web analytics
November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Arab Spring’

Egypt: This Is Big

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

One way to gauge the import of the conflict erupting in Egypt is by looking at the character of media coverage in America.  Both sides of the political spectrum have been slow to advance narratives of blame.  What’s going on in Egypt doesn’t fit into any pat, off-the-shelf narratives.

There has been a curious absence of “themage” on the left: no unified narrative about this all being the fault of Bush-era failures of good fellowship, or of the plight of the Palestinians, or (my personal favorite) of warmongering arms dealers, oil mavens, or ([insert ROTFLOL here]) international banks.

Meanwhile, blame-fixing criticisms of President Obama are getting little traction on the right.  (I even saw Sean Hannity shouted down by other conservatives the other day, when he was advancing an Obama’s-to-blame theory.)  I have the sense that most on the right see – accurately – that what’s going on is bigger than either Obama’s shortcomings or America’s predicament under his leadership.  While the Arab Spring might well have never happened if the United States had had a different president in January 2011, it is more than overstating the case to say that it happened because of Obama.

It happened because of deep rifts and discontents in the Arab world.  Its progress since the initial trigger event has been shaped to some degree by the defensively triangulating inaction (mainly) of Obama’s America.  But there’s real there there, in terms of political divisions and conflict in the nations of the Middle East.

This is a genuine fight, not a series of mass protests out of which nothing will really change.  If we understand anything, it must be that.  The Western media have been reflexively – if perfunctorily – reporting the bloodshed in Egypt as a “military crack-down” on protesters.  But the truth is that, where military action is concerned, it is a strategy to get out ahead of civil war.  The Muslim Brotherhood has indicated that it intends to make a fight of this.  Its “protest camps” are not a stupid, time-on-their-hands Occupy Cairo escapade; they are bases from which to keep an armed fight going.

The Muslim Brotherhood does not care what happens to the people of Egypt: whether their streets become safe for daily life and commerce again.  It is willing to keep chaos and misery going for as long as necessary to topple the military’s interim government.  That is its present purpose.  The Muslim Brotherhood strategy is to make it impossible for the military to restore enough order and public confidence to move ahead with new democratic arrangements.  The strategy is pure Bolshevism, and we’ve seen it before, dozens of times over the last several centuries.

Reports from Friday’s fighting indicate that plenty of Egyptians are aware of this.  Citizens around the capital set up checkpoints to prevent the movement of Muslim Brotherhood formations:

Armed civilians manned impromptu checkpoints throughout the capital, banning Brotherhood marches from approaching and frisking anyone wanting to pass through. At one, residents barred ambulances and cars carrying wounded from Cairo’s main battleground, Ramses Square, from reaching a hospital.

And much of the fighting was between pro-Morsi supporters and other civilians:

Friday’s violence introduced a combustible new mix, with residents and police in civilian clothing battling those participating in the Brotherhood-led marches.

Few police in uniform were seen as neighborhood watchdogs and pro-Morsi protesters fired at one another for hours on a bridge that crosses over Cairo’s Zamalek district, an upscale island neighborhood where many foreigners and ambassadors reside.

In keeping with the astonishing mass scale of the national revulsion against Morsi’s rule in June and July, the current fight is developing as a popular one.  The anti-Morsi citizens have no intention of waiting around to see their government fall back into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.  They are taking to the streets themselves.

This will have to be remembered in the coming days, when poorly armed civilians inevitably begin dropping out of the fight.  The civil population does care, and care enough to fight with sticks, stones, and fists, if necessary, even though It will take the military to put down the Muslim Brotherhood decisively – if, indeed, the outcome ends up being defined in that manner.

It may not be.  A key organizing factor in the June and July civil protests against Morsi was the “Tamarod” movement, a pastiche of anti-Morsi forces with little to unify them other than their objection to Morsi’s rule.  Some throwing in with Tamarod are Salafists themselves (including a former leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad); others bring some element of liberalization or secularism.  They made common cause with the military during the coup in July, but they are hardly a moderate, liberal, pro-Western force; in the days since, they have called for expulsion of the U.S. ambassador, and for Egypt to withdraw from the 1979 treaty with Israel.

Tamarod movements are busting out all over the Arab world (e.g., in Tunisia, Morocco, and Bahrain), portending many more months of instability and a long fight for the futures of these and other nations.  A movement with this much internal division to it will begin to splinter in Egypt: some of its members will want to take the lead in forging a new ruling consensus – specifically, in preempting the people to do so – and my bet for this is on the Salafists.

So there are more than two factions in the overall fight; this won’t come down to just the military and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Whoever plays the spoiler role could put together some kind of modus vivendi linking the opposing factions.  A little bit of gesturing toward civil protections for the people; a little bit of door left open to shari’a.  It wouldn’t last long, if history is any kind of guide.  But Western observers are likely to put stock in it (and even be hoodwinked by it).

Today’s fight may not go the full fifteen rounds, but if it doesn’t, it will have to be fought again down the road.  Because there is no coexistence for soft despotism – or democracy-lite – and Islamism; there is no coexistence for anything else and Islamism.  And Islamism won’t stop fighting until it is put down decisively.

It is not actually unusual for the governments and media of the West to misread developments like these (or at least to have the “deer in the headlights” look on their faces as they witness them).  The last time there was comparative unity and accuracy of understanding about a Bolshevik moment was – well, the actual Bolshevik moment, in late 1917 and the few years following it, when Western governments sought briefly to support the White anti-Bolshevists.  Whatever the merits of that policy, the understanding on which it was based was perfectly accurate.  Bolshevism was an uncontainable threat.

Within a very few years after that, Western governments, and many in our media, had become invested in misreading or ignoring manifestations from the sanguinary arena of collectivist statism.  We were quite tolerant of Mussolini and Hitler until they declared war on Stalin, and to this day, tendentious narratives of popular support are adduced in our academies to explain the advance of Marxist totalitarianism across the map of the globe through the late 1970s.  There were major movements in the free world to define away the threat of communism incident not only to Stalin’s excesses but to Maoism in China, the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the encroachments of Marxism on Latin America and Africa, and the standoff between East and West in Europe.

Throughout the 20th century, the bloody adventures of collectivism forced Westerners, and Americans in particular, to inspect and crystallize our view of who and what we were.  Through the “progressive,” statist movements in our own nations, we ended up being transformed away from the character we had once sought to honor and cultivate.  Yet for a time, in the late 1970s (with the election of Margaret Thatcher in the UK) and 1980s, we achieved a meaningful consensus that our liberal values had not been extinguished yet.  Acting on that consensus turned out to be enough, in that time and place, to overwhelm the failed ideology of Marxist socialism, in its totalitarian-state manifestation.

State-Islamism is doomed to inflict self-destruction and despair on its victims.  But what will we in the still-not-Islamist West do while it is organizing itself and launching its career?  We can’t go out and try to run everyone else’s county for him, after all.  And that said, we need not actively support the infliction of despotic Islamism on foreign populations.

How will we define ourselves during this process?  Will it be Islamism that has the momentum, with us defining ourselves as what we are not, in relation to it?  Or will we retake the public dialogue with our own propositions and language about liberty and limited government?  Our success in that endeavor was intermittent and incomplete, to say the least, during the Cold War.  Will we learn from that era and do better today?

Will we retain the capacity – always under attack, always fighting for its life – to define a totalitarian ideology truthfully, and let that truth be a guide to our policies?  These are questions to which we simply don’t know the answer.  There were days during the Cold War when even the most optimistic political observers would have answered them for us in the negative.

One thing we can be sure of, however – a thing we may see more clearly, I think, because we have the president we have today, and not a president who will act in a more traditional manner, according to the conventions of American statecraft.  The developments in Egypt have importance for the entire world.  They are about an ideological, Bolshevik-style assault on conventional, non-radicalized government.  That is the dynamic in play.  And, as much as they are about Egypt, the Egyptian people, and the fact that they do not want ideological “shari’a” rule, they are also, in an existential way, about us.  They are about who we are, and who we intend to be.  None of us will be the same when this is all over.

S.O.S.: USA, UN, Europe, Go Help Egypt and Leave Israel Alone

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

There’s a real dangerous emergency situation going on in Egypt.  It started with the “Arab Spring” there not long ago which was celebrated by United States President Obama and other Leftist peace groupies.

 At least 15 people are reported to have been killed as Egyptian security forces moved in to clear two protest camps occupied by supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi in Cairo. But the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs the protests, put the number of casualties much higher. Bursts of gunfire were heard and armoured bulldozers moved in. Security forces fired tear gas. BBC

Poets love to describe “spring” as the sweet smell of flowers and freshly cut grass in the spring, but this spring smells more like the sickly stink of a lot of broken bottles of cheap perfume in a closed space. There has been a lot of blood spilled, too.

Looking back at Obama’s speech:

The comments came in Obama’s most comprehensive response to date to the uprisings sweeping the Arab world. Speaking at the State Department, he called for the first time for the leader of Syria to embrace democracy or move aside, though without specifically demanding his ouster. As he addressed audiences abroad and at home, Obama sought to leave no doubt that the U.S. stands behind the protesters who have swelled from nation to nation across the Middle East and North Africa, while also trying to convince American viewers that U.S. involvement in unstable countries halfway around the world is in their interest, too. Obama said the United States has a historic opportunity and the responsibility to support the rights of people clamoring for freedoms, and he called for “a new chapter in American diplomacy.” “We know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security; history and faith,” the president said. He hailed the killing of al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and declared that bin Laden’s vision of destruction was fading even before U.S. forces shot him dead. Obama said the “shouts of human dignity are being heard across the region.” The president noted that two leaders had stepped down – referring to Egypt and Tunisia – and said that “more may follow.” He quoted civilian protesters who have pushed for change in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen but noted that among those nations, only Egypt has seen the departure of a long-ruling autocratic leader.

If Israel has any questions, as it should, about American expertise in understanding the Arab mentality and culture of “democracy,” it should just consult with Egypt’s Morsi.

As of just a few extremely short years ago, Egypt was a bastion of stability in the Arab world.  That’s  why many Israeli politicians of the Right and Left agreed that PM Menachem Begin had done the right thing to give the Sinai to Egypt.  I davka disagree with them, as does Caroline Glick.



As the intervening 32 years since the treaty was signed have shown, in essence, the deal was nothing more than a ceasefire. Israel surrendered the entire Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and in exchange, Egypt has not staged a military attack against Israel from its territory.

The peace treaty’s critics maintain that the price Israel paid was too high and so the treaty was unjustified. They also argue that Israel set a horrible precedent for future negotiations with its neighbors by ceding the entire Sinai in exchange for the treaty. Moreover, they note that Palestinian autonomy agreement in the treaty was a terrible deal. And it set the framework for the disastrous Oslo peace process with the PLO 15 years later.

For their part, supporters of the treaty claim that the precedent it set was terrific for Israel. The treaty cites the borders of the Palestine Mandate as Israel’s legal borders. And since the Mandate envisioned a Jewish state on both banks of the Jordan River, at a minimum the peace treaty sets a precedent for a future annexation of the west bank of the Jordan. -Caroline Glick

But with the explosive situation in Egypt, things can get much worse once a ruler decides to distract the people from their own problems.

Considering that the American brokered “peace sic plan” hinges on the reliability and stability of an Arab terror state that doesn’t exist, and the precedent of a treaty that is on the verge of collapse, I think we should cut our losses and get on with building our country, the State of Israel.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Turkey Warns Lebanon to Free Kidnapped Pilots

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Turkey has warned Lebanon, that if the two Turkish Airline pilots kidnapped last week aren’t released, it will damage the ties between the two countries, according to a report in the Lebanese Daily Star.

The Turkish pilot and copilot were kidnapped near the Rafik Hariri International Airport from the bus they were riding in from the airport. The group that kidnapped them are demanding the release of 9 Lebanese citizens kidnapped by the Syrian rebels. Turkey is a backer of the Syrian rebels.

The nine Lebanese citizens are Shiites who went through Syria on their way back from Iran. The Syrian kidnappers claim the nine are Hezbollah fighters.

Turkey has also asked for Iran’s assistance in getting the pilots released.

Lebanese authorities have one person is custody who they claim is involved in the kidnapping, and they say he has given up the names of his accomplices. The man is the son of one of the Lebanese men kidnapped in Syria.

The Syrian rebels kidnapped the nine men in an attempt to get Assad to release a woman he kidnapped.

Hezbollah has denied they are involved in the kidnapping, but say they are watching the situation very carefully.

Yishai and Walid Schmoozing

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

By Doni Cohen

Yishai Fleisher and Walid Shantur discuss seeing eye to eye on a statehood solution in Israel and how Israel already has the government and infrastructure to support both Jews and Arabs. They discuss the ramifications of the Arab Spring for Arabs in Israel and end by talking about the role of the U.S. in the Middle East and how Americans truly do not understand the region.

Yishai Fleisher: Welcome to the Yishai Fleisher Show Walid. What brings you here to Jerusalem when you could be sitting in Ithaca?

Walid Shantur: I’m here visiting family in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

YF: I hear that you speak a perfect English. Where are you from originally and do you speak Arabic?

WS: My father came over in 1948, and was originally from a small town near Ramallah. I was born in Chicago, and stayed in Ithaca while attending Cornell. I do speak fluent Arabic.

YF: What is life like in your small town near Ramallah?

WS: My father built a house right across the street from a mosque. So at 3:45 in the morning, I would hear the “Allahu Akhbars” blaring right into my bedroom window. It was quite a culture shock coming from a secular place like Ithaca. My family does want me to be what they consider a “good Muslim” but I want to be what I consider a “good person.” However, my family accepts me nonetheless.

YF: I was sitting at a dinner earlier this evening, and I kept hearing this new term that was being thrown around called “inclusive nationalism.” I think you and I see eye to eye on this point. This is a Jewish State. We don’t deny that. We want to include our minorities. We want them to have fruitful successful lives with upward mobility, with a sense of empowerment and belonging without giving up their national identity. But at the same time they need to respect that this is an ethnic country called Israel. It was created primarily and originally as a safe haven for the Jewish people, and continues to be a homeland for the Jewish people. At the same time though, there are minorities, some who even predated the Jewish influx and return to the land of Israel, and many who have come afterwards. However, the situation in which we have a nation behind a wall living a kind of regressive and repressive life is not a situation which Israel should want. We want to see a situation in which Arabs would respect Jewish sovereignty but would also gain from that respect a normal life. There are Arabs right now on Ben Yehuda Street where we are sitting right now feeling very comfortable walking around and shopping.

WS: And they do look very comfortable. They really don’t look out of place at all. I recall in Genesis where Ishmael and Isaac came together to bury their father. I feel we kind of need another Ishmael and Isaac now. My dream utopia would be no wall with Arabs and Jews respecting each other’s existence and living together as brothers.

YF: One of the biggest obstacles to this movement is the need for the extremist Arab Jihadists to be reigned in so that this process can move along.

WS: Absolutely. That has been nothing but a hindrance for Palestinians.

YF: If we could rein these Jihadists in, this movement could move forward. A lot of these walls that were erected because of the terrorism that these Jihadists encourage. Israel really only put up these walls when it started feeling threatened. My friend Yehuda Cohen and I do believe thought that the walls say that we cannot control the bad guys, and that we don’t believe fully that this is our land. And in that way we sort of offered up our Arab brothers to the Jihadists to swallow up, because the walls say in a sense that Jihad has won, and that is very destructive for Israel. To reverse that feeling is not so simple.

YF: Let me ask you about your family. Are you able to say these kinds of things to them?

WS: Well, I do speak to them about this, but more in general terms. I do speak to them about the most ideal situation of Jews and Arabs being able to live together as brothers. I do tell them that Israel has a more ideal political structure and infrastructure such as hospitals and schools etc. that Arabs could benefit quite a bit from. There are a lot of Arab leaders that are still tied to 14th century Islam.

Hunger Games

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Trust us on this: being the parents of a child who was murdered changes the way you look at things.
Others might glance at a report quoting this political figure or that official, but that lens of bereavement and the immense frustration and anger that accompanies it tends to make you look a little more deeply than others do.
The secretary general of the Arab League probably makes headlines whenever he issues a public pronouncement. Without wanting to be unkind, we don’t really care that much what he says or thinks under normal circumstances, and the feeling is probably mutual. Naturally, we  respect and defend his right to speak in the name of the people who appointed him, but Nabeel Elaraby‘s views are background noise so far as we’re concerned. For the record, he’s a professional diplomat who served as Egypt’s Foreign Minister of Egypt for four months in 2011 and before that was his country’s ambassador in New Delhi between 1981 and 1983. A lawyer, he has an Egyptian law school degree as well as a Masters in Law from NYU.
This morning, we noticed that he has some things to say that actually do intrude into matters about which we take a personal interest. Speaking about a group of convicted practitioners of terror who are serving long prison sentences in Israel, the jurist/politician is quoted yesterday (Tuesday) saying that he is

following with concern the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners who entered indefinite food strike under very serious health conditions, especially the captive, Abdullah Barghouti, who entered into a dangerous condition due to his continued food strike since last May… Elaraby called on the international community to put an end to arrogance of the Israelis who use violence against the Palestinian prisoners [Emirates News Agency/WAM]

In the name of the Arab League, this senior figure launches into an appeal to “the international community, particularly the United Nations, the International Committee of Red Cross and human rights organization [sic]” to get involved and to “save the lives” of the terrorists who are refusing to eat and “to stop the inhumane practices against them“.
It’s significant that the hungry terrorists are not named by Mr Elaraby except for one of them: Barghouti. (We have the other names here.)
Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt: Mr Elaraby may have said the things he said because his Arab League secretariat aides failed to give him a proper briefing ahead of his speech. So we will try to help. And we plan to send this posting to his office by mail right after it goes up on our site.
We have written about this dedicated killer several times in this blog. Most people who speak about him seem to know next to nothing factual, so allow us to share some basics.
Start with this: the judges who sentenced him expressed regret that condemning Abdullah Barghouti to the death penalty was not an option available to them.
If you have seen the award-winning CNN/CBC/Associated Producers documentary “Impact of Terror”, you will recall that it opens with an extreme closeup of a musical instrument, while an explosives expert explains its diabolical character:

The uniqueness for me was the guitar. Nobody was thinking that inside there is a bomb. He put inside the guitar something like four or five kilogram of explosives, four kilogram or five kilogram of nuts and nails. That’s enough. That’s enough to kill tens of people [CNN transcript]

Among the fifteen people, mostly children, killed by the work of Barghouti’s hands was Malki, our daughter. 130 others were maimed. The lives devastated by his evil amount to many times more than those awful numbers.
We noted here a week ago that Barghouti has done an oustanding job from his prison cell of highlighting the bestiality that underpins his psychopathic nature66 innocent people killedNot enough, he says without blushing. In the intimate setting of a 2006 interview beamed throughout the world by CBS television’s ’60 Minutes’ program, Barghouti clarifies things unambiguously:

“I feel bad because the number is only 66. This is the answer you want to hear? Yes, I feel bad because I want more.” [Quoted on a CBS site]
Speaking in an Israeli court in 2010, he again reiterated his dedication to killing more Jews once he is freed again.

Do the people in the Arab League’s leadership know these things? Perhaps we will be able to let our visitors know when our letter gets answered. (We recommend to stay busy in the meantime.)
The wheels of justice caught up with Barghouti a decade ago. Convicted for the murder of dozens of ordinary people, he is serving a longer custodial sentence than anyone else in the history of this country. Yet, when parts of the Arabic press write about him, they call him “administrative detainee” and “captive”; bitter experience tells us their readers largely believe such nonsense.
Facebook Barghouti 10Jul13
The people who operate the world’s most influential social media website allowed an Abdullah Barghouti page to go up, and have permitted it to stay upDo they know the facts? We pointed this out two weeks ago [see “25-Jun-13: Dogs, psychopaths and the Internet“], when Barghouti’s active Facebook page had gotten 6,805 Likes; that’s more than a hundred for every one of the dead Israelis he murdered. Go visit his Facebook site this morning and notice that Barghoutti’s savagery now has 7,266 Likes. And of course rising.
What does the Arab League leadership think about such things? Who do they say to questions like these?
  • When you seek to put an end to what you call “arrogance of the Israelis“, is this part of a larger anti-arrogance plan? Is it arrogance when Barghouti boasts willfully proudly, openly about how good it is to kill Jewish children? Is it arrogance for him (and the others like him, and who Like him) to come out in favour?
  • How will the world know when the “arrogance of the Israelis” has come to an end? If Barghouti is allowed (heaven forbid) to leave his Israeli prison cell under pressure from you, would that be a sign in your value system that the Israeli arrogance is over?
  • When the woman who delivered Barghouti’s bomb to the door of the pizza restaurant on that awful summer afternoon on August 9, 2001 was freed in a tragically misconceived deal with the terrorists two years ago, did that demonstrate reduced Israeli arrogance?
  • When the proud, unrepentant Islamist murderers like Barghouti and Tamimi make speeches in public congratulating themselves on their great deeds, is that arrogant? Will you condemn it? Have you ever said one critical word in public – in Arabic – about the satanic hubris that it represents? Did any other Arab leader? Ever?
Why do we write about matters like this? Because so many people are interested in hearing what we think? Think again. Because we are obsessive? No, though others think we are. Because we’re vengeful? No; others have certainly told us we seek revenge, but we say and firmly believe this is about justice, and injustice, and about human rights in the original, honest, non-politicized sense of that term. And to be clear about this: it’s not for lack of constructive things to do with our time.
We are the parents of a child whose beautiful life, filled with constructive acts of goodness, was brutally ended by the guitar-case bomb engineered by Barghouti. Inside us, there is a burning sense of obligation – call it a hunger - to shake the apathy of people who fail to see that of the dozens of innocent victims of this despicable man, not a single one was caught in the crossfireThey were his target as Barghouti himself confessed. The same is true every time jihadists and other terrorists seek out civilian victims, as they invariably do.
His mission, his passion, was “to kill as many Israelis as possible”. That ought to be on people’s minds when the debate over how to think about the hunger-striking terrorist prisoners reaches the mainstream media’s headlines as it soon will. The imperative to understand this needs to extend in all directions – even into the lofty heights of the executive leadership suite at the League of Arab States.

Visit This Ongoing War.

The West Looks Forward, Muslim Immigrants Look Longingly Backward

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Anat Berko is a criminologist and author who grew up in Israel, but whose parents and ancestors going back generations lived in Iraq.

Berko is best known outside of Israel for her books about suicide bombers.  Her first book, “The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers,” was published in 2007.  Her second book, “The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers” was published in 2012.

Berko is very familiar with the psychology of suicide bombers and those who play a role in the industry, such as the dispatchers, the drivers, and the recruiters.  She spent 15 years interviewing those involved in the industry of suicide bombings, especially the women who attempted to blow themselves up. She has many insights into what drives the kind of violence which is largely unique to Arab culture.  Some of what she describes in her books support general theories about violent cultures, while other insights are unique to this particular culture.

So Berko knows the Arab world very well, both because her family history is firmly rooted in the Arab world, and her professional work  brought her into almost daily, extensive, contact with Arabs who were willing to risk everything, or to induce others to risk everything, for an Arab nationalist cause.

In an article published in Gatestone this week, “The Arab Spring in Europe,” Berko explores several themes, but in her very matter of fact manner writes about the refusal of the west to talk directly about the problem of Islamic violence. She brushes aside that reluctance and, with her hand to the back of the head of the readers, reveals in plain language what should be obvious, but which isn’t, because the reluctance to see it is so great.

One would expect that Muslim immigrants, whose children were born in the West, would adapt, become part of the Western society and partake of its freedom — otherwise, why did they immigrate? What we see, however, is the opposite. The beheading of a British soldier in London, and the murder of a soldier in France, are only the beginning of a wave of violence and a dictatorship of fundamentalists who will call the tune. The wave of riots and vandalism carried out by Muslim immigrants in France in 2005 was just a hint at what is to come. The immigrants are brainwashed in the mosques, the madrasas [Islamic religious schools] and informal discussion groups, all of which represent the West as worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.

Did we really need her to explain that to us?  Why, yes, we did, because so few others will say those very obvious things out loud.  The idea that multiculturalism is one of the greatest goods and that it therefore places no demands of adaptation to one’s host country is wrong, is her message.

Berko wants the west to recognize when tolerance moves from being a positive quality and instead endangers western countries, western identity and western freedoms.

If immigrants chose to move to a particular country, then they have decided it is a better place than the one from which they came.  And while pride in one’s origins is touching and sweet, a rigid demand that one’s new home adopt the foreign cultures of the homelands of its immigrants makes no sense.  And worse than that, it leads to an inevitable clash, one which need not have been inevitable.

As Berko explains in a lengthy interview with The Jewish Press, the values and the will of the west have become atrophied.

“What, Germany and France are unable to say that Hezbollah is a terrorist group for fear of offending Muslims,” Berko asks incredulously.  “And yet, Bahrain is able to say out loud: No! We do not want them here, that is a terrorist group.”

Once a country starts making excuses for the illegal acts of immigrants, and the excuse is that the people come from a different culture, the end is near.

“It has to be the same law for everybody, no excuses, no cultural justifications,” Berko says.  “Without clear boundaries, there will never be a rejection of the violence that is acceptable in their own culture.”

Savages of Socialism

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

In Venezuela, savvy shoppers are hunting down scarce supplies of toilet paper with a smartphone app. The smartphones, compact packages of electronics, are several generations more advanced than the white square, but they are available when the toilet paper isn’t, because unlike the toilet paper they aren’t subsidized and price controlled.

While Hugo Chavez did at one point unveil a Chavezphone for the poor, he succumbed to the wonders of Cuba’s Socialist medicine before they could become as big as Obamaphones. But if Venezuela ever falls to the dumbphone, then there won’t be a smartphone app to find a smartphone with.

The sight of modern men and women hunting down toilet paper with smartphones seems like the Soviet Union as reimagined by William Gibson, but it’s a common enough outcome in an economy that is really a patchwork of uneven subsidies.

The Arab Spring was fueled by the social media apps of smartphones and anger over insufficient subsidies for staples such as bread and fuel. The smartphones may bring you the revolution, but it’s the toilet paper and bread shortages that set them off.

The problem is a commonplace one that Americans will shortly begin experiencing with the subsidized medicine of Obamacare.

Most governments subsidize or price control some necessities to win over the underclass… or at least keep them from burning down everything in sight.

The Arab Spring took place in countries where government subsidized food and fuel existed side by side with monopolies over nearly everything held by cronies if the ruling class. Bread was temporarily cheap, but nearly everything else was either substandard or nonexistent… except for the American-designed and Chinese-built smartphones being used to document the food and fuel revolution.

A society stuck somewhere along the way in the transition between Socialism and a free economy finds itself in these savage intersections in which high technology is available, but the basic needs which the underclass is bought off with aren’t.

Manhattan, that glittering island of towers rising between the waters of two rivers that are one, values real estate above gold. A square foot of dirt in Manhattan might as well be marble for what it fetches.

Finding an apartment in Manhattan is a challenge worthy of a treasure hunter and Bloomberg recently unveiled a plan for micro apartments that would be little more than closets with kitchen sinks.

Manhattan is a small and narrow strip of land which accounts for some of the high prices, but its real estate is also a crazy quilt of wildly overpriced market housing and subsidized housing projects. In some tenements rent-controlled apartments that cost less than anywhere else in the city coexist with 5,000 dollar a month pads and the only difference between them is regulation.

Downtown grim blocs of housing project towers crowd out riverfront views that would be worth hundreds of millions while the bankrupt city Housing Authority fights pitched battles with residents to sell a few scraps of empty land to developers to finance the welfare castles.

Uptown, large lots sit empty and bound to a covenant of affordable housing signed during the city’s lean years that now make the land worthless for anything except growing weeds.

A booming housing market in the city is built on runaway prices caused by artificial shortages. Manhattan is really two islands, one is being built up and torn down again every few years, while the other is stuck in a state of permanent slumhood since the seventies. One pays for its organic grapes with smartphone apps and the other buys everything with food stamp cards.

The gap between these extremes is where the shortages form and the Middle Class eventually falls into that hole between the extremes of the liberal poor who want to be subsidized and the liberal rich who want someone to do something about the poor. The welfare class is relieved not to be burdened with the slog to the Middle Class and the crony capitalists are not interested in more competition. Both agree on a static society managed with subsidies and monopolies. This system had more than a passing resemblance to the dysfunctional countries of the Middle East. The only difference is that America still has a Middle Class for the system to drink dry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/sultan-knish/savages-of-socialism/2013/06/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: