1 percent of the federal budget.
We give aid so countries will do as we say.
Foreign aid is not designed to make countries like us. The United States wants stable democratic partners that are reliable allies in the long run. Aid builds these relationships, even when the countries we help don’t support us in the short run.
Aid sent to troubled regions now can save money in the long term. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted last year: “Development contributes to stability. It contributes to better governance. And if you are able to do those things and you’re able to do them in a focused and sustainable way, then it may be unnecessary for us to send soldiers.”
Foreign governments waste the aid we give them.
During the Cold War, some foreign aid went to friendly dictators with little regard for their own people. Local corruption also swallowed assistance to Haiti after 2010’s earthquake. But when aid is wasted, it’s more often a result of stateside congressional inefficiency.
For example, Congress mandates that 75 percent of all U.S. international food aid be shipped aboard U.S. flagged vessels — ships registered in the United States.
A study by several Cornell University researchers concluded that this subsidy of elite U.S. shipping companies cost American taxpayers $140 million in unnecessary transportation costs during 2006 alone.
The Government Accountability Office noted that between 2006 and 2008, U.S. food aid funding increased by nearly 53 percent, but the amount of food delivered actually decreased by 5 percent. Why? Because our food aid policies are swayed by an agribusiness lobby that stresses buying American, not buying cheaply.
No one ever graduates from U.S. foreign aid.
The notion that poor countries are doomed to stay poor has always been part of the debate. Nations across Latin America and Asia were dismissed in the 1960s as perennial basket cases, yet countries in both regions combined sensible reforms with a jump-start from U.S. assistance programs to achieve dynamic, lasting growth. According to the United States International Trade Commission, 10 of the 15 largest importers of American goods and services, including countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, graduated from U.S. foreign aid programs.
Flagship efforts such as those undertaken by the Millennium Challenge Corp., established under George W. Bush, make clear that the United States expects progress in combating corruption, improving governance and tackling economic reforms in exchange for assistance.
That’s the most enduring truth about foreign aid: Though it probably won’t do more than blunt the suffering in some places, it can make a lasting difference in countries committed to change. Sure, it’s a bet. But it doesn’t have to be a long shot.
- A reality check on foreign aid (timesunion.com)
- A cheat sheet for Congress: How to get the most out of foreign aid (thehill.com)