This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

There Goes Israel Again

"The Israeli intelligence was putting pressure on him. They kept calling him every day and wanted him to work for them. He became suspicious of everybody and thought everyone was a collaborator."
"He hadn't slept for three days [at the time of the attack]. Last February he was arrested along with his father and held in a cell for 20 days without being allowed to see a lawyer."
Ines Shaloudi, 43, Israeli Palestinian, mother of Abdel-Rahman Shaloudi

"Netanyahu is provoking Palestinians to react."
"He is dragging his own people to disaster and calamity. The decision to demolish houses will not bring calm to the Israeli people."
Abdel Karim Shaloudi, 62
A relative of Abdelrahman Shaludi, a Palestinian who killed two Israelis with his car last month, displays his portrait inside his family home after it was razed by Israeli authorities in east Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood on November 19, 2014 (photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

What, pray tell, will bring calm to the Israeli people, in the sense that Palestinians could become becalmed and willing to live in peace with Jews? That is the question bedevilling the minds of Israeli government authorities and security and intelligence officials. Just about everything has been attempted to placate and assure the Palestinians that Jews wish to live in peace alongside them. Nothing has worked to date.

Nothing that looks even remotely like an even tentative solution has reared its friendly head, beckoning a tryout. "Occupation" could be entirely dispensed with; it is healthy neither for the occupier nor the occupied and that obvious fact is not lost on Israel. Yet, what to do with a population that lives and dies as resentful, victimhood- and revenge-obsessed, whose pathology is the Nakba of their great misfortune.

Israel's and Jewry's nakba, of course occurred on several occasions in the long distant past. After thousands of years of existence as a people and treasuring the capital of their nation in Jerusalem, and building splendid houses of worship to their jealous god who would have no idols to insult his ineffable being, exile was their fate in life. They went forward, unwillingly but of dire necessity to preserve the nation and established themselves all over the world as a singular presence.

Only to return to the place of their beginnings when the world complacently gave witness to a mass extermination attempt. The Palestinians-come-lately cling to the bitterness of exile even while many share the reality of the new nation with all the privileges attendant on citizenship. Even while they benefit from that reality they treasure the image of self as victim and pine for a return to what had been, envisioning with the help of their leaders, the land restored, the Jews defeated.

So what can a government do to persuade a people for whom tribal enmities and hatred and aggression motivate them to defy and deny the authority of a government that gives them the benefits of citizenship only to have it all flung back in their faces when one violent atrocity after another demonstrates the contempt those citizens have for Jews compelling Arabs to live in a democracy?

The solution, once used, then disused, and now returned to use; to destroy the home in which bitterness and aggression and hatred live. And so it was decreed, the houses where terrorists live are to be once again demolished. Bearing in mind that the Palestinian Authority allocates funding to the families of 'martyrs' who 'resist' the 'occupiers' and that additional funding comes from entities such as Qatar and Turkey who honour those sacrifices, the families will live in better accommodation.

Attempting to persuade Palestinians to surrender their anger, their unappeasable rage which can only be relieved by slaughter, has not proven very productive. Should they ask the Shaloudis, for example, what their solution might be, the answer would be simple enough: disappear, go away, leave the land to the Palestinians, then all will be well.

And we can see how well all would be merely by glancing over at Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia ... for starters. Among other issues: Judenrein.

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Canada/U.S. Trade Relations

"Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land down to the Gulf where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn't have an impact on U.S. gas prices." 2014
"Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward." [2013]
"Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that's true. The most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline, which might take a year or two, and then after that we're talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people. A blip relative to the need." [2013]
"I have to constantly push back against this idea that somehow the Keystone pipeline is either this massive jobs bill for the United States or is something lowering gas prices."
President Barack Obama
Seems the American public no longer hangs on the words of their president. He has stated some assurances so confidently in the past only to have them flap against his face when they've been proven wrong, wrong, wrong. American unions in the industry are all for giving approval to the pipeline. The majority of American citizens are clearly in favour of the pipeline proceeding. He isn't listening to them.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted for the ninth time to approve the Keystone XL pipeline last Friday, and the vote to approve was lost by one vote. Another bill will surface in favour of approval at the turn of the year in 2015 when the new Republican House members will be sworn in, after the recent election that saw the Republican candidates sweep the polls, making no secret that this issue is of top importance to them and to their economy.

This is President Obama's courting of the environmental groups that have given him huge support and continue to invest their interests in his ongoing reciprocation in his quest to cement his legacy as he prepares to leave office. It seems so strange that a Democratic President and a Democratic cohort is averse to approving a project that will, regardless of statements to the contrary, materially benefit the U.S. Whereas a Republican Congress and Senate would react differently.

Canada's politics and values, sometimes appearing close to those of the U.S., are more in tune with Democratic rather than Republican values, so there's a strange disconnect there; Democrats tend to be more protectionist, contrary to conventional wisdom and when it comes to trade matters between each others' largest trading partners and continental neighbours, it seems the Republicans are more friendly to Canada's needs and aspirations.

"What's in it for us? The dirtiest oil in the world, so Canadians can make more money?" Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey claims KXL would profit Canada sending oil through the U.S. to the Gulf Coast to be shipped to Europe, Latin America and China since "they will pay more for this oil than the United States." But it's been really swell for the U.S. to pay an artificially low price for Canadian Oil per barrel up to now, since they've had Canada over a barrel.

Canadian oil will be shipped out, primarily to its U.S. market, but by rail until a pipeline is built.

Rail conveyance of crude and other oil products is not as safe as pipeline delivery. And the claims of carbon pollution coming out of the oilsands in Alberta have been reduced in impact by the U.S.'s own investigative conclusions. Canada's portion of air pollution comes nowhere near that of the United States, the world's greatest environmental polluter; the impact of carbon emissions from the oilsands is comparable to 300,000 vehicles on the road in the U.S.

"Misery follows the tar sands. We have seen a tremendous rise in domestic production. It is not tar sands oil. It is not filthy oil. Conventional crude oil is different than the tar sands. The tar sands have eleven times more sulphur and nickel, six times more nitrogen, and five times more lead. Before we invite a 45% increase in this filthy, dirty oil, let's take a look at what this tar sands is", fulminated Barbara Boxer, Democratic Senator for California.

More or less overlooking the fact that crude oil derived from Venezuela is just about exactly the same in its 'yuck' content. And forgetting that the widely-used coal burned in the United States is overwhelmingly far more injurious to the environment from its sulphur dioxide emissions than the oil product that Democrats are so contemptuously dismissive of, because it's Canadian 'tarsands' oil.
Because, in point of fact, it's Canadian.

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"Separating Sense From Nonsense"

"These alternative people tell you about conventional doctors just poisoning you and slashing you, and then they offer a kinder, gentler therapy. But the problem is the kinder, gentler therapy doesn't have any evidence behind it."
Dr. Joe Schwarcz, director, McGill University Office for Science and Society

"Its [Hippocrates Health Institute] programs [are] a veritable cornucopia of nearly every quackery on the planet."
Dr. David Gorski, surgical oncologist, Wayne State University: Science-Based Medicine website

"The real clash here is between superstition and modern medicine, pure and simple ... This is not about culture, it is about physiology."
Deyoyonatheh, Six Nations medical specialist; doctorate of medicine from McMaster University
Hippocrates, father of medicine

Hippocrates, he of blessed memory, though no one's memory stretches that far back into ancient Greek antiquity, would be appalled that his name has been attached to the worst instance of modern medical quackery-for-profit. Born in Asia Minor around 460 B.C., his father a physician-priest of the day, he himself studied the relation between natural processes and disease:
"... signs and symptoms of a disease were caused by the natural reactions of the body to the disease process; and that the chief role of the physician was to aid the natural resistance of the body to overcome the metabolic imbalance and restore health and harmony to the organism..." 

In his own wisdom, or lack of same, Justice Gethin Edward, himself a member of the Grand River Six Nations in Brantford, upheld aboriginal rights under the Constitution to reflect the right of parents to refuse modern conventional treatment that would, in this particular instance of an 11-year-old aboriginal girl, treat her leukemia with a protocol that is 90% effective for patients, in favour of using traditional aboriginal medicine.

Which led the parents of the child to take her to Florida to an 'alternative health clinic' that is licensed by the State only as a massage parlour, but which advertises itself as a clinic treating cancer through wheatgrass consumption, raw-food diets and "infrared saunas". This is by no means the first time that the Brant Child Welfare authorities were asked to intervene and chose to wash their hands of responsibility in the life-saving treatment of an aboriginal child suffering from leukemia.

The Judge's reasoning that aboriginal rights are protected to the extent that they have the right to refuse Western medical treatment in favour of traditional aboriginal treatment doesn't hold up legally. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, usually in favour of aboriginal rights, has drawn the line where the life of a child is so clearly endangered.

Aboriginal rights can be restricted in areas where "significant risk of harm or death when a parent refuses or is unable to consent to medical treatment" is concerned.

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Damning With Faint Praise

"I don't want to make your government's life harder, and I've heard rumours that another package is on the way. You're right, [question of delays in delivering aid] it's taken too long, but that's the nature of bureaucracy in a peaceful nation; you have procedures."
"But being at war, people are dying. We're thankful for your help, but you have to be sure people will be alive to receive the help. So when I was told there are procedures, clauses, lawyers working on it, I said: 'Seriously? We know that you're helping -- can you please do it a bit faster? Look at CNN or BBC; people are dying right now."
"I'm sure people will think I'm now being diplomatic, but I do appreciate all the help Canada has given."
Ukraine Ambassador to Canada Vadym Prystaiko
Vadym Prystaiko, the outgoing Ukrainian ambassador to Canada, is disappointed Stephen Harper's government sent its CF-18s to fight ISIS but refused military support for Ukraine during its time of crisis. Prystaiko and Harper are shown here during a joint photo call in the early days of the crisis in March.
Vadym Prystaiko, the outgoing Ukrainian ambassador to Canada, is disappointed Stephen Harper's government sent its CF-18s to fight ISIS but refused military support for Ukraine during its time of crisis. Prystaiko and Harper are shown here during a joint photo call in the early days of the crisis in March. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Ambassador Prystaiko speaks in an interview with a local newspaper publishing in Canada's capital of his very keen appreciation on behalf of his country, for the support that Canada has given Ukraine in its trials and tribulations, fighting both a subversive, covert war with Russia and a very overt war with Russian-speaking citizens whose loyalty is foremost with Russia and not with the government in Kyiv. That Moscow has been training, arming and sending troops under cover to aid the secessionists is an open secret.

He mentions how gratifying it was, as a diplomat himself, to see Canada's diplomats and its Prime Minister and ministers of the Cabinet speak out loudly in Ukraine's defence, openly criticizing Moscow and in particular Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Although he makes no mention of the fact that Canada can boast one of the world's largest expatriate demographics of Canadians of Ukrainian descent, he does mention support Ukraine received from Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

And as well his personal appreciation that many Canadian companies have stepped forward to offer their own assistance, whether equipment or food surpluses. When Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko came to Ottawa in September on an official visit to meet at length with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he received heartfelt reassurances that Ottawa fully supported Ukraine in its existential mission to ward off Russian aggression and the effects of Moscow's incitement to rebellion.

But his request for Canada to supply combat gear or weapons to help Ukraine in its conflict was respectfully set aside, with the Prime Minister repeating that Canada is prepared to offer non-lethal aid to the country, in its need. Any combat type of missions and materiel would be supplied to and through NATO. President Poroshenko left, grateful for Canada's support such as it was, yet disappointed that his request for military equipment had been denied.

At one juncture, in an earlier interview, Ambassador Prystaiko, who is preparing to vacate his office as ambassador in Ottawa to move on elsewhere through diplomatic rotation, openly criticized the Government of Canada for its slow release of the promised assistance to Ukraine. In this later interview he reiterated his criticism, leavening it with praise and if that seemed a problem, well so be it, this was the reality as he saw it.

Asked if he feared that Moscow would advance a more serious invasion he responded: "He's [Vladimir Putin] reminding people he has nuclear arms. Now the Russians have taken Crimea. They're 70 kilometres into eastern Ukraine, fighting during ceasefires. I have to ask what would have happened if we still had these [Soviet Union nuclear weapons held by Ukraine, signed away with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum] nuclear weapons.

"When you don't respect international agreements, when you don't have a political will you can't have progress. Look at Iran, Israel or North Korea. Those people have nuclear weapons, so why would they give it up now for a piece of paper?"

Pardon? Equating Israel with Iran and North Korea? When was the last time that Israel threatened world order by stating boldly and baldly that it intended to destroy another country? Are Iran and North Korea stalwart allies of the West, representing the sole true liberal democracies in their parts of the world? Do they honour their citizens in a pluralistic society where everyone is treated equally under the law? Just asking, mind.

And recalling that Vladimir Putin kept referring to Ukraine's tradition of anti-Semitism, and how amusing that seemed coming from a country where it is truly well entrenched. Such sentiments have an unfortunate way of trickling through even polite conversations, unfortunately.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In Praise of Allah

"To see Jews wearing tefillin and wrapped in the tallit lying in pools of blood, I wondered if I was imagining scenes from the Holocaust."
"It was a massacre of Jews at prayer."
Yehuda Meshi Zahaf, neighbourhood leader religious emergency-response team

"I saw people lying on the floor, blood everywhere."
"People were trying to fight ... but they didn't have much of a chance."
Yosef Posternak, Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue worshiper
Israeli security officers next to the synagogue in Jerusalem Israeli forces rushed to the scene of the attack, which happened during morning prayers

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, while Hamas representatives had other words, praising the massacre as a "heroic operation", arranging celebratory candy handouts in Gaza, matching the activities of the family of the perpetrators in their Jerusalem neighbourhood, celebrating the heroic efforts of their now-deceased family members, repeating how proud they are of their defense of Islam, and joyfully handing out sweets in jubilation.

While Jews and Druze grieve, Palestinians wonder what all the fuss is about, and congratulate one another over a job well done. Jews may not pray on the Temple Mount, sacred to Muslims who name it the Noble Sanctuary. Only Muslims may pray where Jews hold in reverence the site of their ancient Temples of Solomon, their most sacred site in Judaism. We now see that Jews may not even pray in their synagogues in the expectation that they will be safe there from the violence that Palestinians perpetrate upon them on the Temple Mount, and at bus stops.

Israeli emergency personnel clean the site outside a synagogue Emergency services clean the site outside the Jerusalem synagogue

"We are in the midst of a terrorist assault focused on Jerusalem", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Tuesday as he called up reserve units of border police to respond to the threat level, with promises to "respond decisively". He would "restore law, order and security to the streets of Jerusalem", stated the Prime Minister, and the family homes of Ghassan and Udai Abu Jamal the Palestinian cousins who slaughtered four rabbis and an Israeli police officer, were to be demolished.

This is a family with a long history of criminal activity, violence and terrorism; the uncle of the two cousins had been incarcerated for terrorism, and released as part of the bargain that freed Cpl. Shalit from Hamas.  The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was anxious to claim responsibility for the attack that took place in Har Nof, a mostly ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood in west Jerusalem. Joy suffused areas of the Palestinian Territories, and east Jerusalem as well.

The escalating violence in the Old City has captured the resolve of ten- and eleven-year-old Palestinian children who vow they too will commit to defending the Noble Sanctuary and express their fury just as their elders do, those who throw rocks and firebombs at Israeli police and military. They are being groomed and have been since childhood as future martyrs who will ascend to Paradise through the noble pursuit of jihad.

Mahmoud Abbas warns of a "holy war" should Jews 'contaminate' the holy site of Islam. Palestinian leaders praised the attack on the synagogue as a response to the 'threat' to their holy site. Responding as well to the hanging death by suicide of a Palestinian bus driver in Jerusalem whom an autopsy found to have committed suicide but whom Palestinians and the driver's family insists was a lynching by Jews.

Arab hatred, victimhood and paranoia transcend reason, responsibility, civility, humanity. In Gaza City great celebration as guns were shot into the air and God was praised, for God is Great!, while from mosques, loudspeakers also praised the heroic actions of the Jerusalem attackers on the synagogue as a great work of religious piety in adoration of Allah.

A Palestinian woman scatters sweets at celebrations in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians distributed sweets in celebrations, some holding aloft an image of the attackers

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"Third Generation Terrorists"

"This family is very linked to terror and it didn't surprise anyone. They live no more
 than 200 meters from the same lowly terrorist who committed the massacre at Merkaz Harav 
(yeshiva). This is a family connected to its very core and in its blood to terror, it isn't the first 
generation but rather the third generation of terrorists."
"We see terrorists employed in all sorts of places and no one knows, at the Begin Heritage Center 
the terrorist who shot Yehuda Glick was employed, also the terrorists today were employed in the 
area. They have a family member who sat in jail over the murder of Jews and went free in the embarrassing deal for Shalit; also the massacre at Merkaz (Haraz) was committed by a van driver of the Municipality."
"The situation here just gets more serious and no one is paying for it. Where is the responsibility of the Interior Security Minister and police captains? We haven't seen here a single captain paying the price for responsibility and getting dismissed."
Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King

Terrorists in Har Nof attack
Terrorists in Har Nof deadly Synagogue attack
Courtesy of Channel 10

"We responded with shouts of joy when we received the news about their deaths. A normal thing that can be expected from every man who has courage and a feeling of belonging to his people and to Islam."
Abu Jamal family member 

"I saw a Jew lying wounded and bloodied in his tefillin and tallit [leather straps and prayer shawls]." "He [one of the assailants] began to carry out a massacre. He was shouting ‘God is great,’ and shooting one after another, one, two, three. Most were praying with their back to him."
Yaakov Amos, 45 synagogue worshipper

And amid much celebration and joy candies were handed out to note the triumphant ascent to Paradise of the two Abu Jamal cousins, Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal who had stormed into the ultra orthodox Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighbourhood with hatchets, knives and guns to slaughter four rabbis while they were praying. They managed as well to seriously injure  an additional eight worshippers before two Israeli police stopped the carnage by killing the attackers.

The two men from Jerusalem's Jabel Mukabar neighbourhood who had conducted the bloody terrorist attack on Tuesday morning were evidently well enough known to the security system. Theirs is a family well steeped in violent crime. Their explosive entry into the synagogue culminating in the murder of four men left the house of worship splattered with blood from the dead and injured, their religious accoutrements blood-soaked, and the gathering in shocked grief.

That grief extended to the added tragedy of the death of one of the Israeli policemen who had responded to the urgency of the atrocity, who had succumbed to the mortal wound he sustained when a bullet entered his brain. The funeral of all four rabbis, Aryeh Kupinsky 43, Kalman Zeev Levine 55, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg 68 and Moshe Twersky, 59 took place the day they were murdered. The funeral for police officer Zidan Saif took place the following day.

Israeli police officers carry the coffin of their comrade Zidan Saif, 30, a member of Israel's Druze minority, during his funeral in his northern home village of Yanuh-Jat, on November 19, 2014.  (photo credit: AFP/JACK GUEZ)
Israeli police officers carry the coffin of their comrade Zidan Saif, 30, a member of Israel's Druze minority, during his funeral in his northern home village of Yanuh-Jat, on November 19, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/JACK GUEZ)
"We came from Jerusalem, from the place of the massacre… simply to be with you and to cry with you. Zidan showed courage. He was the first at the battle. He stood like a wall, with his body, with his head, in order to save the souls of those in the synagogue. The loss of Zidan is our loss as well as that of the Druze community and we feel, especially at times like this, a kinship with the Druze community. The devotion and the determination of Zidan should be an example to us all — to the Druze and to the Jews."      Rabbi Mordechai Rubin, Har Nof Bnei Torah synagogue

Jerusalem councilman Mr. King is unclear why it is that the Shin Bet, Israel Security Agency (ISA) doesn't appear to have a terrorist database: "The question arises how the police and Shin Bet didn't get their hands on these scoundrels", he observed with heat. As an example, he said, the terrorist who shot Temple Mount activist Glick had been employed at a restaurant in the Center, even though he had previously been imprisoned for 11 years for terrorism activities.

One of the terrorists in the more recent synagogue attack worked at a local grocery store adjacent to the synagogue. And the other is said to have been employed as a caretaker at the synagogue itself. It stands to reason that if prospective employers could peruse a databank of known criminal and/or terrorist elements they could avoid having them in places vulnerable to attack during their psychotic terror episodes of hatred and revenge, inspired by religious zeal.

Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Jews carry the body of Rabbi Mosheh Twersky onto a vehicle during his funeral in Jerusalem.
Mr. King himself held a municipality post related to security before being dismissed by Mayor Nir Barkat, after Mr. King had opposed a plan to build 2,500 Arab housing units in the Al Sawahira Al-Gharbiyya neighbourhood where 3,000 illegal Arab housing units already exist. These are questions to which answers must be forthcoming. It is difficult to comprehend that something as utterly necessary as the ability to recognize threats is not available in the larger public interest.

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Who Knows?

"People were clear, both of them. They were clear they did not want to put a complaint in. They were meeting with her (Liberal Party's MP Foote) to give her the situation and that's it. They said, 'It's up to you. We are not putting a complaint in.' [The women needed time to find a way to heal] from the alleged misconduct."
"That's what they are facing now. And that's why they don't want this to go on. They just want to go on with their lives."
"None of the women were aware that it (would) come out. They were expecting a bit of respect. And a bit of respect meant that they should have known or they should have been informed what was the next step."
"Mr. Trudeau has to deal with his two MPs. It's up to him. I won't touch that part."Nicole Turmel, NDP whip, Member of Parliament
Video thumbnail for Trudeau, Mulcair differ on handling of misconduct allegations
Justin Trudeau, Leader, Liberal Party of Canada, left; Thomas Mulcair, Leader of he Opposition NDP Party, right; disagreement over the handling of the accusations by NDP MPs against Liberal MPs

And deal with them he did. Summarily. Acting as the judge, the jury and the executioner. The two Members of Parliament were dismissed from the Liberal caucus. And forbidden to run again in the next general election scheduled for 2015. They were given no reasonable explication. Nor were they permitted the opportunity to rebut any allegations of ill conduct lodged against them, let alone informed who had charged them with inappropriate conduct.

And this, from lawmakers in the Canadian Parliament. In Canada anyone charged with a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. In the Parliament of Canada, if you're a Liberal, your leader will consider you guilty of a crime you're unaware of, or who levelled the accusation against you to allow you the opportunity to clear your name, because you're automatically guilty, plus there is no way to allow for proving yourself innocent.

In one fell swoop careers of democratically elected Members of Parliament snapped asunder, their reputations in ruin, their future prospects truncated by the unproven yet shameful allegations that something very dire and inappropriate took place between themselves and accusers who don't wish to be identified, even knowing that their accusations have caused the collapse of a colleague's (albeit of another political party) reputation and future employment.

"They are not ready", said Nicole Turmel, speaking for the two female NDP Members of Parliament who had quietly come forward to lodge a complaint against two other, Liberal Members of Parliament ostensibly for any breach of social behaviour ranging from inappropriate comments, to physically touching to heaven-knows-what, because they're not saying, actually. But they do want their right to privacy honoured. And perhaps they also feel a level of guilt at the manner in which their revelations have impacted on the personal life and political career of two puzzled men.

"They haven't shown any sign that they wanted to come forward. So on this we have followed them. That's the last word we got from them", Ms. Turmel said, explaining what was already obvious without quite explaining what obviously needing to be clarified and amplified, information provided that might lead the way to clearing up the issue that has either victimized two innocent men or provided a punishment to two men who should have known better.

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Gatestone Institute

"Islamic radicals [are] hiding behind the scenes, influencing the minds of young people. ... Someone is persuading them, brainwashing them." — Ahmed Muthana, father of the jihadist Muthana brothers.
Mehdi Hassan is the fourth British man from the coastal city of Portsmouth to be killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria. Hassan was just 19 when he left with four friends for Syria in October 2013. They named themselves the "Britani Brigade Bangladeshi Bad Boys." Four of the five have been killed.

Much of the media has, over the last few years, attempted to explain why British Muslims are being radicalized, and why some wish to fight for a terror group known and feared for its brutality.

Some commentators blame the darker corners of the internet; some point to the supposed glamour and glory of war, and others attribute part of the blame to "government policy" and the "persecution" felt by British Muslims living in a country allegedly full of "anti-Islamic feeling."

Those concerned with the practical workings of radicalization, however, look to the initial involvement of Western recruits to ISIS with extremist preachers and organizations. Even while crediting the allure of the internet, it seems improbable that anyone would join a cult or extremist group without some encouragement or introduction.

Nasser Muthana, center, appears in an English-language ISIS recruitment video.

In Britain, the fingerprints of a number of Salafist preachers and organizations in Portsmouth seem to be present in the departure of young British Muslims to fight and kill in foreign lands. The most notable is the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), a Salafist dawah [proselytising] group.

The Portsmouth Five were members of the Portsmouth Dawah Team, a group of local proselytisers who wore iERA clothing and distributed iERA literature.

Mehdi Hassan, an ISIS fighter killed in Syria this month, wearing an iERA shirt.
Ifthekar Jaman (second from left), who was killed in Syria in December 2013, wearing an iERA shirt.

Perhaps sensing trouble, the iERA took the unusual step of publishing a statement on its website on October 27, before any accusations had been levelled, in which the group denied any connection to the Portsmouth Five, and stated: "iERA is not responsible for the acts of any teams or any individuals that order our material on-line."

Unfortunately for the iERA, this denial is demonstrably untrue. The Portsmouth Dawah Team is a component of the iERA's street proselytization program, "Mission Dawah". In one post on social media, Mission Dawah's Facebook account describes the Portsmouth Dawah Team as "our team from Portsmouth." Moreover, the iERA chairman, Abdur Raheem Green, liaises directly with similar dawah groups around the country.

The iERA was founded in 2009 by convert Abdur Raheem Green, who remains its chairman today. The group describes itself as "a global dawah organisation" working "to empower Muslims as individuals and local communities to invite and inform people about Islam."
Abdur Raheem Green was a graduate of the Salafist movement in Britain during the 1980s and 90s. He briefly became a jihadist alongside Islamist fighters against the Soviets, in Afghanistan, but he was better known as an Islamist preacher in London, frequently to be found in London's Hyde Park, complaining of the Jewish "stench," or addressing mosque congregations, and encouraging men to hit their wives to "bring them to goodness."
This sort of rhetoric is also heard from other iERA officials, including preachers such as:
  • Zakir Naik, who has said, "every Muslim should be a terrorist."
  • Hussein Yee, who openly preaches hatred against Jews, and claims that Jews in America were "happy" when the Twin Towers fell.
  • Abdullah Hakim Quick, who has called upon God to "clean and purify al-Aqsa from the filth of the Yahood [Jews]" and "clean all of the lands from the filth of the Kuffar [non-believers]."
Both Hussein Yee and Zakir Naik have since been banned from entering the UK, along with Bilal Philips, an American Islamist preacher and additional iERA official, who describes the Taliban as "innocent Muslim people" who did many "positive, good things." He also claims that rape and domestic abuse are permissible in Islam, and advocates the murder of homosexuals. Furthermore, Philips was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Other activists within the local dawah groups affiliated with the iERA echo this rhetoric. Hassan Farooq, a "senior member" of the Newham Dawah Team, praised Hitler and expressed a desire to go "Jewish bashing."

The Portsmouth Dawah Team is not, however, the only link between the iERA and ISIS recruits. In June, the British government banned Sheikh Mohammad Al Arifi from entering the United Kingdom, after the Saudi preacher was linked to the radicalization of British youths now fighting for ISIS in Syria.

Sheikh Al Arifi had previously given sermons at the Al Manar Centre in Cardiff, at which three young British Muslims -- Nasser and Aseel Muthana, brothers, and their friend, Reyaad Khan – were radicalized, according to the Muthana brothers' father, Ahmed Muthana. Sheikh Al Arifi has previously been involved with the iERA; and the Al Manar Centre has frequently organized courses with the iERA itself, and has provided a platform for iERA staff on a number of occasions.

Saudi Islamist preacher Muhammad al-Arifi (right), who has been linked to the radicalization of British Muslims now fighting in Syria, attends an iERA stall in London.

While political analysts may point to "government policy" or "Islamophobia" as the reason that some Western Muslim youth decide to join the most notorious terror group in the world, it is the father of the radicalized Muthana brothers who offers the most reasonable explanation: "Behind this are Islamic radicals, hiding behind the scenes, influencing the minds of young people. … Someone is persuading them, brainwashing them."

Before they went to join ISIS, the Portsmouth Dawah Team also fundraised for a number of Britain aid convoy charities, including the coalition of charities with which the first British suicide bomber in Syria travelled in 2012.

Today, those running the Portsmouth Dawah Team continue to fundraise for charities under investigation by the authorities, including the British charity, "Aid Convoy." When one of the charity's convoys was stopped at Dover by British police in 2012, they found that the convoy was carrying banknotes worth tens of thousands of dollars in three different currencies. Aid Convoy's trustees have included Moutaz Dabas, accused by Spanish authorities of collaborating with a terrorist organization; and Usman Ali, a British Islamist who showed children footage of the 9/11 attacks while shouting "God is great." Usman Ali also led a prayer group attended by the murderers of British soldier Lee Rigby.

The Charity Commission is currently conducting a statutory inquiry into the iERA, which was established over "concerns about the charity's governance." If this inquiry fails to shut down the iERA, how long before more activists working for these dawah teams, affiliated with the iERA and fundraising for extremist charities, abandon their street stalls and pick up a gun? The process of radicalization may be complicated, but its catalysts are right in front of us.
Related Topics:  United Kingdom  |  Samuel Westrop

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Gatestone Institute

For most Islamists, there is no difference between the words "Israel," "the Israeli government," "Jew" or "Turkish Jew:" they are all the same, and are all regarded with hostility.
In 2008, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's official news agency, Wafa, reported that Israel had released poison-resistant rats to drive Arab residents of Jerusalem out of their homes. Scientists are still trying to understand how rats are trained to distinguish between Muslim, Christian and Jewish residents of a city.

In 2011, Saudi Arabia announced that it had "detained" a vulture carrying an Israeli leg band. The griffon vulture was carrying a GPS transmitter bearing the name of Tel Aviv University, and was condemned for being a part of a "Zionist espionage plot." We are still waiting to hear if the bird was beheaded or sentenced to life in prison.

Also in 2011, one of the two Turkish celebrities, who had been accused of raping prostitutes, defended himself by saying that the whole incident was "an Israeli plot against him."

In 2012, a migratory bird, a common bee-eater, caused alarm in a southeastern Turkish village after villagers thought it was an Israeli spy. The villagers' suspicions were aroused when the bird was found dead in a field with a metal ring around its leg stamped "Israel." After deciding its nostrils were unusually large and may have carried a microchip fitted by Israeli intelligence for spying, they called the police.

Also in 2012, Turkish authorities "detained" a kestrel with a similar ring on its leg. The bird was subjected to an x-ray to check if its body contained espionage gear. No joke; in the hospital, the name recorded on the bird's x-ray card was: Israeli spy.

A year later, when millions of Turks rose up against the undemocratic practices and rights abuses by their government in more than 70 cities, the government-friendly media and one minister blamed the riots on the Jewish lobby in general, and the American Enterprise Institute [AEI] in particular. That charge prompted Michael Rubin of the AEI to write in a June 2013 blog posting titled "A little bit of crazy from Turkey:"
"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan can't even get Jewish conspiracies right: Doesn't he know that on Sundays, we control the banks. On Mondays, we control the newspapers. On Tuesdays, we think about how we can stage terrorist attacks and blame al-Qaeda. On Wednesdays, we attend meetings with George Soros to discuss interest rates. On Thursdays, we plan atrocities and then order the international media to broadcast cooking shows so no one need see the violence. On Fridays, we hunt Christian children so we can use their blood to make matzoh. On Saturdays, exhausted, we rest."
Such is the level of collective derangement in a country of 75 million. Quite naturally, it makes an impact on the collective psyche of Turkey's dwindling Jewish community, now barely numbering 17,000 people, who mostly live in the country's biggest metropolis, Istanbul.

If you drive along the Adnan Saygun Avenue in the city's upscale Ulus district and reach the corner of the street where the compound of the Bulgarian Consulate neighbors a rather secluded building, you will notice a police car waiting outside a concrete wall that leads to a gate made of steel bars, and attended by security guards in civilian clothes.

This is the entrance of Ulus Ozel Musevi Okullari, a Jewish school where about 700 students from kindergarten to high-school level study. The security procedures after the gate opens would make you think you are entering either the U.S. or the British consulate building in Istanbul (the British consulate, along with two synagogues and a British bank were bombed 11 years ago this week).

The interior of Neve Şalom Synagogue in Istanbul, which was bombed along with the Bet Israel Synagogue on November 15, 2003, killing 27 people and injuring over 300.

At the weekend, the Jewish school in Ulus hosted this year's Limmud Festival, which started in 1979 as a British-Jewish educational charity ("Limmud" comes from the Hebrew word "to learn"). The charity produces events on the theme of the Jewish learning in nearly 70 communities in 34 countries, including Turkey. Limmud started in Turkey in 2005; this year's event brought together 1,300 participants and nearly 100 speakers, including this author.
In conference talks and in private, most members of Istanbul's Jewish community voiced "serious and increasing" concern over their increasingly secluded and riskier lives in the country where their ancestors first arrived 522 years ago. Turkey is their country. And it is not.

They carry Turkish passports. They pay their taxes. Their sons are conscripted into the military. They vote in Turkish elections. They have Turkish ID cards. They make up a peaceful, law-abiding society minding their own business. They remain loyal to their country, Turkey. But they are "foreigners" in their own country. Ordinary Turks, even their own Turkish friends, refer to them as "foreigners."

"Should we pack up and leave?" one of them asked. A middle-aged woman objected: "Why should we be forced to leave our country? We are Turkish, and this is our country."

"Do you think our businesses are in danger of governmental discrimination?" a businessman asked. Others in the hall knew the answer.

"Would this school have to maintain the same level of security at its gate had it been, say, a Georgian school?" a man asked. "If it had it been a Japanese school or an Indian school? Or, to put it in reverse, would this Jewish school have to maintain the same level of security had it been located in Japan or Georgia?"

For most of Turkey's Islamists, there is no difference between the words "Israel," the "Israeli government," "Jew" or a "Turkish Jew:" They are all the same and are all regarded with hostility. Such a view makes Turkey's Jews part-time citizens only. They fulfill their duties to the country they belong to, only to live in fear.
Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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  • Jimenez was Spain's foreign minister from 2010 to 2011 (Photo: psoe.es)

Spanish MPs build EU support for Palestine recognition

18.11.14 @ 22:04
  1. By Andrew Rettman
BRUSSELS - The Spanish Congress has backed a non-binding motion to recognise Palestine, as France prepares for a similar move next week.

The non-binding resolution passed by 319 votes against two, with one abstention on Tuesday (18 November).

It “urges the government to recognise Palestine as a state … [while] reaffirming the conviction that the only solution to the conflict is the coexistence of two states, Israel and Palestine”.

It adds “the recognition … must result from a process of negotiation between the parties to guarantee peace and security for both”.

It also calls on the government to “promote co-ordination within the EU” on wider Palestine recognition.

It was tabled by Trinidad Jimenez, a former foreign minister from the opposition centre-left party.
But the left and the ruling centre-right People’s Party made changes after two Palestinians murdered four Jews at a synagogue in Jerusalem earlier the same day.

The original draft had said recognition of Palestine would help create a negotiated settlement, instead of saying recognition “must result from a process of negotiation”.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, said before the vote: “We call on Spain not to make unilateral moves, particularly on a shocking day like today”.
Tuesday’s motion is unlikely to prompt immediate action by Madrid.

But Spain’s foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, told press in Brussels on Monday: “We have the feeling that time is running out … either we do something fairly quickly or the two-state solution will be physically impossible”.

He was referring to Israeli settlement plans that will cut off Jerusalem from the West Bank and cut the West Bank in two.

French MPs are to vote on a similar motion next week.

The office of Elisabeth Guigou, an MP from the ruling Socialist party who chairs the foreign affairs committee, told EUobserver the party will adopt a final draft of the motion on Wednesday.
It added the debate and vote is expected to take place next Friday (28 November).

Guigou’s current draft “invites the French government to recognise the Palestinian state in order to attain a definitive solution to the conflict”.
It speaks of Israel’s “illegal colonisation of Palestinian territories”.

British and Irish MPs also called for Palestine recognition in symbolic votes last month, while Sweden became the first sitting EU state to formally recognise Palestine.

Meanwhile, EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday the attack in Jerusalem "is an act of terror against worshipers at morning prayers and is condemnable by all means".

"I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims".
But she added: "The lack of progress towards the two-state solution will systematically ensure the next round of violence".

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BBC News Host Demands Israeli Minister Hide Photo of Worshiper Slain in Terror Massacre

BBC News Host Demands Israeli Minister Hide Photo of Worshiper Slain in Terror Massacre 

A victim of the Jerusalem synagogue terror attack lies wrapped in a prayer shawl and tefillin. Photo: Twitter.
A victim of the Jerusalem synagogue terror attack lies wrapped in a prayer shawl and tefillin. Photo: Twitter.

A BBC News presenter censored Israeli Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett, during a live interview on Tuesday when he held up a photo of a victim of Tuesday’s mass terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue.

At least four Jewish worshipers were killed, and at least four are in critical or serious condition, in the wake of the attack at the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue in the capital’s Har Nof neighborhood.
Israeli Police said two Arab residents of the city Jabal Mukabar neighborhood entered at about 07:00 a.m., and then opened fire with weapons and struck worshipers with a meat cleaver and knives.

Indicting the Palestinian Authority (PA) for ongoing incitement leading up to the attack, Bennett charged that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, “…himself, incites, tells the the Arabs, ‘take arms, fight the Jews…’” and then held up a photo of a victim, laying dead on the floor of the synagogue, still wrapped in his prayer shawl and leather straps of his phylacteries (see photo).

The presenter immediately broke in, however saying, “…sorry, we don’t want to actually see that picture… please take that down.”

Bennett continued holding up the photo, saying, “this individual came this morning to pray, just like many Muslims, many Jews, came to pray this morning.

“The Muslims came home safe, but four Jews will never come home again,” Bennett asserted, over the protestations of the host.

On Facebook, Jonathan Sacerdoti of the UK’s Campaign Against Antisemitism slammed the BBC for its double standard on Israel. “BBC, which was happy to show dead kids in Gaza all summer, declares ‘we don’t want to actually see that picture… Take that down’ as Israeli minister shows them butchered Jewish worshiper killed this morning,” Sacerdoti wrote.

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Violence in East Jerusalem; 'Intifada starts today,' Palestinian kids say

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Live from East Jerusalem Photo: Mohammed Shinawi
Live from East Jerusalem Photo: Mohammed Shinawi
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi) 
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi) 
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi) 
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi) 
Destroyed home (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
Destroyed home (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi) 
Nabrus a-Shaludi said she was proud of her brother. (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
Nabrus a-Shaludi said she was proud of her brother. (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi) 

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Violence in East Jerusalem; 'Intifada starts today,' Palestinian kids say

Over 120 children and youths rioted in East Jerusalem after Israel moves to demolish home of terrorist behind vehicular attack; kids as young as ten shout 'we'll fight till the end.'
Hassan Shaalan
Published: 11.19.14, 14:02 / Israel News
Scores of young Palestinians, some as young as 10, took to the streets Wednesday in East Jerusalem, after Israeli security forces demolished the home of a terrorist who plowed his car into a crowd of people waiting at the Ammunition Hill station of Jerusalem's Light Rail on Oct. 22, killing three-month-old Haya Ziesl Baron.

The youths burnt tires, blocking the entrance to Shuafat, and threw stones at the police checkpoint. A number of children aged 9 and 10 wore masks and shouted "we will keep fighting to the end."
צילום: מוחמד שינאווי
Youths riot in Shuafat

(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)

(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)

"The intifada has started," a 17-year-old told Ynet. "We won't remain quiet about what happens in East Jerusalem and inside Al-Aqsa. We will continue to struggle and support terror against Israel, that is the only solution we have to save ourselves."
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
Elaborating on his frustration, the youth also expressed anger towards the Arab world and Palestinians: "Unfortunately I don't feel supported, not by the Palestinian government and not by the Arab world. We are disappointed and have nothing to do but protest, block roads and tell the world."
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
(Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
Similar claims were made by the family of Abed a-Rahman a-Shaludi, the terrorist behind the October vehicular attack whose Silwan home was destroyed overnight.

Destroyed home (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
Destroyed home (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)

Nabrus, his 16-year-old sister, praised the deadly terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, saying "it’s a very good thing, I hope more such attacks take place, and more Jews get killed." According to her, she is "proud of her brother and I am willing to follow in his wake. I am willing to give my life to al-Aqsa."

 Nabrus a-Shaludi said she was proud of her brother. (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
Nabrus a-Shaludi said she was proud of her brother. (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
She described the events leading up to nighttime demolition. "At one o'clock at night, police came and asked us to get dressed within five minutes. They wanted to take us somewhere and after a short while, they took us to a palce near Silwan and put us in a large tent. At four in the morning, we heard a very loud explosion and the kids who were with us starting crying out of fear.

"When we returned home, I couldn't believe that it was our house. They destroyed everything and we were left without a roof. I don't know where we'll sleep, eat, and get dressed. Our situation is very critical. Where is Abu Mazen and the entire Arab people? Why is everyone keeping quiet and not taking care of us?"

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