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July 2012


Friday Afternoon Roundup – London Bridge is Falling Down

This entire mini-affair is an example of the rules we are playing by. Scandals will be manufactured and transformed into narratives in the blink of an eye. A Republican candidate either has to be completely robotic or so charismatic and natural that no one cares about any of the attacks made against him.

The narrative is that Romney’s London trip is full of gaffes. The reality is that Romney simply commented on actual events. The same events being covered widely in the same British newspapers playing up the story.

“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” Romney told NBC. “There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials… that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

Obviously when you have to dispatch thousands of soldiers to fill in for a hole in your security that is not a good sign and there’s a long list of problems with the London Olympics.

For that matter here’s a story from the Washington Post from ten days ago hitting on the same theme.

“Ten days to the Games — what could go wrong?” a sarcastic headline in Britain’s Guardian newspaper asked Tuesday. The answer, as this Olympic host nation has discovered, is: Quite a lot.

Even as athletes begin arriving in London for the 2012 Summer Games, Olympic organizers are coming under fire over bungled security staffing and other issues that have prompted the British media and opposition lawmakers to already declare the event a “fiasco.”

This is much stronger language than Romney used.

Romney is a candidate making a global trip to show off his diplomatic skills, so he probably should not have commented on the problems with the London Olympics… then again Obama should probably not have compared his bad bowling to the Special Olympics.

London Mayor Boris Johnson attacked Romney to warm up the crowd, which is understandable, this is the sort of thing that local politicians do. Prime Minister Cameron however reacted in a way that truly is a gaffe.

“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” the prime minister said. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

That’s a rather stupid thing to say considering that he may have to deal with a President Romney next year and it’s not as if Romney had set anything offensive about England. Salt Lake City is a good deal smaller than London, it’s about the size of York, but dragging them into a completely unnecessary fight is much worse diplomacy.

Johnson and Cameron welcomed a chance to turn from domestic criticism to xenophobia and the liberal media has hysterically seized on the opportunity. And yet despite all the screams of “Gaffe”, no one can quite explain the gaffe.

Here’s the narrative…

Elevating his tendency for gaffes to the international stage, Mr Romney said that because of concerns about security, it was “hard to know just how well it will turn out”.

…but where’s the gaffe? There isn’t one. Just a credible statement of opinion widely reflected in the same papers attacking him for that gaffe.

And this is the same treatment that has been prepped for Romney in every country he visits. Molehills will be turned into mountains and the same will scream GAFFE GAFFE GAFFE until it’s hoarse.

(…side note to Brits. If this were being held in New York or Chicago, the way Bloomberg and Obama wanted, I’m sure it would have ended up a complete mess.)



“The answer is yes. But it is being replaced by a new phenomenon perhaps best described as a global, Islamist-led campaign for the nullifying of Jewish sovereignty.”

There is a strong case for a claim that the Fatah-led Palestinian national movement, as we have known it from the late 1960s onward, is fading from the scene.

While in practical terms the Palestinian national movement is an increasing irrelevance, the symbolic cause of Palestine nevertheless retains great emotional appeal both for the Muslim world as a whole and for a wide spectrum of Western leftists. The result: a new, loose, global, Islamist-led movement is emerging in its stead to carry the Palestinian banner.

The failed peace process of the 1990s indicated the central dilemma for the Palestinian national movement. It was not strong enough to achieve its maximum goal of destroying what it regarded as the illegitimate state of Israel. At the same time, with the defeat of Zionism at the very center of its worldview, it proved incapable of making the compromises necessary for a peaceful partition of the disputed area.

Following Yasir Arafat’s death in 2004, the Palestinian unity which he had created and bequeathed to his people did not long survive. The 2007 split between Arafat’s Fatah and the Palestinian Islamists of Hamas now has the look of permanence about it.

Hamas is entrenched in its semi-sovereign Gaza fiefdom. As a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, its natural partner in the neighborhood is the Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy in adjacent Egypt, rather than its Ramallah-based secular rivals.



Just another Juma in the Arab Spring.

Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, met in Cairo today with Gaza’s “prime minister,” Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas — the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. As PJM’s David Goldman observes, Morsi is getting ready to have the red carpet rolled out for him by the Obama White House in September. He should definitely have Hamas talking points down by then since he also had a powwow with the terrorist organization’s “political bureau” chief, Khaled el-Meshal, last week.


http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/27/federal-deficit-1-trillion-fifth-straight-year/ BE HAPPY, DON’T WORRY OBAMA’S AD SAYS HE HAS A PLAN…..RSK The federal government will flirt with its fifth-straight trillion-dollar deficit next year and is still on track to notch $25 billion in debt within a decade, the Obama administration predicted on Friday as it released an update of the country’s fiscal picture. Spending […]



To modify Lord Acton, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, but aldermanic power corrupts all der more manically. Proco “Joe” Moreno is Alderman of the First Ward of Chicago, and last week, in a city with an Aurora-size body count every weekend, his priority was to take the municipal tire-iron to the owners of a chain of fast-food restaurants. “Because of this man’s ignorance,” said Alderman Moreno, “I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward.”

“This man’s ignorance”? You mean, of the City of Chicago permit process? Zoning regulations? Health and safety ordinances? No, Alderman Moreno means “this man’s ignorance” of the approved position on same-sex marriage. “This man” is Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, and a few days earlier he had remarked that “we are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives” – which last part suggests he is as antipathetic to no-fault divorce and other heterosexual assaults on matrimony as he is to more recent novelties such as gay marriage. But no matter. Alderman Moreno does not allege that Chick-fil-A discriminates in its hiring practices or in its customer service. Nor does he argue that business owners should not be entitled to hold opinions: The Muppets, for example, have reacted to Mr. Cathy’s observations by announcing that they’re severing all ties with Chick-fil-A. Did you know that the Muppet Corporation has a position on gay marriage? Well, they do. But Miss Piggy and the Swedish Chef would be permitted to open a business in the First Ward of Chicago because their opinion on gay marriage happens to coincide with Alderman Moreno’s. It’s his ward, you just live in it. When it comes to lunch options, he’s the chicken supremo, and don’t you forget it.



Muslim Mob Rule in Marseilles: Police Attacked While Doing Burka Check, Attackers Released Without Charge

There have been a few attacks on police in France and Belgium while they were conducting burka checks. But this is the first time the state has taken the side of the attackers. With a 40% Muslim demographic in Marseilles and 93% of Muslims voting Socialist, the police can expect a lot more betrayal from Socialist politicians, including the new Hollande government.

In the restive port city of Marseille, police fear that the release of four people arrested for allegedly attacking officers during an ID check on a woman wearing an Islamic veil will undermine their fight against violent crime in the city.

By FRANCE 24 (text)

Marseille police say three of its officers were injured in the early hours of July 25 when a mob of some 50 people tried to prevent them from checking the identity of a woman who was wearing a full Islamic veil.

Under a controversial law passed in 2010, wearing a full veil or covering one’s face in a public place is illegal in France and offenders must submit to ID checks.

According to the police, the woman was stopped just after midnight near a city mosque and refused to cooperate with the officers.

A man accompanying her as well as a large group of bystanders came to her aid and three officers were “lightly injured” in a scuffle.

After police reinforcements arrived, four people, including the 18-year-old woman named only as “Louise-Marie”, were arrested for allegedly assaulting the officers – but were promptly released with a warning on the orders of the city prosecutor.

According to an AFP source, the decision was “a gesture of appeasement during the holy [Islamic] month of Ramadan.”


“What kind of message does this send out?” asked David-Olivier Reverdy, head of the Alliance police union. “We are absolutely astonished.”

He told FRANCE 24 the prosecutor’s decision would have “heavy consequences” in a city where “gun crime and ultra-violence is common” and where relations between city residents and local law enforcement are “particularly tense”.

“The prosecutor has given carte blanche to criminals in Marseille,” he said. “The message is that they can behave with impunity. It is extremely worrying.”


http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3212/bbc-olympics-israel It is ironic that the BBC should be aware of this Palestinian declaration, which has never been implemented — a 1988 claim to Jerusalem — but unaware of the 3000 years of Jewish history, in which Jerusalem has been the cardinal and capital feature politically, religiously and historically. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has […]



ENCINITAS, California — When students return to University of California classes in the Fall, those who are involved in or interested in the debates about Israel or Palestinians will have two new reports to chew on. Similarly, faculty who may be affected by the reports will have to face tensions between their own career interests and ideological leanings. The two reports offer quite a contrast.

On July 9, the University of California Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion issued its reports on matters affecting Jewish and Muslim students. The Advisory Council was established in June 2010 by UC President Mark Yudoff following a number of incidents at UC campuses of harassment of Jewish students and speakers and castigation of Israel by pro-Palestinian campus groups. Following a progress report, it was decided by the Council to also do a report on the position of Muslim students.

There are no reports of a split among the Advisory Council members, indeed none may be characterized as conservative. However, the composition of the subgroups that issued the two reports indicates a notable difference in degrees of expertise and objectivity. Similarly, the fact that there are two reports issued by two subgroups of the Advisory Council, rather than one signed by all, does not lead me to see unanimity of interests. That may be just that different Council members did different tasks, but a unified report would lead to less contention about the recommendations.

The report on Jewish students is by the president of the California NAACP, Alice Huffman, and a renowned attorney who is also a national leader of the Anti-Defamation League, Rick Barton. The report on Muslim students was compiled by two Muslims, Jihad Turk, Director of Religious Affairs of the Islamic Council of Southern California, and Armaan Rowther, an undergrad Public Health student at UC Irvine; Nan Senzaki, a Japanese-American clinical social worker at UC Davis with professional interests in diversity issues; and Tyrone Howard, an education professor at UCLA and director of the Black Male Institute.

The report on Jewish students http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/documents/campus_climate_jewish.pdf states: “The anti-Zionism and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movements and other manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment and activity create significant issues through themes and language which portray Israel and, many times, Jews in ways which project hostility, engender a feeling of isolation, and undermine Jewish students’ sense of belonging and engagement with outside communities….What came through in our discussions, however, was a sense from Jewish students and others of a double standard when it comes to the themes and language used by those protesting Israel and its policies. Specifically, Jewish students described the use of language and imagery which they believe would not be tolerated by faculty and administration, or would at least be denounced with more force, if similar themes and language were directed at other groups on campus.”

Although Jewish students are diverse in their views, including of Israel, prominent on many campuses, and active on social justice issues, “Jewish students detailed how being a supporter of Israel can limit those opportunities. Many described being denied access to work with organizations dedicated to issues of social justice specifically because of the stance those non-Jewish student organizations have taken regarding Israel.” Particularly, Jewish students pointed out “fear and intimidation were an annual occurrence” with regard to “a movement which targets Israel and Zionism through an ongoing campaign of protests, anti-Israel/anti-Zionism “weeks,” and, on some campuses, the use of the academic platforms to denounce the Jewish state and Jewish nationalist aspirations….On every campus pro-Zionist Jewish students described an environment in which they feel isolated and many times harassed and intimidated by students, faculty and outsiders who participate in these activities. Most often students expressed the perception of a double standard, insensitivity, and a lack of understanding on the part of faculty and administrators regarding the depth of what Jewish students experience as a result of a movement that is directed at the Jewish state using imagery and accusations evocative of historical campaigns against Jews.” Specific instances are cited.

Faculty and administrators come in for criticism as adding to the problem: “Students also described encounters with faculty in class and outside which they believe raise serious questions regarding faculty members’ objectivity regarding the conflict in the Middle East. They described instances of overt hostility toward Jewish or other students who try to express contrary viewpoints on the subject. Students questioned how these activities can be reconciled with the desire of the universities to promote scholarship and Principles of Community.

One of the most significant issues expressed by Jewish students, faculty and community members is their difficulty with sponsorship by university departments, campus organizations and others of events which are very clearly designed to promote themes which are biased and unbalanced in their portrayal of Zionism and Israel. The students indicated that University administrative offices, such as multicultural or cross cultural centers, sponsor student organization events that are dominated by groups adopting anti-Zionist platforms.”

The report states that Jewish students do distinguish between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, and are respectful of First Amendment freedoms of speech. “Notwithstanding, pro-Zionist Jewish students and faculty perceive a difference in how the movement against Israel and Zionism is viewed and addressed by those in faculty and administration responsible for dealing with campus climate. There is a perceived gap in the level of appreciation by administrators for how the Jewish community sees these protests. That is reflected in the absence of Jewish student representation on the most of the individual campus Climate Councils.” The report concludes on this, “The Principles of Community operate under the assumption that not all speech is protected. Words and accusations which at their core demean, defame and degrade must be addressed and denounced.”

The report’s recommendations include a suggestion that the University of California should review its policies on university sponsorship of “biased events”; “UC should push its current harassment and nondiscrimination provisions further, clearly define hate speech in its guidelines, and seek opportunities to prohibit hate speech on campus;” and most importantly as a recognition of how far many pro-Palestinians on campuses have strayed from civil discourse, “UC should adopt a UC definition of anti-Semitism and provide model protocol for campuses to identify contemporary incidents of anti-Semitism, which may be sanctioned by University non-discrimination or anti-harassment policies.” The report offered, for example, the European Union’s working definition of anti-Semitism.

Ken Marcus, president of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, who when at the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division extended Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to protect Jewish students from harassment on campus, in a Jerusalem Post op-ed http://brandeiscenter.com/index.php?/publications/research_opinion_full/fighting_anti_semitism_at_the_u_of_california called it a “remarkable report.” Marcus commented, “For a university to solve its anti-Semitism problem, it needs to acknowledge that it has a problem, and doing so means adopting a clear definition which describes the situations that may properly be called anti-Semitic. These are important, long overdue reforms.”

The report on Muslim and Arab students http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/documents/campus_climate_muslim-arab.pdf takes a – to say the least – a different tack. It begins with a broad-brush assertion that sets the tone: “Islamophobia and xenophobia seemingly have since [9/11] become commonplace in American society. This is a national context that does not stop at the boundaries of a college campus.”

This contradicts FBI statistics http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/08/27/99767/hate-crimes-against-muslims-rare.html of hate crimes which show a relatively small incidence against Muslims, and a disproportionately high incidence against Jews.

The report singles out several severe critics of Islam or Islamists, as if indicative of all, and, thereby ignores the preponderance of commenters, who are moderate in their analyses, such as this article in the influential libertarian Reason magazine. http://reason.com/archives/2011/07/18/fear-of-a-muslim-america



“Western governments have yet to learn that the more they appease Islamist regimes, the weaker they appear to them, the less they fear us, and the more dangerous they become.”

When Samuel Huntington wrote his 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, politicians considered it to be off the wall – that is, until a beautiful Tuesday morning in New York City on September 11, 2001. They didn’t understand it then, and they still don’t.

We in the West know what we desire, so we project that desire onto others who come from an entirely different culture and mindset – and to make matters worse, we develop policies based on these delusionary paradigms. That’s what we’ve done vis-à-vis the Arab world, and especially the so-called “Arab Spring”.

As products of the European Renaissance, we assumed that the vast majority of the Arab world wanted liberal democracy, free enterprise and all the benefits that come with it like freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, gender equality, and the like. The reality however is quite different.

Today, the greatest threat facing world peace is the enormous cultural abyss that separates the Islamic world from the Western world. So vast are the cultural and societal differences that separate us, that Western leaders should not have been surprised when the Arab Spring turned out to be an Arab Winter.

Elections, for better or for worse, are determined by demographics and in Egypt, the demographics and popular thinking were clear long before its parliamentary and presidential elections. Either we just weren’t listening or, if we were, we drew the wrong conclusions.

Take for example two Gallup polls conducted in Egypt back in 2008 and again in 2010 …. 95% of Egyptians want Islam to have greater influence in politics; 64% want Islamic Sharia law to be the basis for legislation; 54% support the separation of men and women in public places; 82% support the stoning of women as punishment for adultery, and 84% endorse the death penalty for apostates who leave Islam.

It is attitudes such as these that have now delivered Egypt into the arms of Islam, or, more specifically, into the arms of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, who, in the space of a few years, will begin introducing Sharia into the daily lives of almost 90 million Egyptians.

A fundamental aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood’s philosophy speaks of restoring its ancient Islamic Caliphate most notably in Southern Spain, but the irony is that it can’t possibly do so without opening Egyptian society to new ideas and fostering an Islamic Renaissance – something both the Muslim Brotherhood and its Salafist supporters are ideologically and religiously opposed to and fundamentally incapable of doing in any event.