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, April 30, 2015

The Realities of Conflict

"In those instances around the dead, they looked like insecure little kids. Their voices changed, their hands were -- some of them -- shaking."
"They're not like our kids [Afghan Taliban fighters]. They're not strong, well-nourished people ... They're teeny. When you see them laying there, it's surreal. They're little, frail drug addicts."
"The intimacy was always there. There was very much a connection, listening to them change magazines, listening to them talk while you're sneaking up on them. Listening to the prayers. It's not a target at that point, it's not a paper target."
"I don't think you can make someone soft. Who you are, you bring to the battlefield. Modern warfare is not about being a Neanderthal. Modern warfare is being smarter than the enemy."
Dave Quick, former major commanding a Royal Canadian Regiment company in Afghanistan

"It was very chaotic, especially when there's bullets flying at you. You're almost numb. An act of killing while you're doing that, you don't really think about it until you come back and wind down."
Major Eddie Jun, former platoon commander, Royal Canadian Regiment 
Ethan Baron/Postmedia News/Files
Ethan Baron/Postmedia News/Files    Canadian soldiers respond to incoming insurgent fire in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in July 2006.

No longer with the military, Mr. Quick is writing his thesis: "Armies succeed in tricking soldiers into killing with modern training methods. [But] I realized that I had failed to prepare my soldiers properly when I watched them react to the realization that they had killed a man for the very first time." Recalling his six-month stint in 2007 to ferret out Taliban from Zhari District west of Kandahar City, he and his men had 24 planned operations, along with others unplanned with "lethal effect".

Ultimately, then-major Quick earned the Star of Military Valour in recognition of the fact that all 400 of his soldiers returned home alive from their Afghanistan mission, a not-inconsiderable feat of command success. On the other hand, Mr. Quick, now resigned from the military and working toward a degree in investment banking, remains troubled by the reality that a quarter of his men suffered psychological and physical injury, unprepared, as he saw it, for the realities of conflict.

They faced the realities of improvised explosive devices, of the injuries and deaths resulting from the IEDs planted by the Taliban. It is the impact on the minds and sensibilities of his men in retrospect in the realization that in the pursuit of their military duties they had to kill other human beings that now disturbs Mr. Quick. There was little choice, however, when coming into contact with the Taliban fighters. It wasn't only foreign military killed and injured by IEDs but civilians terrorized by the harsh brand of Islam the Taliban imposed.

And then the other reality struck them all, that so many of those whom they were fighting were only in their teens, often not past 17, and often enough high on stimulants, and soon enough, dead on the battlefield. In the wake of their first deadly firefight, Major Quick ensured that the soldiers who were responsible for the kills would not be tasked to "process" the bodies; to remove material that potentially rendered intelligence, and to place the dead in body bags.

He recalled one episode when the discovery was made that a Taliban commander found dead had been recording himself just as the Canadians converged on his position: "He was speaking as a commander and at the same time giving thanks to Allah and finding peace. Until there was no more talking", explained Mr. Quick, speaking of some of his men who were "very freaked out" after combat. Others questioned their faith and "really wrestled" with having to kill in the line of duty.

He may perhaps take comfort in the fact that the Canadian military is speaking to some of his concerns in its mental-readiness training. A 30-minute "psychological preparation" module has been worked up to include "understanding the complications of combat and killing", as well as covering "common reactions to killing and adverse situations", along with eight other topics falling into related categories of psychological stress in close combat conditions.

Video thumbnail for Remembering fallen soldiers as flag comes down in Afghanistan
Remembering fallen soldiers as flag comes down in Afghanistan -- still from video

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Surviving Auschwitz and Slave Labour

"They say that people remember where they were when Kennedy was assassinated. [In Hungary, in 1944] I went out on the street [forced to wear a yellow star]. I started to cry. So I went back and I remember, I spoke to my mother. She hugged me and looked up. She told me, 'I don't believe in God anymore'. That moment is in here [his heart]. I can never forget."
"When they marched us to the ghetto, which was about eight kilometres or so, people were applauding. That made me very, very bitter about life."
"All I remember [on arrival at Auschwitz] is I see a German officer, very well dressed, in front of me as we were lining up. He just waved with his hand, left or right. I was pushed to the right with my father and my friend."
"My duty is to maintain the memory of these people [Holocaust victims]. This is the only weapon I have against the revisionists, to be an eyewitness to the truth."
Paul Herczeg, 87, Auschwitz and Muehldorf slave labour camp survivor
Video thumbnail for Thankful for small things
Still from video; Paul Herczeg, John Kenney/Montreal Gazette

The mother who was helpless to comfort her teen-age son over his anguish at having to wear a yellow star identifying him as a Jew, perished soon after arrival when she was separated from her husband and their only child, at Auschwitz. Her faith in God was extinguished, and her obvious surrender of hope was rewarded by the inexorable machinery of genocidal intent. Her husband, assigned to a work camp constructing an underground jet factory in a forest as a slave labourer lived only weeks longer than his wife.

In memory of the 70th anniversary of the day that American troops liberated him from a satellite camp of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, Paul Herczeg shares his thoughts on surviving the excruciating experience of being marked for death, because of his genetic heritage. A fifth-generation secular Jewish family living in a suburb of Budapest. At the age of 16, he lost his 48-year-old mother, and soon afterward, his father. The Final Solution devised by the Third Reich was implacable and it was efficient.

About 430,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz, and of that number 325,000 were gassed by Zyklon B in the death chambers, their bodies incinerated into ashes. Their journey to Auschwitz from the ghetto they were initially herded into, saw them travel in crowded cattle cars. "Everyone was in shock" on arrival at the death camp, and two lines represented either the gas chamber or a labour camp. He watched briefly as his mother helped elderly people negotiate their way trustingly to the gas chamber for "showers".
A photo of Paul Herczeg taken 3 months after he was liberated from the Muhldorf slave labour camp.
A photo of Paul Herczeg taken 3 months after he was liberated from the Muhldorf slave labour camp.   John Kenney / Montreal Gazette
And he and his father as slave labourers were given a thousand calories for daily sustenance while they laboured twelve-hour shifts, day or night hauling and mixing sacks of cement for a vast underground jet factory, where the forest canopy hid all activity from Allied bombers. When his father died within six weeks of arrival, Mr. Herczeg attempted an escape. Emerging from his hiding place, an SS officer stopped him. Then took him and brought him to the kitchen barracks.

There he joined a half-dozen other youths peeling potatoes. The SS officer informed the young Paul, that from that time forward he would be employed in the kitchen. "He saved my life", Mr. Herczeg states. As the Allies made progress, prisoners at the camp were loaded onto trains heading for the Alps where the SS planned to make their last stand. The plan went awry when American troops intercepted the train, defying the Nazi plan to kill their prisoners.

In 1947, Mr. Herczeg immigrated to Canada where he started an import-export business, after performing a variety of start-up low-wage jobs. Since then, he has spoken of the Holocaust at schools, churches and on radio, to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust through his own experiences, would be kept alive.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mounting Rescues

"She is stranded, she is trapped, and she is begging and pleading for help. She needs immediate rescue and aid."
"She has limited food, some rice, some water, but it's really cold. When she first called us she was in a panic, crying, literally bawling her eyes out."
"We need our government [Canada] to negotiate with the Nepalese to go in and rescue them."
"Everything around her is completely collapsed, and it's very, very cold. I'm not sure if they have a tent or whether they've found shelter under a roof."
Michelle Dack, Calgary

"There have been so many casualties, in my neighbourhood, all the buildings have collapsed."
"My mother is slightly injured, the fence fell on her when she was working in the garden during the earthquake. But she will be OK. There are others with much worse situations."
Rishi Bastakoti, Calgary Nepalese Community Association

"They [Canadian consular officials in Nepal] are working closely with local officials in Nepal and India to locate and ascertain the well-being of Canadians on the ground."
Diana Khaddaj, spokeswoman, Department of Foreign Affairs

"When I got home, there was nothing. Everything was broken. My wife -- she was dead."
"Only the other villages who have also lost their homes are helping me. But we get nothing from the government."
"I get angry, but what can I do? I am also working for the government. I went to ask the police if they could at least send some men to help us salvage our things, but they said they have no one to send."
Bhoj Kumar Thapa, Nepanese army soldier, Paslang, Nepal

The horrendous death toll resulting from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the impoverished nation of Nepal continues to grow; latest figures are over five thousand dead, and ten thousand injured, but the numbers are growing. And the simple fact is that humanitarian aid has not yet been able to reach isolated villages where passage is hampered by the earthquake's effect on roads that were barely passable before rocks were hurled down on them from the destabilization of the tremblor.

Queue to receive food being distributed in Sakhu, on the outskirts of Kathmandu. 29 Apr 2015
There are long queues for food and water around the capital, Kathmandu

Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese are without shelter. The weather has turned absolutely miserable; cold, and wet, people huddling for shelter under tarps. They are hungry, they are thirsty, they are in need of medical assistance. They await aid, lining up for food handouts, and preparing to sleep out in the open, huddling for comfort that eludes them in the destruction of all that was familiar. Tents to house them would look good at this juncture.

A government that is incapable of meeting the most basic needs of its people during a dreadful emergency is certainly unable to care for the handful of tourists and visitors who happen to have visited the country and become victims of a natural disaster. And nor is the government of a country far distant from the scene, with a handful of representatives in a huge geography of almost thirty million people, able to do much for those of its own citizens who of their own free will chose to visit a country in crisis.

"We need 15,000 plastic tarps alone. We cannot buy that number", stated Mohan Pokhran, a district disaster management committee member. A mere 50 volunteer army and police officers were distributing food and aid for thousands in the immediate vicinity. "We don't have nearly enough of anything", wailed Mr. Pokhran, helplessly.

Sheltering from the rain

Kumar Thapa's home in Paslang was destroyed. And so were the homes of the other villagers. He was placed on leave from his army unit, given time to mourn his losses. He spoke of a government official who arrived at the village, took some photographs and then left. Nothing was delivered to the village of about 300 people north of Kathmandu. The village is a mere three kilometres distant from the town of Gorkha, district headquarters and staging area for rescue and aid operations.

Damaged houses are seen from an Indian Army helicopter at Lapu in the Nepalese area of Gorkha.
Damaged houses are seen from an Indian Army helicopter at Lapu in the Nepalese area of Gorkha.   Photo: AFP

The villagers sleep in the open together in the mud, sharing what bits of food they are able to extract from under their ruined buildings and homes. They cannot even begin to imagine when aid might reach them. Stormy weather is hampering passage along poor roads. A shortage of funds and volunteers to bring assistance to the needy is the order of the day. Helicopters are being co-ordinated to remote villages to evacuate the injured, but a major downpour put a halt to the effort.

A mudslide and avalanche hit close to the village of Ghodatabela leaving 250 people missing according to district official Gautam Rimaj. The result of heavy snow where the ground was loosened by the quake. Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese have no clean water, no sanitation. Rain was heavy in Kathmandu, and people desperately sought shelter wherever they could find it. Over 8.1-million people have been affected by the earthquake, with 1.4-million requiring food assistance.

So when people criticize their government for not delivering immediate aid to their loved ones halfway across the world, caught up in a devastating natural disaster, recommending to their government that they liaise with the government where the disaster has struck, to mount a rescue, they might try instead spreading their wings and undertaking flight on their own initiative, to bring back a sister who travelled to Nepal to teach yoga there.

Map of Nepal showing areas affected by earthquake

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Black In America

"It brought a tear to my eye. Seeing it doesn't feel like the city that I love."
"I am glad they're [ National Guardsmen] here, but it's hard to watch."
Jascy Jones, Baltimore, Maryland

"You look around and see unemployment. Filling out job applications and being turned down because of where you live and your demographic. It's so much bigger than the police department."
"This place is a powder keg waiting to explode."
Robert Stokes, 36, Baltimore resident

"The death of Freddie Gray is probably the opportunity and pretext for riotous fun, thrill, risk and profit [looting]."
"[Rock throwing, arson and looting by youth looked] like a party at the end of a long winter. [What transpired, with more criminal looters and rioters outnumbering protesters represented a phenomenon called emotional contagion where] everybody gets excited and the arousal level just goes up."
Frank Farley, professor of psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia
PHOTO: A man faces down a line of Baltimore Police as a CVS burns during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images   A man faces down a line of Baltimore Police as a CVS burns during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore.

Professor Farley, a past president of the American Psychological Association, pointed out the differences between Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. In Ferguson the town administration was all white, and so was the police force. In Maryland, in contrast, the mayor is black, the chief of police is black, the state attorney is black and the city council president is also black.

In Baltimore, of the population of 652,000, 63 percent is black. The police force is comprised of 48 percent black members. Hours after the funeral of a young black man, Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody from a fatal spinal cord injury which has not been explained, protests began. Chanting crowds of people soon gave way to rock-and-bottle throwing at police attempting to establish order, and eventually looting.

Demonstrators climb on a destroyed Baltimore Police car in the street during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore.
'Demonstrators' climb on a destroyed Baltimore Police car during protests/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"[The] slow rolling crisis [of young black males being killed by police in America] was no excuse [for the Baltimore violence; rioters should be treated as criminals]. "They aren't protesting. They aren't making a statement. They're stealing", said President Barack Obama in a public statement, urging Americans to "do some soul-searching".

"We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions. It comes up, it seems like, once a week now", he said. Condemning both the targeting of black men by the nation's police, and the response by young black males setting out to trash their own neighbourhoods in a paroxysm of violent rage, with more than a tinge of glee.
"There is no doubt in my mind that behind Baltimore lies Ferguson. There's always a grievance -- there's always some sense of people being oppressed, unable to express themselves, discriminated against and held back. [But] there's also a kind of exuberance that goes along with violence like this. It's almost an excuse to smash things, to go a little wild, to steal and basically raise a little hell."
"That's why people get hurt and stores get scorched and cars get turned over. People sort of feel as if they are caught up in the mob -- in a sense they surrender to the direction the mob is taking and there's a certain kind of pleasure in that as well. People feel as if they belong to some larger, more powerful entity."
Dr. Ken Eisold, New York psychologist/psychoanalyst
PHOTO: Protesters face police following the funeral of Freddie Gray, April 27, 2015, in Baltimore.
Jerry Jackson/AP    Protesters face police following the funeral of Freddie Gray, April 27, 2015, in Baltimore.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake commented: "The same community they say they care about, they're destroying. You can't have it both ways." And Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts added: "I had officers come up to me and say, 'I was born and raised in this city. This makes me cry." At least 20 police officers were injured, one person critically in a fire. Over 200 adults and 34 juveniles were arrested. Almost 150 cars were burned out.

The city and its residents are much the worse for wear after the celebratory rage foisted upon it. People are decrying the damage produced in their own neighbourhoods. Hundreds of Baltimore residents have become part of a volunteer brigade, coming out with brooms and trash bags to sweep up the streets of glass and debris, taking back their neighbourhood.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Plight of Black America Looking for Solutions

"[The plight of poor, young black men like Gray living] confined to a box, [one constructed of poor education, lack of employment and racial stereotypes] the box of thinking all black men are thugs and athletes and rappers."
"He had to have been asking himself: 'What am I going to do with my life? He had to feel at age 25 like the walls were closing in on him."
"This is not the time for us as a people to be sitting on a corner drinking malt liquor. This is not the time for us to be playing lottery."
"Get your black self up and change this city. I don't know how you can be black in America and be silent. With everything we've been through, ain't no way in the world you can sit here and be silent in the face of injustice."
"It's easy for the news to capture young people rioting and looting. It's easy to show that, but you ain't ever going to say why."
Reverend Jamal Bryant, New Shiloh Baptist church, Baltimore
Freddie Gray funeral BaltimoreREUTERS/Shannon Stapleton    Mourners laid flowers on the casket of Freddie Gray, who died after an arrest by the Baltimore police department, at his burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in Baltimore on Monday.

Does that sound inspirational, urging African-Americans to do something positive for themselves, such as recognizing that they too are responsible for the hideous state of affairs in America where black is the red cape for too many whites. That old adage, that where there is smoke there is also fire, was never more true than in the instance of black over-representation in prisons for the commission of crimes against society.

The culture of gangs, and weapons, of threats, and killings of black-on-black, of drug dealing, of fatherless children and one-parent families, of truncated education, or disinterest in licit employment, of family violence and general dysfunction is not an enviable one. It can be argued, and it is cited often enough, that a disadvantaged people with the background of slavery and social outcasting, of vulnerability and of dreadful discrimination, has led to the general dysfunction.

In Barack Obama's book ostensibly dedicated to his father, but setting out his own history, the issue of black violence was discussed at a time when he was a Chicago-based community organizer and had to battle disinterest and lethargy in the black community to assert their rights in a peaceful and meaningful manner. The danger posed to black men like himself by the lethal presence of black thugs appeared as a sideshow to the state of being black in America.

Black Americans are not taking ownership of their reputations going before them. The aristocracy of educated black professionals throw up their hands in despair at the ignorance and illicit culture of the bulk of the black populations living in ghettos now of their own making. The prevalence of threats emanating from sullen, armed and vicious young black men speak of a counter-culture that unbalances the aspirations of middle-class and aspiring lower-class black Americans to make something of their lives.

Inspiring fear in the larger white population will never give the black American the freedom to forge ahead and be regarded as no different than their white counterparts, for good and for ill. Holding the white population to account for racism, discrimination and wrongs done in the present is a necessary part of asserting equality in a nation dedicated to the notion that all men are created equal. But the lawless violence, the stoning of police, the riots and the looting taking place in Baltimore won't help one iota.

Violent young blacks surrounded a police cruiser to smash it while another cruiser was set on fire. A drugstore, a liquor store and a cheque-cashing store were looted. Young thugs tossed rocks, bricks, boards and pieces of concrete at police. A flyer had circulated on social media calling for violence Monday afternoon beginning at a downtown mall, to move toward City Hall. The riots in response to the death of a young black man while in police custody is another shock to the nation.

baltimoreShannon Stapleton/Reuters   Demonstrators threw rocks at Baltimore police officers on Monday during clashes in Baltimore.

Police have asked parents to search for their children and to take them home. Many of the people out on the streets rioting were African-American youths, with khaki trousers, part of a public school uniform, and carrying backpacks. The very demographic that should be taught that civil disobedience does not have to be expressed in violence, in setting fires, in looting, are out there in a thug-fest of defiance against authority.

There's a much, much better way, and it's past time for the African-American community to commit themselves to it. Martin Luther King would not approve of what his people are now committing themselves to. He would want to guide them away from violence and back toward viewing his own actions as a template for their furtherance in American life. And the issue of police brutality is one that must be tackled head on but not by mobs of violent youth.

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Witness To Catastrophe

"I was standing outside my dining tent about to have lunch when the ground started to rumble. Within seconds, it felt as though I was surfing on the normally rock-solid glacier floor. I immediately knew this was an earthquake, having experienced one here in Nepal in 2011.""
"We regularly hear avalanches here at base camp, but this one was in a category of its own."
"I witnessed what appeared to b e a 200 - 300 foot tidal wave of snow heading straight toward us and the rest of base camp. I dove into the dining tent with a few of the Sherpa staff and we waited for the avalanche to pass."
"I peered outside at the 30-second mark and all that could be seen was dense white snow. All I could think about was the rest of base camp who didn't have shelter. It was incredibly loud, thunderous rockfall combined with the power and sound of extremely high winds above 200 m.p.h."
"Our expedition leader's tent was ripped to shreds, electronics were scattered ten feet in every direction."
"At first, I decided to do my job. I filmed the events that were unfolding before my eyes. Climbers and Sherpas being carried on stretchers. Injured women and men bring assisted who suffered head traumas."
"It was completely destroyed [centre of base camp]. Tents shredded. Boots, packs, poles, water bottles, electronics, scattered and shredded. Debris everywhere. It was a war zone."
"It was hard to believe this was happening and unfolding before my eyes. Blood on the snow. Dozens of Western climbers shouting orders, trying to co-ordinate rescue efforts."
Ottawa filmmaker Elia Saikaly


Helicopters were diverted from other points in a Nepal devastated by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, and its almost equally shocking after-quake that struck on Sunday, the result of which Nepal has lost over five thousand people and counting, with many more thousands injured, and awaiting evacuation from isolated villages. In contrast, about 170 mountaineers were stranded on the slopes of Mount Everest. Eighteen people lost their lives on the mountain and many more were injured, requiring immediate evacuation.

Ottawa filmmaker Elia Saikaly was there for a distinct purpose; to shoot pictures for a director at Under Armour, planning to summit six eight-thousand-metre summits in the space of a year. When the avalanche struck, Mr. Saikaly understood this was an event like none other. The massive avalanche off Pumori, a 23,000-foot peak adjacent to Everest, situated directly above the camp, inundated base camp, itself at 17,598 feet up the mountain slope.

It took but a minute, sixty seconds, for violent mayhem to take 18 lives on the mountain. The avalanche was the mountain's response to the earthquake that has taken over five thousand lives in Nepal, as well as being felt, and taking lives elsewhere, in India, and in Tibet. Even Pakistan felt the tremblor. So, once the avalanche had settled, that camera was kept rolling. The scene he found before him, was "surreal".

Helicopters began evacuating the severely wounded, while those who were killed were wrapped in tarps, awaiting evacuation.

"My heart is also with the injured, both Western and Sherpa, and, of course, the thousands in Kathmandu who are suffering at this time", said the young Canadian adventurer/filmmaker.

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With the Kurds in Syria

"About 100 YPG [male] and YPJ [female] soldiers sat around the sides of the road smoking cigarettes and chewing sunflower seeds. It was a straight shot to the city that stood two kilometres away and was blossoming in mushroom clouds, each one proceeded by the heavy thud of a coalition airstrike."
"We were eventually moved to a small village where two platoons were waiting for the order to move. There were eight of us Westerners and we were split up between the two platoons at random and I was moved back and forth between them until they had the numbers right. A few hours from then over half of one of those platoons would be killed or injured in the battle for Telumis. I happened to be placed in the other platoon."
"Much of the YPG consists of teenagers, and many of the older ones have been fighting guerrilla wars in the mountains and now in the desert since they were barely teenagers themselves."
Canadian volunteer soldier Brendon Glossop, 26
Brandon Glossop, seen here, in a photo uploaded to a Facebook fan page

Brandon Glossop, seen here, in a photo uploaded to a Facebook fan page
Brandon Glossop Facebook page
The Kurdish fighters in Syria, like the Kurdish peshmerga in Iraq have among them, as Mr. Glossop described, teens, many of them battle-hardened through previous battlefield experiences. They're now engaged in battling the Islamic State terrorists for possession of Iraqi and Syrian territory. The young Canadian man, formerly with the Canadian military, had decided, like a handful of other Canadian men, to travel to Syria to join the Kurds in their struggle against the jihadists.

During the First and Second World Wars, many young men barely into their teens volunteered to go overseas to fight on behalf of their homelands, for democracy and liberty. Now, Western sensibilities are horrified at the thought of teens taking part in combat. Yet in the Middle East there is nothing new about very young men taking part in conflict. Certainly al-Qaeda and Hamas and Hezbollah, to use a few examples, conscript teens into their fighting contingents.

Which brings to mind Canada's infamous Khadr family; the family patriarch a personal friend of Osama bin Laden, and a fundraiser for al-Qaeda. He took his family to Afghanistan to ensure that his three sons had the opportunity to become jihadists, to be enrolled in jihadi camps, to learn the proper handling of weapons, and how to improvise explosives. His youngest son, Omar Khadr, to this day an unreconstructed member of al-Qaeda who has never expressed remorse for killing a U.S. army medic, is spoken of as a child-soldier wronged when he was treated as a terrorist.

Young Mr. Glossop explained to an interviewer that within ten days of arriving in Syria from Edmonton, he was faced against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in battle. The British Columbia native served in Afghanistan with the Canadian Forces, and he decided to put his military training at the service of the Kurds. He maintains a Facebook site, and has written of Kurdish forces "cleaning house and coalition gunships are putting on a fine show". 

He describes entering abandoned villages to find "nothing but bodies and ISIS propaganda still taped to the walls, most of it dictating how women were to dress under hard-line Sharia law". He wrote about a camp dog standing guard at a door outside a facility where wounded YPJ fighters were recovering. Before the Kurds had liberated the area, ISIS had kept the dog tied with a wire slip note leaving him with a "bright red, open wound that stank of infection".

The dog, like people who have been abused and traumatized "growled and snapped" at men with guns.

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Originally published under the title, "Turkey's Supposed Nemesis: "The Mastermind."

The title screen from the new anti-Semitic Turkish documentary, "The Mastermind."
Turkey's biggest enemy, according to its Islamist rulers, is not the fanatical jihadists who now neighbor their country in large swathes of land in Syria and Iraq; nor is it the thousands of "sleepers" at home -- the same jihadists who have not staged a sensational act of terror, but might yet.

The enemy is not the political and military advance of Shiite radicals in the region, or a nuclear Iran. It is not extreme left-wing terrorists who only recently murdered a state prosecutor. It is not Russia, China or Western civilization. It is what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says is "the mastermind" that tirelessly plots against Turkey.
In a December 2014 speech, Erdogan said:

I am emphasizing this: Do not think that these are operations that target me personally. Do not think that these operations are against our government or any [political] party. My friends, the target of these operations and initiatives is Turkey, Turkey's existence, her unity, peace, and stability. They are especially against Turkey's economy and its independence. As I have said before, behind all these there is a Mastermind, which has now become part of our national conversation. Some ask me, 'Who is this mastermind?' and I say, 'It is for you to research this. And you do know what it is, you know who it is.'
Orders taken, a fiercely pro-Erdogan television news channel, A Haber, decided to research "that." Thus, the documentary "The Mastermind" came into being. The film was first broadcast on March 15, 2015 and has been repeatedly aired since then, in addition to several pro-government media outlets posting it on their websites.

The main theme of the film is the 3,500-years of "Jewish domination of the world." It focuses on three "Jewish" historical figures (one of whom was not Jewish): the Spanish philosopher and Torah scholar Moses Maimonides, Charles Darwin (who was not a Jew), and German-American philosopher Leo Strauss.

Here are some narrative excerpts from the film, which opens with images of the Star of David and a replica of the Temple in Jerusalem:
The Mastermind, whose roots go back thousands of years, who rules, burns, destroys, starves the world, creates wars, organizes revolutions and coups, establishes states within states -- this 'intellect' is not only Turkey's curse, but the curse of the entire world. Who is this mastermind? The answer is hidden inside truths and facts that can never be called conspiracy theories. ...
This story begins in the very old days, 3,500 years ago, when Moses brought his people out of Egypt to Jerusalem. The only guide he had was the Ten Commandments... We have to look for the mastermind in Jerusalem where the sons of Israel live. ...
Maimonides... who lived in the Middle Ages believed that 'the Jews are the Masters, and all other people are to be their slaves'"
The film then features several pro-Erdogan pundits, academics and journalists, commenting on the mastermind. "As they destroy the entire world, the Jews are searching for [the lost] Ark of Covenant." says one. "The Jews use Darwin's theory [of evolution] to assert that God created them – but everyone else evolved from apes," says another. One claims that the Jews believe that they, the descendants of Isaac, consider themselves the masters, and that "all of us," the descendants of Ishmael, are created to serve the Jews. And another blames "the mastermind" -- whom he identifies as the Jews as well as the U.S. (which the film earlier claims is dominated by the Jews) for both the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and for the coups in modern Turkey aimed at ousting Islamist leaders and parties.

"The Mastermind" is a calculated move to win votes from an inherently anti-Semitic, religiously devout Muslim population.
Finally, an advisor to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claims that all anti-government activity in Turkey was, in fact, attempts by "a mastermind" to bring down Turkey and its government.

Sounds surreal? Not in Turkey in the year 2015. "The Mastermind" is not the product of a bunch of crazy fanatics. It is a calculated move by a bunch of smart politicians who want to win votes (and often succeed) from an inherently anti-Semitic, religiously devout Muslim population.

According to the findings of a survey by Switzerland-based pollster WIN/Gallup International, 79% of Turks identify themselves as religiously devout, compared to 75% of people in the Palestinian territories and just 30% in Israel.

Among many Sunni Turks, anti-Semitic sentiment is often a prerequisite to piety. Therefore, the film "The Mastermind" [theoretically but most likely practically too] directly targets an audience that makes 79% of Turkey -- more than 60 million people -- ahead of critical parliamentary elections on June 7.

It is an ugly but clever move, reminiscent of the various methods applied by the Nazi propaganda machine in the 1930s, to abuse millions of minds.

All you need, in this evil scenario, is a theory linking every evil to the Jews, and a large enough audience ready to buy your fraudulent conspiracy theory.
Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a columnist for the Turkish daily Hürriyet and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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Originally published under the title, "Picking Another Fight with Israel."

President Obama is considering abandoning the decades-long U.S. policy of standing with Israel at the UN.

The concessions that President Obama is making to Iran have alarmed not just the right in Israel but also the left, and forced pro-Israel Democrats to choose between loyalty to the President and steadfast support for the Jewish state. Even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has cautioned that "we need to all work together to return the special U.S.-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests."

But the President apparently intends to go in another direction, to open a second conflict with Israel over its vital interests. According to Bloomberg News, "The administration has signaled that it might abandon the decades-long U.S. policy of protecting Israel at the UN and back a [French]Security Council resolution laying out terms for a two-state solution …Robert Malley, the Middle East director for President Barack Obama's National Security Council, told at least one European nation" that the Administration may support a resolution "defining the parameters for a Mideast peace agreement, according to a report on the conversation to superiors by a Washington-based European diplomat…viewed by Bloomberg News."

President Obama apparently intends to open a second conflict with Israel over its vital interests.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, says the purpose of his UN resolution is "pressure…from the international community" to dictate "clear parameters" for negotiations that must be concluded within 24 months. According to the French draft circulated in November, it is the UN Security Council that "decides" the parameters of the "negotiated solution." It also rules that henceforward the negotiations should include "close involvement, alongside the parties, of major stakeholders" to continue to pressure the parties during the bilateral negotiations.

This resolution would be a triumph for those who have long wanted the Great Powers to dictate Israel's future, as demanded by the Arab League since Israel's creation. The Jewish people returned to their ancestral home so they could make a Jewish decision about their own destiny and no longer be subject to the will of others.

This resolution seizes that authority and moves it to a forum where Israel is not even a member, a body aptly described by U.S. Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick three decades ago: "The Security Council more closely resembles a mugging than either a political debate or an effort at problem-solving….Israel is cast as villain…in [a] melodrama…that features…many attackers and a great deal of verbal violence…The goal is isolation and humiliation of the victim."

A UN resolution imposing solutions to the conflict contradicts the Obama Administration's own declared principles.
A resolution to impose solutions also contradicts the Obama Administration's own principles enunciated on February 18, 2011, by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice (now the President's National Security Adviser), "We think it unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians… The only way to reach that common goal is through direct negotiations between the parties… It is the Israelis' and Palestinians' conflict, and even the best-intentioned outsiders cannot resolve it for them." Such a resolution at the Security Council "risks hardening the positions of both sides. It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations and, if and when they did resume, to return to the Security Council whenever they reach an impasse."
The specific terms of the draft French resolution make it more onerous. It demands "a full phased withdrawal of Israeli security forces," without reference to Israel's right to secure borders previously guaranteed by Resolution 242 in 1967. In this resolution, the cardinal rule is that "Security arrangements must respect the sovereignty…of Palestine" to be "within the framework established by this resolution."

Most Israelis believe that full withdrawal of the IDF from the West Bank under today's conditions would lead quickly to a takeover by Hamas, which is being armed by Iran to overpower the Palestinian Authority (PA). General Yaakov Amidror, who was national security adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu until November 2013, said that, without the presence of the IDF, the PA "cannot survive for even 10 minutes."

Mr. Abbas himself confronted Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal directly in August 2014 about Hamas plots in the West Bank. "You smuggle weapons, explosives, and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the PA…My security agencies have proof." Mr. Abbas said that the IDF "arrested 93 Hamas members who were preparing for a coup against the PA in the West Bank." In June 2007, Mr. Abbas accused Hamas of trying to assassinate him and publicly condemned Hamas as "murderous terrorists" and "coup plotters."

A Hamas state in the West Bank, or a collapse of central authority and the eruption of civil war there, would be a disaster for Israel. A West Bank swarming with rockets, missiles, and suicide bombers would bring the war to Israel's adjacent heartland. With Jerusalem as "the shared capital of the two States," as demanded by the resolution, there would not be any barrier to terrorist infiltration into Israel.

Hamas covets the West Bank because it knows that the West Bank's proximity to the Israeli heartland would make it a much more effective platform for attacks on Israel, than firing from Gaza. In September 2014, Hamas founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar said that if his movement were to "transfer what it has or just a small part of it to the West Bank, we would be able to settle the battle of the final promise with a speed that no one can imagine." In another speech he said, "If only the West Bank had one quarter of what Gaza has of resistance tools, the Israeli entity would end in one day…Can you imagine what would happen if the enemy is targeted from the West Bank…?"

In the real conditions of the Middle East, it is impossible to devise security arrangements to protect the people of Israel without at least some imposition on the sovereignty of the Palestinian state in the West Bank, contravening this resolution. Even the Clinton Parameters at Camp David in 2000, for example, provided that Israel should maintain early warning facilities in the West Bank and have access to airspace over the West Bank for operational needs.

The French draft resolution says in effect that Israelis have no right to be in the lands of their forefathers.
Beyond the security issue, the French draft UN resolution also says in effect that the people of Israel have no right to be in the lands of their forefathers. It determines that Israeli communities outside the 1949 Armistice Line (never a recognized legal boundary), including those in the eastern part of Jerusalem and near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and in the large Jerusalem suburb of Maale Adumim, "have no legal validity."

In one stroke, the UN would threaten the titles to their homes of 41% of the Jews living in Jerusalem, those in Jewish neighborhoods like Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, Neve Yaakov, Pisgat Ze'ev, East Talpiot, Har Homa and Gilo. Mr. Obama's own Middle East envoy George Mitchell said, "The Israelis are not going to stop…construction in East Jerusalem. For the Israelis, what they're building in is in part of Israel…We could spend the next 14 years arguing over disputed legal issues, or we can try to get a negotiation to resolve them in a manner that meets the aspirations of both societies."

If Mr. Obama takes us down this road by endorsing a Security Council resolution so profoundly injurious to Israel, we are all in for an even rougher ride than the past few months. In the forty years since President Richard Nixon's first veto in Israel's defense on September 10, 1972, every American president has used the veto to block anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council. a total of 8 Presidents casting 42 vetoes in Israel's defense. (Even Jimmy Carter vetoed one, though he voted for another.) If Mr. Obama breaks with this tradition, he will be taking conflict with Israel to new heights.
A dozen leading House Democrats, all Jewish, have told deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes that Obama should stop acting as if only Israel is holding up the peace process while not expressing a word of disappointment about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. One said, "You want us to go out and say the administration's got Israel's back [in the Iran negotiations]. How are you going to get us to say that when our constituents believe that the administration is stabbing Israel in the back?"
But up to now Mr. Obama seems to relish conflict with Israel while cozying up to Iran. A conflict at the UN might be next in line.
Steven J. Rosen is the director of The Washington Project at the Middle East Forum.

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Gatestone Institute

Translations of this item:
  • This is a vote of no confidence in Abbas and Fatah.
  • When you tell your people that Jews are awful, and do not want peace, and just want to kill Arabs and destroy their homes and holy sites, then people say, "This means Hamas is right. We should be killing the Jews and not making peace with them."
  • Hamas has now apparently realigned with Iran, which is "rebuilding relations with the military wing of Hamas," and has recently sent Hamas "tens of millions of dollars."
Hamas's crushing victory in the April 22 student council election at Bir Zeit University shows that the Islamist movement continues to maintain a strong presence in the West Bank.
Hamas supporters on campus won 26 seats, compared to 16 for their rivals in the Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

The results of the election mean that Bilal Barghouti, who is serving 16 life terms in prison for his role in a series of suicide attacks against Israel, has become the "Honorary Chairman of the Bir Zeit University Student Council."

The Hamas victory came less than 48 hours after its supporters scored a major achievement on another campus: Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron. There, Hamas supporters won the same number of seats as their rivals in Fatah – a move hailed by leaders of the Islamist movement as a "huge achievement."

Hamas supporters are shown in this video screenshot marching during a student council election rally at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah, on April 20, 2015.

Besides being a political and moral victory for Hamas, this is a vote of no confidence in Abbas and Fatah.

The outcome of the election on both campuses shows that many Palestinians do not believe in Abbas's political program, particularly the peace process with Israel. Moreover, the results show that many Palestinians still do not consider Fatah a better alternative to Hamas.

In 2006, Fatah lost the Palestinian Legislative Council elections to Hamas largely because of its failure to reform and combat financial and administrative corruption. Since then, Fatah has done almost nothing to draw the conclusions from that defeat.

The same leaders who led Fatah to the 2006 defeat continue to hold key positions in Fatah, ignoring demands for reforms and transparency.

The landslide victory of Hamas at Bir Zeit University came in spite of an ongoing security clampdown by Abbas and Fatah on supporters of the Islamist movement in the West Bank.
In recent months, the crackdown reached university and college campuses, where dozens of students affiliated with Hamas have either been detained or summoned for interrogation by Palestinian Authority security forces.

The results of the Bir Zeit University election show that the crackdown has failed to weaken or deter Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

It is evident, in fact, that Abbas's campaign against Hamas has had a boomerang effect, resulting in increased support for the Islamist movement among Palestinians, especially those living in the West Bank. When you tell your people that the Jews are awful, and do not want peace, and just want to kill Arabs and destroy their homes and holy sites, then people say, "This means Hamas is right. We should be killing the Jews and not making peace with them."
Hamas sees its electoral triumph as a "victory for the project of resistance" against Israel. "This is a referendum that shows the strength of Hamas (in the West Bank)," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "It's also a victory for our project of resistance."

Another Hamas official, Hussam Badran, said that the results of the university student council election "prove that the Palestinian people in general, and the youth in particular, have endorsed our program of resistance." He said the results also showed that Hamas continues to enjoy widespread support among Palestinians.

What the Hamas officials are saying is that many Palestinians continue to prefer the option of an armed struggle to peaceful negotiations with Israel.

Shortly after the Bir Zeit University results were announced, Hamas supporters took to the streets in various parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to celebrate their victory. On April 24, Hamas supporters are also planning a "victory rally" at Bir Zeit University to celebrate the results of the election.

The Hamas victory at Bir Zeit University shows why it is not a good idea, at this stage, to hold parliamentary or presidential elections in the Palestinian territories. Abbas himself has long been aware that a free and democratic election would result in another Hamas victory. That is why he has been in no rush to call on Palestinians to head to the ballot boxes.

But Abbas is not the only one who should be worried about the Hamas electoral victory. This is also bad news for efforts to revive the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In wake of the Hamas victory, it is hard to see how Abbas or any other Palestinian leader would sign any peace agreement with Israel.

The Hamas victory did not come as surprise to those who have been closely following the anti-Israel messages coming from the Palestinian Authority. The PA's incitement against Israel is one of the main reasons Palestinians have been turning to Hamas.

Hamas has apparently now realigned with Iran, which is "rebuilding relations with the military wing of Hamas." Iran also, it seems, has sent Hamas millions of dollars over the past few months. Hamas shares "the same long-term objectives as the ayatollahs: the complete destruction of the state of Israel," and to that end, wants to undermine and destroy anyone who recognizes Israel.

To avoid this, the Palestinian Authority must first stop its ongoing campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel. This campaign is being waged through the media, mosques and public rhetoric.

The Palestinian Authority must also maintain security coordination with Israel. The coordination is vital to the PA itself, not just Israel. Without Israel's help, the PA will not be able to prevent Hamas from taking over the West Bank.

Finally, to stop the Palestinians from rallying around Hamas, the Palestinian Authority in general — and Fatah in particular — need to embark on comprehensive reforms. Above all, they need to stop blocking the emergence of new leadership, and get rid of all the icons of corruption and bad government.

Unless the PA does these three things, Hamas's popularity among Palestinians will continue to rise, bringing the Islamist movement closer to taking over the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority is shooting itself in the foot.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Iran's Best Friend

"So when you hear the inevitable critics of the deal sound off, ask them a simple question:  Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?  Is it worse than doing what we’ve done for almost two decades, with Iran moving forward with its nuclear program and without robust inspections?  I think the answer will be clear."
"Remember, I have always insisted that I will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and I will.  But I also know that a diplomatic solution is the best way to get this done, and offers a more comprehensive -- and lasting -- solution.  It is our best option, by far.  And while it is always a possibility that Iran may try to cheat on the deal in the future, this framework of inspections and transparency makes it far more likely that we’ll know about it if they try to cheat -- and I, or future Presidents, will have preserved all of the options that are currently available to deal with it."
"In return for Iran’s actions, the international community has agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions -- our own sanctions, and international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.  This relief will be phased as Iran takes steps to adhere to the deal.  If Iran violates the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place.  Meanwhile, other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced."
"Now, let me reemphasize, our work is not yet done.  The deal has not been signed.  Between now and the end of June, the negotiators will continue to work through the details of how this framework will be fully implemented, and those details matter.  If there is backsliding on the part of the Iranians, if the verification and inspection mechanisms don’t meet the specifications of our nuclear and security experts, there will be no deal.  But if we can get this done, and Iran follows through on the framework that our negotiators agreed to, we will be able to resolve one of the greatest threats to our security, and to do so peacefully."
U.S. President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 2, 2015. (photo credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 2, 2015. (photo credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

We have the assurances of the President of the United States of America that the world is a safer place now that a framework agreement has been reached through the prodigious efforts of the American Secretary of State and the come-along members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, with the negotiators representing the nuclear file as presented by the ambitions of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran, that is, which entered the nuclear negotiations as a heavily sanctioned, isolated internationally, financially bleeding country, hobbling on its weakened legs, to face the demands of a collective representation of the international community that it surrender its nuclear ambitions. Which is to say the nuclear ambitions that would lead inevitably to a nuclear arsenal. For a country which has distinguished itself as a threat to world order.

From that position as an aggressive supplicant for the release from sanctions so harmful to its capacity to adequately fund the activities of its proxy Islamist terrorist militias in Lebanon and Gaza, hobbling its ability to sign contracts for the latest technologically advanced weaponry, while perfecting its own long-range missiles' geographic reach, Iran smiled its gracious way into the good graces of its interlocutors.

Tunnel storage for Qiam ballistic missiles. Press TV.ir
This anti-Western, Islamist theocracy which remains upfront and belligerent over its promise to destroy Israel -- which promotes the pleasing sound of "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel", at its nationalist rallies, which openly promulgates the vision of Aryan/Persian Iran as the rightful power in the Middle East, disrupting and tearing apart national interests of Arab nations -- found a strategic ally where even it might least have expected to.

An American president who has embraced the unpalatable-to-his-predecessors' belief that an appeased Iran would be an impotent Iran, so grateful for achieving its goals that it would suddenly become transformed into a kitten from its current representation as a reprehensible nation-eating tiger. Iran, under President Obama's tender ministrations, may continue its territorial, economic, military and nuclear ambitions in exchange for moderating its behaviour.

A quite incredible hypothesis, but one which President Obama appears to be personally dedicating himself to, as a legacy issue; taming the Persian Tiger. And to that end, one concession after another has been granted Iran, even in the face of its proxy armies, its Quds forces continuing to march through the Arab Middle East, and even while it vehemently rejects the U.S. version of the 'agreement' to which it insists it has never conceded agreement.

The Obama administration is sleep-walking into legitimizing Iranian nuclear 'normalization', giving it the proverbial green light to advance its weapons agenda. And, concomitantly, aiding it immeasurably in its rush toward dominance in the Middle East. So Iran sends a flotilla of warships and weapons to its Houthi rebel proxies in Yemen, and Obama serenely orders its aircraft carrier group to look away despite the breach of the UN weapons embargo on Yemen.

Saudi Arabia into the breach! Even while President Obama preaches to the Saudis that it should begin negotiations with Iran and with the Yemeni Shiites, to which the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. murmurs the reality that Iran represents "part of the problem, not part of the solution", as Saudi authorities commit to their own embargo enforced on maritime shipping of weapons to Yemen, even as it continues its air assault on the rebels.

The hard lesson that Obama has been patiently teaching its erstwhile Middle East Arab and Israeli allies is that they must adapt to fending for themselves. And they are, they are. Encouraged to take that leap by the president's casual surrender on his long-standing condition that no immediate sanctions relief of any Iranian nuclear deal would be considered. Yet another red line trodden with the stated commitment to reimpose sanctions should Iran not deliver.

And to encourage Tehran to drop the rhetoric and sign on the dotted line, the carrot of a $30- to $50-billion signing bonus, through releasing frozen Iranian assets.

Military Option on Iran 'Intact' Despite Missiles: United States
An undated handout picture shows the Iranian supersonic ballistic missile launching during a war-game in an unknown location in Iran. (Reuters Photo)

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The Honour and the Glory That is France

"[Here is an action plan to transform the battle against hatred into] a great national cause."
"We are at war with terrorism, jihadism and Islamist radicalism."
"Racism, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims, of foreigners and homophobia are increasing in an unbearable manner in our country."
"French Jews should no longer be afraid of being Jewish and French Muslims should no longer be ashamed of being Muslims."
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls
Police officers storm a kosher grocery to end a hostage situation in this image made from TV in Pari
Police officers storm a kosher grocery to end a hostage situation in this image made from TV in Paris, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Photo by AP

Equal treatment for all. Isn't that, after all, fair? That second statement above, the one that reads: "We are at war with terrorism, jihadism and Islamist radicalism", was emoted feelingly and with passion after the kosher-supermarket and Charlie Hebdo attacks in January. At that time, with outrage and emotion at high pitch, there seemed to be no trouble in recognizing reality.

At that time, there was a fear expressed that the threat of French Jews fleeing France would leave the country culturally diminished, part of its heritage extirpated.

Now, what is being targeted for extirpation is racism and hatred, as though it exists as an equal threat targeting homosexuals, Muslims and Jews. More or less the real issue is the Muslim quotient within French society being the cause of hatred of Jews and homophobia. This is a level of capitulation reflected in all European countries that have opened their doors to an influx of Muslim migrants. Only to witness the slow decay of civility in their populations.

And the very real fear that now exists of rousing their increasingly aggressively-entitled Muslim populations to anger and ultimately violence. The demands broached by the Muslim collectives that their religious rights and rites be recognized and catered to, that Sharia law be incorporated into Western values, that it be recognized that not the law of the land that has accepted Muslim migration, but Sharia will regulate Muslims, is paramount to Islamist pride.
Sarcelle riot
The riot in Sarcelle, a suburb to the north of Paris, in July 2014. Photograph: Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images
Where with the arrival of North African Muslims among whom anti-Semitism is endemic, that fundamental hatred of an ethnic/religious group became well entrenched from the 1980s forward. A social pathology of racist hatred that official France preferred to ignore, since it is so far removed from French values of equality and fraternity. It became policy to overlook anti-Semitism, since its root was in the Muslim presence, rather than "throw oil on the fire" of Muslim rage.

The world is familiar with 'Muslim rage', it surfaces in the blink of an eye whenever word goes the rounds that somewhere in the West someone insulted Islam, someone drew a cartoon figure of the Prophet Mohammed, someone criticized the Koran. But these outrages also occur in the world of Islam, as when a mob of illiterate Afghan men took a half-hour out of their day to tear apart a Muslim woman whom a mosque seller of trinkets accused of setting fire to a Koran.

Muslims excel at hatred, particularly the type known as anti-Semitism, and they aren't too fond of critiques of Islam. The victimization of French Jews by French Muslims has led to a crisis of hate in France. A French poll released its findings in November of 2014 respecting the levels of anti-Semitism amongst French Muslims as "tolerance for violence targeting Jews among a rather significant percent of the population".

The Paris-based head of the American Jewish Committee, Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, observed that most Muslims are anti-Semitic, its level rising with the degree of religious orthodoxy. That hatred represents all ages, socio-economic levels, educational status, and districts within France. She expressed herself to be pessimistic with respect to Muslim Judeophobia in her country: "It is possible that it is too late", she lamented, for France to take steps to ensure the safety of French Jews.
A Jewish school under guard in Paris.
A Jewish school under guard in Paris. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

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