“As a consequence, we build institutions on quicksand. We persuade ourselves that there is a way to fix the problem by defining it in a manner that satisfies our basic instincts. It is hard to imagine a religion that values death over life. There is an unwillingness to concede the underlying imperial desire in Islam is to spread caliphates across the globe using any means necessary. The definitions speak to us as tranquilizers. It simply feels better to deny the truth. Unfortunately the truth does not disappear like soap bubbles. Its ugly face appears and reappears.”


It has become fashionable among the cognoscenti to distinguish between Islam and Islamism. In fact, the Quilliam Foundation, focused on religious freedom, has promoted the distinction along with many quite reputable analysts of Islamic behavior. Presumably the latter believes in the imposition of faith over society by violence or law; while the former rejects violence conducting itself as any other religion might. This distinction has a hopeful ring to it since one may embrace the faith and abandon the ideology, thereby stabilizing presently unstable societies.

But suppose this is a distinction without a difference. After all, the Islamist is willing to die in order to spread the faith, his death a testament of his religious devotion. Most people would say this is fanatical, but from the Islamists’ perspective this is a tactic that intimidates religious rivals driving them to appease or convert. Without having to utter a threat, Jews and Christians know that any criticism of Islam, even mild criticism, could lead to retributive violence. This is what gives Islamism its advantage.

Islam, by contrast, is regarded as benign, a pathway to Allah like any other religion. But is this true? Admittedly most Muslims are not violent, yet it is also the case that violence perpetrated against infidels is clearly suggested in the Koran. Koranic dogma indicates there is only one true religion and its adherents have an obligation to spread the faith.


http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/obamacare-whodunit Michelle, in the Oval Office with a candlestick?….. Guess whose college chum landed the no-bid contract for the ObamaCare website software, acing out three other aspirants? On, now to Kathleen Sebelius: Please, please–PUH-LEEZ!–keep her, Mr. President.  She is the perfect exemplar of all ObamaCare represents: pray that Sebelius KEEPS her job.  She is part […]

The Great Bagel(ing) Mystery Has Been Solved! True Story of How a Tasty Noun Became an Odd Verb as in to “Bagel” Someone



Not every column sees a mystery cleared up so quickly. Two weeks ago I appealed to you for help regarding the origin of the expression “to bagel” in the sense of subtly letting someone know you are Jewish or ascertaining whether he or she is. One of several responses received comes from Montreal-born human rights activist Hillel Neuer, executive director of the organization U.N. Watch. He writes:

“The expression ‘to bagel someone’ was created by my best friend David (Doodie) Miller in Montreal, circa 1992. Popularized by our group of friends via word of mouth, it was first documented in print by Jessica Levine Kupferberg (wife of my other best friend from Montreal, Dr. David Kupferberg) who wrote up the matter in 2007, on the website Aish.com.“What happened was this. As one of the few kippa-clad students on his university campus in Montreal, Doodie — who studied Theater and Political Science at Concordia University — couldn’t help but notice the recurring phenomenon of Jews eagerly seeking to communicate their Jewishness to him in various ways. As he related it, a fellow student in a classroom who showed no obvious signs of being Jewish would suddenly motion to him and whisper, ‘The teacher reminds me of my zayde.’ A few minutes later, the same student nonchalantly let out a krechtz and groaned in a faux Yiddish accent : ‘Oy! My back!’ And again, turning toward Doodie: ‘This class? It’s lasting longer than my Pesach seder.’”

“Doodie would regale us with these and other real (and embellished) incidents. Our group of Modern Orthodox friends immediately recognized the phenomenon from our personal experience and offered our own stories in return. I shared my account of an unknown woman on campus who, standing next to me as we waited for an elevator, randomly asked me, ‘How was your fast?’ (I’m not even sure that this was right after Yom Kippur.)”

“Doodie’s theory of all this was that when Jews on campus and elsewhere would see our kippas, they would instinctively want to identify, reach out, and connect. Montreal, after all, is a Jewishly traditional community. Doodie called this ‘The Bagel Theory of Judaism.’ ‘There I was in class,’ he would say, ‘and this guy starts to bagel me.’”

Response to “Evangelicals and Israel” :Robert Nicholson-Fervent Friends, or Fickle Ones?


“Despite what some of my respondents say, something fundamental is changing inside the evangelical movement, and it bodes ill for Israel.”

In setting out to write an open letter calling for a strategic partnership between American Jews and evangelicals in support of Israel, I was aware that I was venturing into troubled waters. Though many Jews and Christians recognize the link that binds them, many more, and for many reasons, remain hostile to any prospect of cooperation. I braced myself for an inbox of emails decrying my naiveté or blasting my motives.

What I received instead was a cornucopia of letters from Jews and Christians who welcomed my message, posted thoughtful comments about it on Mosaic and elsewhere, and disseminated the essay widely in social media. I’m enormously grateful to every reader who took the time to participate in this discussion. Indeed, what I’ve seen makes me hopeful that Jewish-Christian relations in the U.S. may be turning a corner.

Most welcome of all were the responses from Elliott Abrams, Wilfred M. McClay, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and James Nuechterlein: four thinkers whom I deeply respect and who endorsed the main substance of my argument while simultaneously highlighting aspects that I either minimized or left out. Elliott Abrams calls for full-scale Jewish-Christian collaboration. Wilfred McClay, riffing on Irving Kristol, stresses our disparate loyalties to “what we were born with” while simultaneously calling on Jews and Christians to contemplate the possibility of a partnership beyond mere pragmatism. Gertrude Himmelfarb uses the fascinating story of the indefatigable 19th-century British Zionist Lord Shaftesbury to underscore the historical roots of American evangelical Zionism but also to raise the concern that maybe, just maybe, inflamed Gentile zeal for Zion is not always good for the Jews. James Nuechterlein points out that Bible-based support for Israel, however admirable, isn’t the only kind of support there is.



Hillary Clinton is going to run for president in 2016. Granted, she is exhibiting even more coyness than most presidential prospects, and yes, the media are filled with those asking “Will she or won’t she?” But the only real question is: How could she not run?

How can someone who has spent a life in politics and who sees a clear path to becoming president not run? Mrs. Clinton started her career four decades ago, working with the House Judiciary Committee staff during Watergate. She served as first lady in Arkansas, as an active and highly visible first lady in Washington, as a U.S. senator and as secretary of state. She may have the most diverse political experience of any nominee for president in the last 20 years.

How can a feminist icon not run when she has a solid chance to become the first female president of the United States? Mrs. Clinton surely knows how close she came in 2008. Had she won the Democratic nomination, she would have almost certainly ridden a feminist wave to a victory over John McCain, and she’d likely be in her second term now. She recognizes the election of a female president would mean something for future generations.

Her husband seems to want her to run, and there is no indication their daughter is against it. Eight years will have passed since 2008, and at close to 70, she’d be older than recent nominees other than Mr. McCain. But assuming her health does not deteriorate, she should seem fit for office. She’s certainly tough enough. The 2008 nomination process and her sometimes rocky tenure as first lady would lead one to think there is no new scandal or embarrassment—involving her or her husband—that could come to light between now and 2016 and be large enough to derail a campaign.

It is difficult to think of any possible Democrat opponent who could best Mrs. Clinton for the nomination. A recent poll of likely Democratic voters in the important primary state of New Hampshire shows Mrs. Clinton with 64%, more than four times as much support as the next four names combined. True, it’s doubtful many people saw Barack Obama as a nomination threat in 2005, and it is possible some very strong candidates will emerge between now and 2016. But Mrs. Clinton starts with quite an advantage.


http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304200804579163631669139434?mod=Opinion_newsreel_8 As Congress honors Britain’s leader, you have to wonder what he’d make of today’s isolationists and leakers. In January of 1941, Winston Churchill dined at a Glasgow hotel with his physician, Sir Charles Wilson (later Lord Moran ), and his secretary of state for Scotland, Tom Johnston. The other member of the party was […]

Bill de Blasio Wants to Roll Back Reforms That Made New York Livable.


The Occupy movement that in 2011 pitched street camps in the U.S. from Wall Street to San Francisco posited a tale of two Americas and class resentment unseen for many decades. The movement faded, but if the opinion polls are right, New York voters are about to elect the Occupy movement to run America’s largest city.

Bill de Blasio, the Democratic nominee, is leading Republican Joe Lhota by more than 40 points. Conventional wisdom holds that this is happening mainly because New Yorkers are “tired” of Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Losing access to 16-ounce cups of soda is insufficient reason for what is likely to happen to New York. The Big Apple is on the verge of electing a man whose explicit agenda is the repudiation of the conservative reforms achieved by a generation of city leaders from both parties, which transformed New York from a terrifying urban joke into the nation’s municipal crown jewel.



The president didn’t know the NSA was spying on world leaders, but he’s found time for at least 146 rounds of golf.

Is there a method to President Obama’s style of leadership, his methods of decision-making, his habits of attention, oversight and follow-through? In recent months I’ve been keeping a file of stories that might suggest an answer. See what you think.

“President Barack Obama went nearly five years without knowing his own spies were bugging the phones of world leaders. Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn’t have been practical to brief him on all of them.

“They added that the president was briefed on and approved of broader intelligence-collection ‘priorities,’ but that those below him make decisions about specific targets.”

—The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 28, 2013

“HealthCare.gov is the highest-profile experiment yet in the Obama administration’s effort to modernize government by using technology, with the site intended to become a user-friendly pathway to new health insurance options for millions of uninsured Americans.

“‘This was the president’s signature project and no one with the right technology experience was in charge,’ said Bob Kocher, a former White House aide who helped draft the law.”

—The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 28, 2013

“Tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have grown sharply in recent months. President Barack Obama authorized the CIA to provide limited arms to carefully vetted Syrian rebels, but it took months for the program to commence. . . .

“One Western diplomat described Saudi Arabia as eager to be a military partner in what was to have been the U.S.-led military strikes on Syria. As part of that, the Saudis asked to be given the list of military targets for the proposed strikes. The Saudis indicated they never got the information, the diplomat said.”

—The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 21, 2013

Mohshin Habib: Malaysia: The Word “Allah” Only For Muslims

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4037/malaysia-allah-muslims “It is our judgement that there is no infringement of any constitutional rights.” — Chief Judge Mohammed Apandi Ali “It is a retrograde step in the development of law in relation to the fundamental liberty of religious minorities.” — Reverend Lawrence Andrews Editor, The Herald In possibly the first time ever in the world’s […]



While the company behind the dysfunctional HealthCare.gov was virtually unknown to the American public until this month, critics say the Obama administration should have known this multibillion-dollar firm had a checkered history with other government contracts.

In projects stretching from Canada to Hawaii, parent company CGI Group and its subsidiaries ran into complaints about its performance. And this was while, and in some cases before, CGI Federal was paid millions, along with other contractors, to create the ObamaCare website.

“The morning I heard CGI was behind [Healthcare.gov], I said, my God, no wonder that thing doesn’t work,” said James Bagnola, a Texas-based corporate consultant who was hired by the Hawaii Department of Taxation (DOTAX) in 2008.

CGI Technologies and Solutions, Inc., another subsidiary, had been responsible for overhauling the IT systems for the Hawaii tax department, and then, developing its new delinquent tax collection services. Not only was the software and implementation problematic, but the second contract, signed in 2009, paid CGI millions for work it did not complete, according to a state audit completed in 2010 on the matter.

Still, they hold contracts all over the Hawaii government. Hawaii’s Health Connector, the state’s new health exchange for providing insurance options under ObamaCare, hired CGI to build its website. Like HealthCare.gov, the Hawaii portal had immediate problems when it launched on Oct. 1, but those have since been rectified and so far, according to Health Connector officials who spoke with FoxNews.com, they are not blaming CGI.

Bagnola doesn’t buy it, saying when they overhauled DOTAX’s IT, “the system was broken all the time.”