Thursday, January 27, 2011

400 Rabbis Publish Letter Protesting Glenn Beck's Attacks on Jews and Holocaust Survivors

Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a child survivor of the Holocaust, described Beck's attack on George Soros as "not only offensive, but horrific, over-the-top, and out-of-line". Commentary magazine said that "Beck's denunciation of him [Soros] is marred by ignorance and offensive innuendo." Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, called Mr Beck's accusations "monstrous". Rev Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, called them "beyond repugnant". And Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University, says Beck is using traditional antisemitic imagery.
Four hundred rabbis will publish a letter tomorrow (NZT) calling on Fox News to sanction host Glenn Beck for repeated use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery and for airing attacks on World War Two survivor George Soros.
In an open letter to Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, which owns Fox, the rabbis also demand an apology from Fox News chief Roger Ailes for characterising Beck's Jewish critics as nothing more than "left-wing rabbis".
The letter will appear as an advertisement in the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal tomorrow for which the rabbis spent more than $100,000, a spokesman said.
In the letter, the rabbis cited "unacceptable attacks" by Beck against Soros, a billionaire financier who grew up in Nazi-occupied Hungary and is a frequent target of conservative commentators.
"And George Soros used to go around with this anti-Semite and deliver papers to the Jews and confiscate their property and then ship them off," Beck said in November.
"Here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps. And I am certainly not saying that George Soros enjoyed that, even had a choice. I mean, he's 14 years old. He was surviving. So I'm not making a judgement. That's between him and God."
Beck, according to the rabbis, has made "literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterising people with whom he disagrees," compares American leaders he does not like to Nazis and has said putting the "common good" first leads to "death camps".
"In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed," the letter said.
"But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organisation you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only 'left-wing rabbis' who think so."
Dear Mr Murdoch

We are rabbis of diverse political views. As part of our work we are devoted to preserving the memory of the Shoah, and to passing its lessons on to our future generations and to all humankind. All of us have vigorously defended the Holocaust's legacy. We have worked to encourage the responsible invocation of its symbols as a powerful lesson for the future.

We were therefore deeply offended by Roger Ailes' recent statement attributing the outrage over Glenn Beck's use of Holocaust and Nazi images to "leftwing rabbis who basically don't think that anybody can ever use the word, Holocaust, on the air."

In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed. But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organization you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only "leftwing rabbis" who think so.

Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a child survivor of the Holocaust, described Beck's attack on George Soros as "not only offensive, but horrific, over-the-top, and out-of-line". Commentary magazine said that "Beck's denunciation of him [Soros] is marred by ignorance and offensive innuendo." Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, called Mr Beck's accusations "monstrous". Rev Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, called them "beyond repugnant". And Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University, says Beck is using traditional antisemitic imagery.

"I haven't heard anything like this on television or radio – and I've been following this kind of stuff," Lipstadt said. "I've been in the sewers of antisemitism and Holocaust denial more often than I've wanted."

We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen atFox News. It is not appropriate to accuse a 14-year-old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps. It is not appropriate to call executives of another news agency "Nazis". And it is not appropriate to make literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterising people with whom you disagree.

It is because this issue has a profound impact on each of us, our families and our communities that we are calling on Fox News to meet the standard it has set for itself: "to exercise the ultimate sensitivity when referencing the Holocaust".

We respectfully request that Glenn Beck be sanctioned by Fox News for his completely unacceptable attacks on a survivor of the Holocaust and Roger Ailes apologise for his dismissive remarks about rabbis' sensitivity to how the Holocaust is used on the air.
Lead supporters (organisational affiliation listed for purposes of identification only):
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Vice President, American Jewish University, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Dean, Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical School
Rabbi Yael Ridberg, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Steven Wernick, Executive Vice President, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President, Union for Reform Judaism

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jihad Darrell, Hezbo’s Fave GOP Congressman: 9/11 “Simply” a Plane Crash

Darrell Issa is the Republican Chairman of the Government oversight Committee!
By Debbie Schlussel
I’ve been on the case of gazillionaire GOP Congressman Darrell Issa a/k/a “Jihad Darrell”, since just after 9/11, when he praised Hezbollah as a “humanitarian” group of “farmers” and went to Ramallah to become Yasser Arafat’s personal taste tester (not kidding). Since then, Issa’s continued to fete the Assads of Syria, the Hezbos of Lebanon, the Fatah-niks of the so-called Palestinian authority, and has called Israel an “apartheid” state a la Jimmy “Jimmuh” Carter. Nancy Pelosi’s got nothin’ on Jihad Darrell.
That’s not to mention Issa’s lengthy criminal and marred military record, and the sickening way Issa stole a company out from under his boss and went on to make millions by stealing patents and litigating everyone out of business.

Darrell Issa, Prez of the Bashar Assad Fan Club, American Auxiliary

As readers know, I’ve repeatedly written about Issa in the New York Post and elsewhere, and the thing that most galls me is the way the GOP gloms onto this guy, rather than disowning him the way they did David Duke in the Reagan days.
But things are changing, and I hope it’s a trend.
Last year, after I wrote a NYPost column about the San Diego Republican’s bid to become House Republican Policy chief and about his record of pandering to America’s Islamic terrorist enemies, the article was circulated among House Republicans. And Issa was defeated by a more than 2-1 margin. Since then, though, top Republicans–like the retiring Rep. Tom Davis–have been pushing Issa for key Republican posts, like budget czar and procurement chief.
But Issa’s antics, this week, may finally shut the lid on his ambitions. On Wednesday, Issa called the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America “‘simply’ a plane crash.” He made comments like this in House hearings regarding continuing federal assistance to 9/11 first responders, many of whom are stricken with life-threatening ailments because they inhaled the fumes of the attacks or were otherwise seriously injured.
The New York Daily News reports that Issa
suggest[ed] the federal government had already done enough to help New York cope with “a fire” that “simply was an aircraft” hitting the World Trade Center.
That any American Congressman–no less, a so-called conservative Republican–would say such a thing about the largest, most outrageous attack on American soil, is disgusting.
It’s frankly time for Issa to go. Several years ago, Issa–who has ambitions of running for the U.S. Senate and Governor of California–bankrolled the recall petitions against then-Governor Grey Davis. He planned to run for Governor in the recall election, and with his deep pockets, he might have won. But Karl Rove and other Republican bigwigs pushed him aside in favor of Schwarzenegger. And that’s because Democrats have been watching what I’ve written about Issa’s support for Islamic terrorists, and they were planning to use it against him. The GOP couldn’t afford to blow the golden opportunity of running California, so they demanded he bow out, which he reluctantly did (in a tear-filled speech).
Since the GOP has had several years and ample opportunity to learn Issa’s pan-jihadist views, it’s about time they asked him to step aside and resign from office, altogether.
They did so with David Duke. And Issa is far scarier, since he has mainstream respect and a following that the fringe-character Duke never had.
If the GOP wants to continue to legitimately attack Congressmen like Jim McDermott, John Conyers, and other far-left Democrats who kowtow to our Islamist enemies on American soil, the party needs to nip their own similar problem child–Darrell Issa–in the bud, once and for all.
I hope Republicans will take the words of two of Issa’s GOP colleagues to heart:
“It seems that with the passage of time, something happened along the way where the scope of the problem and the real extent of the problem has not drifted out to California,” fumed Staten Island GOP Rep. Vito Fossella. . . .
New York was attacked by Al Qaeda. It doesn’t have to be attacked by Congress,” added Long Island Rep. Pete King, a Republican.
“I’m really surprised by Darrell Issa,” King added. “It showed such a cavalier dismissal of what happened to New York. It’s wrong and inexcusable.”
But, since his pan-Islamist antics have been legion since 9/11, none of Issa’s actions should surprise these men.
The California congressman who called the Sept. 11 attacks “simply” a plane crash ran for cover Wednesday under a barrage of ridicule from fellow Republicans, first responders and victims’ families.
San Diego GOP Rep. Darrell Issa was under siege for suggesting the federal government had already done enough to help New York cope with “a fire” that “simply was an aircraft” hitting the World Trade Center.
“That is a pretty distorted view of things,” said Frank Fraone, a Menlo Park, Calif., fire chief who led a 67-man crew at Ground Zero. “Whether they’re a couple of planes or a couple of missiles, they still did the same damage.” . . .
Lorie Van Aucken, who lost her husband, Kenneth, in the attacks, slammed Issa’s “cruel and heartless” comments.
“It’s really discouraging. People stepped up and did the right thing. They sacrificed themselves and now a lot of people are getting really horrible illnesses,” she added.
Under pressure from all sides, the Golden State pol – who got rich selling car alarms after getting busted for car theft as a teen – pulled a partial U-turn. He issued a statement but cowered from the press. . . .
But he didn’t retract his wacked-out rhetoric claiming the feds “just threw” buckets of cash at New York for an attack “that had no dirty bomb in it, it had no chemical munitions in it.” . . .
“The sound I’m hearing is him slamming the brakes and going in reverse,” crowed Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn-Queens). Issa also belatedly admitted 9/11 was “an attack on America” in his statement.
Thank G-d there wasn’t a dirty bomb or chemical munitions on 9/11. The toxic fumes American victims breathed there were harmful enough.
But what’s also harmful is that we continue to tolerate outrageous men like Darrell Issa in leadership positions in our government.
Like I said, time for the GOP to tell him where to go.
Thanks to the many outraged readers who sent me tips on this latest deranged behavior by Jihad Darrell.
* My New York Post column on Jihad Darrell
* Jihad Darrell: Terrorism’s Manchurian Candidate

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Revolt in Tunisia: When Arab Regimes Do (And Do Not) Tremble

By Barry Rubin
January 18, 2010

May the good Lord protect us from news analysis and Middle East experts. Is the Arab world really in shock over the Tunisian upheaval? Is this really a symptom for a coming upheaval in the Arab world?

Perhaps I'm wrong but a note of caution is in order. I think the answer is "no."

Let's begin by looking back at far bigger shocks that have made Arab regimes tremble.

First, there was the fall of Communism and the Soviet bloc. The Soviet Union was the superpower patron of many Arab regimes, their source of weapons and diplomatic support, their supposed protector from Israel and the United States.

Yet more than that, it was a basic role model--especially for political and economic organization--for a number of these regimes--most obviously Egypt, Iraq, and Syria but also for others as well. I don't mean they copied it exactly by a long shot. But the statist, single-party rule, government control over wide swathes of life is how they functioned for decades. If you're interested, I wrote a book on this called Modern Dictators.

How did the regimes respond then? By tightening up and killing off real hope of democratic reform. And they did quite well for themselves. I wrote about it in 
"How Arab Regimes Dealt with the Democracy Challenge."
There was also another time when (some) Arab regimes trembled, the Iranian revolution of 1978-1979. Indeed, they are still trembling at the prospect of overthrow by a revolutionary Islamist movement. These groups now form the principal opposition in most Arab countries--but not, as we shall see, in Tunisia--and elements of them are quite ready to use violence. Indeed, this is the most important conflict not only in the Arab world but in the Middle East altogether.

And there is a third occasion when (radical) Arab regimes tremble: the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. Might the United States also overthrow them? This applied especially to Syria and Libya but others felt it also. As totally unlikely as this seemed in Washington it was not so unthinkable in Arab capitals. But they got over it when it became clear that there was no such threat. I discussed how Syria dealt with this in my book, The Truth about Syria. Libya reacted by surrendering all of its nuclear ambitions.

So Arab regimes begin to tremble sometimes. But when the going gets tough the tough don't tremble very long. They take counter-action.

Now are the events in Tunisia a new occasion for Arab regimes to tremble? Well, maybe a tiny bit for a tiny moment. The fact is that Tunisia has been a special case among Arab regimes for decades. It is the most Europeanized, the place where women have the most equality, and the Islamist movement is proportionately weakest. It is also the only country that has had just two rulers in 55 years.
Here's an excellent article on why the Islamist movement in Tunisia is weaker by Aziz Enhaili and Oumelkheir Adda.

Compare this to neighboring Algeria where the Islamists built a power base in part on similar material grievances to those that motivated the Tunisian riots, won an election, were then confronted by the military, and the result was an incredibly bloody and vicious civil war in which tens of thousands of people were killed.

Also compare this to Palestinian politics where corruption and incompetence led to the rise of Hamas, which seized the Gaza Strip by force. Let's face it, if not for massive Western aid and Israel security assistance to the Palestinian Authority--which does not repay this with any flexibility in negotiating, by the way--Hamas would probably be ruling the West Bank by now, too.

That is the kind of scenario faced in various ways by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and other Arab countries. That is what they fear, not a citizens' spontaneous uprising that is easily defused by some minor changes at little cost in casualties.

The weakness of the Islamists--and in some ways Tunisian regime's  the less totalitarian approach, which at times was quite brutal but not so systematically so as some others--left the door open for moderate pro-democratic forces in a way that hasn't happened in any other Arabic-speaking country.

If you are interested in the remarkable story of how Tunisian Islam has differed so drastically from that in other countries, read my article about that 
here or a longer article by Lafif Lakhdar, "Moving From Salafi to Rationalist Education."
This factor gave more "secular" politics space, a space which in Egypt and Jordan, for example, is filled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

At any rate, there is no reason to believe that the events in Tunisia signal a regime change but only a partial leadership change.
What does it mean for other Arab countries? It calls to their attention the stress of serious economic difficulties given international problems and local mismanagement. The signal is that governments have to ease up a bit on their masses regarding pricing of basic commodities and other services. An obvious case in this regard is Jordan. But Jordan is crisscrossed by East Banker/Palestinian and pro-regime/Islamist factors that make it quite a different situation.

Remember that the notable thing about the Tunisian upheaval was that it was a spontaneous rebellion against an incompetent and corrupt government that had followed roughly the same policies for 55 years without a single serious challenge. Spontaneous rebellions are not going to happen if there are people clamoring to organize them for a specific political agenda beforehand. (The closest thing to that happening before was in Iran in 1978, but that's another story also.)

Incidentally, the thing to watch now is whether the Islamists profit from the discontent and the partial opening up of civil society to become much stronger. In that case, a future crisis might follow the pattern more common now in the region.

Incidentally, a senior U.S. diplomat told me about a meeting he had with Tunisia's (up until hours ago) president many years ago:

"I remember his telling me that he fights Islamism by increasing the number of government projects in districts where the Islamist movement might be getting stronger.

"As for Islamism he told me the following: 'They brainwash people. They brainwashed my mother. She called me and said: 'I thought I raised you to be a good Moslem. Why are you against God?' I had to tell her: 'You raised me to be a good Moslem and I am still a good Moslem. Don't believe what these people tell you.' But the brainwashing goes on and we have to deal with it."

Leaving aside the future of Islamism in Tunisia, though, this is not a turning point in Arab or Middle Eastern political history. It will, however, take its place as a precedent that will affect the thinking of governments, Islamist oppositions, and the small pro-democratic movements. It gives the governments cause to make adjustments, the Islamists ideas about posing as "good government" activists, and the democrats some hope for the future.

rcn International Affairs (GLORIA) Center

 Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to  You can read and subscribe to his blog at

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Please Write Jonathan Pollard

Jonathon Pollard provided classified documents to Israel, acting as an agent of Israel in 1984.
The information related to Arab plans to commit genocide upon the Jewish people of Israel.
He plead guilty to  one count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States.

No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally - only Jonathan Pollard. The median sentence for this offense is two to four years. Even agents who have committed far more serious offenses on behalf of hostile nations have not received such a harsh sentence.

Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Williams called the case "a fundamental miscarriage of justice," and wrote that Pollard's sentence should  be vacated.

Jonathan Pollard has been openly linked to the Middle East Peace Process since 1995.The Israeli government recognized long ago that Jonathan's sentence was unjust, that the documents he delivered to Israel did not remotely cause the damage that the prosecution claimed but never proved. As a result of this recognition, various Israeli administrations have negotiated, as a matter of basic fairness, to secure Jonathan's release.
Since 1995, within the context of the peace process, the US has repeatedly exploited the plight of Jonathan Pollard to extract heavy concessions from Israel.
However despite express promises made by the United States to Israel, Jonathan Pollard remains in jail.

On November 21, 2010, Jonathan Pollard entered the 26th year of his sentence with no end in sight.

Please write to Jonathon and express your solidarity with him and the Jewish people:

Jonathan Pollard #09185-016 
c/o FCI Butner 
P.O. Box 1000 
Butner, NC 
U.S.A 27509-1000 

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Shame of Islam

The Shame of Islam

The worst human rights abuse by Muslims, in Muslim countries, particularly the Arab States and Iran, is the brutal, daily, on- going dehumanization of women.
Read these observations by a Muslim educator:

Are Human Rights Compatible with Islam?
The Issue of the Rights of Women in Muslim Communities
By Riffat Hassan, Ph.D.

University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

Women are the targets of the most serious violations of human rights which occur in Muslim societies in general. Muslims say with great pride that Islam abolished female infanticide; true, but, it must also be mentioned that one of the most common crimes in a number of Muslim countries (e.g., in Pakistan) is the murder of women by their husbands. These so-called "honor-killings" are, in fact, extremely dishonorable and are frequently used to camouflage other kinds of crimes.

Female children are discriminated against from the moment of birth, for it is customary in Muslim societies to regard a son as a gift, and a daughter as a trial, from God. Therefore, the birth of a son is an occasion for celebration while the birth of a daughter calls for commiseration if not lamentation. Many girls are married when they are still minors, even though marriage in Islam is a contract and presupposes that the contracting parties are both consenting adults. Even though so much Qur'anic legislation is aimed at protecting the rights of women in the context of marriage[54] women cannot claim equality with their husbands. The husband, in fact, is regarded as his wife's gateway to heaven or hell and the arbiter of her final destiny. That such an idea can exist within the framework of Islam - which, in theory, rejects the idea of there being any intermediary between a believer and God - represents both a profound irony and a great tragedy.

Although the Qur'an presents the idea of what we today call a "no-fault" divorce and does not make any adverse judgements about divorce [55], Muslim societies have made divorce extremely difficult for women, both legally and through social penalties. Although the Qur'an states clearly that the divorced parents of a minor child must decide by mutual consultation how the child is to be raised and that they must not use the child to hurt or exploit each other[56], in most Muslim societies, women are deprived both of their sons (generally at age 7) and their daughters (generally at age 12). It is difficult to imagine an act of greater cruelty than depriving a mother of her children simply because she is divorced. Although polygamy was intended by the Qur'an to be for the protection of orphans and widows[57], in practice Muslims have made it the Sword of Damocles which keeps women under constant threat. Although the Qur'an gave women the right to receive an inheritance not only on the death of a close relative, but also to receive other bequests or gifts during the lifetime of a benevolent caretaker, Muslim societies have disapproved greatly of the idea of giving wealth to a woman in preference to a man, even when her need or circumstances warrant it. Although the purpose of the Qur'anic legislation dealing with women's dress and conduct[58], was to make it safe for women to go about their daily business (since they have the right to engage in gainful activity as witnessed by Surah 4: An-Nisa' :32 without fear of sexual harassment or molestation, Muslim societies have put many of them behind veils and shrouds and locked doors on the pretext of protecting their chastity, forgetting that according to the Qur'an, confinement to their homes was not a normal way of life for chaste women but a punishment for "unchastity".

As part of our price for defending the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, and all of the Arab States that depend on us, there should be a demand for immediate restoration of rights to women.

The Chomsky Hoax

The Chomsky Hoax
Exposing the Dishonesty of Noam Chomsky