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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Bipartisan Letter to Obama Urging Action on Erdogan

Friday, February 21st, 2014

More than 80 dignitaries from across the political spectrum on Thursday wrote President Obama asking him to get involved in what they describe as the anti-democratic actions of Turkish Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan.

The letter opens:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is increasingly undermining a central pillar of the decades-long, strategic U.S.-Turkish partnership: Turkey’s growing democracy. We are writing because of our deep dismay at this development and to urge you to make clear to the Turkish public America’s concern about Turkey’s current path. Silence will only encourage Prime Minister Erdoğan to diminish the rule of law in the country even further.

Next, the letter writers warn:

The response of Prime Minister Erdoğan to potential challenges to his rule—first large public protests beginning in May 2013, more recently allegations of massive corruption that reach the highest levels of his government—threaten to take Turkey from an imperfect democracy to an autocracy.

They conclude:

We fear that Prime Minister Erdoğan an d the Turkish public have taken American silence to mean that the Prime Minister retains U.S. support and can proceed as he wishes. In the meanwhile, the damage to Turkey’s democracy keeps worsening. We believe it is important now to make it clear, privately and publicly, that Prime Minister Erdoğan’s autocratic actions and demagoguery are subverting Turkey’s political institutions and values and endangering the U.S.-Turkey relationship.

Among the signatories you’ll find Morton Abramowitz, former US ambassador to Turkey, Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, David J. Kramer, executive director of the U.S.-based Freedom House, and L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in post-war Iraq. John Podhoretz, Ambassador Dennis Ross, GEN Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.), and Mortimer Zuckerman are also on the list.

Egypt Approves Constitution, but Brotherhood Boycotted Vote

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Egyptians gave landslide support for a proposed new constitution after two days of voting, but the Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the balloting, which was accompanied by violence, ballot stuffing and bribes.

An official told the Associated Press that 90 percent of the voters cast a “yes” vote, but BuzzFeed reported that it obtained documents that provided evidence that the voting was a “disaster” for democracy.

The ruling military regime needs lopsided approval for the constitution to help it drive the Muslim Brotherhood into the ground and pave the way for army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for president.

Pro-Muslim Brotherhood groups blocked roads so people could get to the polling stations, and they also bribed people not to vote.

One activist told BuzzFeed, “What I saw at the polling stations were not just problems’ they were disasters.” He said army personnel stationed inside the polling station handed out gifts to voters, and he also “saw two women taking extra ballots and putting them in the box.”

One international election observation monitor said there was an atmosphere of intimidation in the polling stations.

Outside the voting locations, Muslim Brotherhood protests clashed with Egyptian police, and eight people were killed in two clashes on Tuesday.

Bills in the Works for Homosexual Marriages and Buses on Shabbat

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Yesh Atid Knesset Members are drafting bills that would carry out the party platform’s election promises to give legal blessings to homosexual marriages and public bus transportation on the Sabbath, both actions forbidden under Jewish law but with two important differences.

Homosexuality is explicitly prohibited by the Torah, no matter how one does somersaults to conclude otherwise.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination’ (Lev. 18:22) is open to interpretation only to the point of defining the word “lie.”

Riding on a public bus on the Sabbath, if the driver is not Jewish, is a prohibition based on Torah law but not explicitly forbidden by the Torah.

The second difference is that homosexuality, unlike riding on the Sabbath, is more of an emotional issue because of its contradiction of the family unit, a foundation of a long-lasting democratic state that does not dissolve into social anarchy, and of the Torah commandment to be “fruitful and multiply.”

However, a law providing public transportation on the Sabbath would dramatically affect a change that would make Israel more secular with less recognition of Shabbat as a holy day.

This is of no interest to those in Israel, such as Yesh Atid and a large number of other political parties, who take the liberty to define a “Jewish” state based on their own views. After all, that is the modern Western thing to do these days. Everyone can be a rabbi.

Anyone who disagrees with them is not “liberal,” “progressive” or “democratic” and therefore not fit for this world.

Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid, has begun discussions on the bills with the initiative of MKs Aliza Lavie and Ruth Calderon. They reportedly are trying to soften the language to gain support of the entire party.

Four unnamed Yesh Atid MKs reportedly have said they will object.

American-born Rabbi/MK Dov Lipman, told The Jewish Press Tuesday, “We are currently working on the precise details of these laws but I can say that they are being crafted with the utmost respect to the religious population and to Halacha,” he said.

Asked if he will support or oppose the bills, MK Lipman replied by e-mail, “We are formulating laws that we all agree to.  That is the beauty of working together instead of fighting against one another.”

He also stated in response to other questions, “Yesh Atid is a party which was founded with the guiding principle that the time has come for religious and Jews to respect one another and work together instead of continuing to combat each other.

“Israel is both a Jewish and democratic country and we are working as a team to navigate through challenging issues. There is no desire for anyone religious to be less religious and we actually believe that removing some of the religious coercion will actually attract people to re-engage with their Judaism.”

The probable language of homosexual “unions” and not “marriages” is semantic trickery. The difference between the two is mainly in the field of rights, but the Supreme Court in Israel already has ruled must be granted to same-sex couples.

If public opinion were to decide the issues, homosexual marriages and bus transportation on the Sabbath probably would pass, according to most opinion polls.

Lapid, whose popularity has been sinking, enthusiastically backed both upcoming bills last week, saying, “A law in favor of homosexual unions will allow every couple in the country to declare the love for each other and be recognized.”

As for public transportation on the Day of Rest, he said he is not trying to irritate the religious community. He said the bill would provide that buses not travel through religious neighborhoods but will allow “poor grandfathers to visit their grandchildren in the hospital on Shabbat” instead of having to take an expensive taxi.”

The fallacy in his thinking is that it presumes Israel is divided into “religious” and “secular” camps. That is not true. There is a large, perhaps plurality, which is “traditional” and would prefer the Sabbath to remain a public Day of rest to remain as such, even if they personally violate it.

Once the Knesset puts its official stamp to recognize homosexuality marriages – excuse me, unions – and transportation on the Sabbath, it is encouraging the practice. It would not be “coercion” because no one would be required to ride on the Sabbath, but it would increase social pressure on those who might violate it at home but not in public as a matter of respect.

Lapid is crouching to pounce on his secular prey and boost his sinking popularity, and the slogans of “a Jewish democratic state” are about to be heard ad nauseum.

‘The US Can Forget about Democracy in Egypt’

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

The United States should forget about trying to turn Egypt into a democratic country, according to retired IDF Major-General Amos Gilad, who served for years as senior adviser to the Defense Ministry.

Expectations of establishing Western-style democracy in Egypt or anywhere else in the Middle East are “an illusion,” he said last week at a gathering in Israel of  the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), as reported by Defense News.

He added that, Mideast democracy is “four or five decades” away. “As an Israeli, I am for stability rather than for so-called democracy that brings in terrible forces like the Muslim Brotherhood. I realize this is not politically correct to say in the United States … but I think we need, together, to prefer stability,” he said.

2013 Democracy Study in Israel

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Israeli Democracy Institute (not the most rightwing of institutions, in case you were wondering) completed their annual survey of democracy in Israel.

“The project aims at assessing trends in Israeli public opinion regarding realization of democratic values and the performance of government systems and elected officials.”

Some of the major findings are:

- The younger generation are espousing stronger Zionistic views than their elders.

- Younger people believe “Jewish” in more important than “democratic” for the State of Israel. They want a more “Jewish” state.

- Most Israelis want Israel to be more Jewish or “Jewish and Democratic”. Only a 21.8% believe that Israel can not be Jewish and Democratic.

- The survey found that most Israelis were satisfied with the level of freedom of religion and expression they have.

- Many want “Mishpat Ivri” Jewish Law to be the cornerstone of the Israeli Legal System (not the mishmash we currently inherited). Though in a conflict between the democracy and halacha, 42.7% prefer democracy over Jewish law (28.2%).

- Most Israelis (66.7%) believe that only Jews should have final say in critical issues affecting the future of Israel, such as in a referendum about giving away land from Israel in a peace treaty, or critical social and economic issues. Though this percent is in decline from its high of 82.9% in 2010.

- The majority of Israeli consider Jews to be the “chosen people”. Baruch Hashem.

- 73% do not feel there is great tension anymore between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.

- 57% of Jews do not want a foreign worker as a neighbor, and 48% would not want an Arab.

- Among Arabs, 46% would not want gay neighbors, and 42% would not want Jewish neighbors.

- 38% of secular (Hiloni) Jews would not want a religious neighbor.

- The majority of Jews, 62.8%, believe that there is no right to refuse to serve in Israel’s territories. While only 50.9% believe that there is no right to refuse regarding evacuating settlements. That’s a number we clearly still need to work on.

- Arabs on the other hand had a healthier attitude, and the majority believed that it is OK to refuse orders you believe are morally wrong – and that includes regarding evacuating settlements.

The entire study, and the IDI’s interpretation of the results can be read here.

A short version with selective infographics can be read here.

Abbas’ Fatah Party Decides to Draw PA Borders with Blood

Monday, September 30th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority has added a new definition to its revised dictionary, and “red line” now refers to “borders drawn in blood.”

While Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators are staging direct talks over a future PA state and under the thumb and eyes of the Obama administration, the Fatah movement that Abbas heads stated on Facebook last month, “My homeland taught me that it is the blood of Martyrs (Shahids) that draws the borders of the homeland.” So much for the Green Line.

The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which translated and posted the latest incitement, noted that there is an accompanying picture of a terrorist  – or maybe he is a “militant” or just an ordinary Arab man on the street – holding a rifle.

Nothing really has changed since the days of Yasser Arafat prancing around with a holster on his hip. Abbas wears a suit and tie and lets his political movement’s Facebook page talk “peace” in its own unique fashion.

The new definition of “red lines” follows other newly-defined terms in the Palestinian Authority dictionary.

“Peace Process” years ago became the term for “piece process,” whereby Israel loses peace piece by piece.

“Negotiations” means accepting all Palestinian Authority demands without compromise.

“Right of Return” means giving Arabs who never have lived in Israel the freedom to “return” where they never were.

This is based on the United Nations’ two-headed definition of “refugee,” a status that throughout the world applies to those who flee or are expelled from a country – except for Arabs who lived in Israel decades ago. The United Nations redefined” refugees” for them so that it includes their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great great-grandchildren ad nauseum

Another interesting term in the Palestinian Authority dictionary is “democracy.” That now means a PA chairman –Abbas – who nine years was elected for four years but who continues in power without a free vote.

Another facet of the Palestinian Authority’s newly defined democracy is that Arabs can live wherever they want in Israel, which it refuses to define as a Jewish state, but Jews cannot live anywhere in a future PA country.

Why US Policy Betrayed the Moderates

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

In 1848, the new Communist movement issued a manifesto. It began with the opening line:

“A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism.”

For our purposes today, this threat might be reworded as:

“A specter is haunting the Middle East—the specter of America.”

For example, about a year ago Dubai’s police chief addressed a major international Gulf Arab security conference. He said that there were about three dozen security threats to the Gulf Arab countries. But this well-respected security expert said the number-one threat was the United States.

Since that time, this American specter has become vivid. For instance, The New York Times had a recent editorial which stated that the only protection for Egypt’s democracy–meaning Muslim Brotherhood participation in the next Egyptian government–was the United States and Europe. The Egyptian regime, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states were bad for wanting to protect their societies from Islamic ideology, revolution, and anti-Western Sharia states!

Might the United States and its allies rather be expected to battle Turkey, Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Hamas or otherwise might it support Islamists while Saudi Arabia fought Europe’s and America’s response as too soft on Hizballah?

But what if a crazy notion seizes policymakers, blessed with the mush of ignorance about the Middle East, that they can take control of the troublemakers? Perhaps Germany (World War One and Two jihads), or the Soviet control of radical nationalist regimes in the 1950s and 1960, or the French rescue of the Palestinian leadership in the late 1940s, or Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran during the 1970s, or America in the 1950s (Arab nationalism), or the 2010 Muslim Brotherhood would turn nominal extremists into friends?

Imagine, dunderheads in Washington, London, Paris, and so on thinking they are masterfully preserving stability, making peace, and harnessing Sharia in the cause of boosting democracy!

How smug would be the smiles when those who perpetrated September 11, 2001, were supposedly defeated by those mentored into power a decade later by the West in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, or in the Arab Spring or the Syrian revolution!

Look at it through the eyes of the Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, and Israelis who think they will try to impose a new order the region?

Consider a famous speech by Winston Churchill at Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946. In contrast to the Communist Manifesto,100 years later, Churchill began, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain is descended across the continent.” It might be strange that these two statements are compared to the current situation in the Middle East. But actually, they make a lot of sense.

The intention of great powers seemed to impose one (European) system on the region. In the first case, it was Communism. In Churchill’s case, it was anti-Communism he advocated, which in parallel would be Anti-Islamism.

But today, what is the system that Arabs, Iranians, Turks, and Israelis think they will try to impose on the region? The answer for those who have been watching in recent years is revolutionary Islamism.

It might seem strange that this is the thinking, but it isn’t. The question is whether there is a system that Western Europeans want to impose. And the answer is that to the Arabs and others in the region–although this does not mean it has to be true–since the 1979 Iranian revolution, they have supported radical Islamism. In fact, it should be understood that after the Arab Spring, Arabs did not generally identify Western interests with support for moderate democracy, but with support for Islamism.

Incidentally, Churchill’s title was the Sinews of Strength, and he favored policy leading a coalition of the Free world which would be welcome today.

To summarize, in the 1930s, Churchill favored anti-fascism and advocated a united front against Nazi Germany. After World War Two, he supported an alliance of the Free World against the Iron Curtain.

Where is the Churchill of today?

Well, directly his bust was quickly chucked from the White House because he was the symbol for Obama of Western colonialism.

Who was the genuine symbol of anti-colonialism for Obama? The left wing anti-Western revolutionary ideological movement represented by the Muslim Brotherhood or Chavez, and other demagogues.

Erdogan: Israel Behind Egypt Coup

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel was behind last month’s military coup in Egypt.

Erdogan told a meeting of the provincial chairs of his ruling Justice and Development, or AKP, party that he has evidence that Israel was involved in the July 3 overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Turkish Hurriyet news service reported.

“Who is behind this? Israel. We have evidence,” the prime minister said, according to Hurriyet.

He cited as proof a statement by a French intellectual he identified as Jewish, who told the Israeli justice minister during a visit to France before Egypt’s 2011 elections, “The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections. Because democracy is not the ballot box,” Hurriyet reported.

The White House condemned Erdogan’s remarks.

“Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated and wrong,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters later Tuesday.

Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and later expelled Israel’s ambassador following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May 2010 that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals in a confrontation with Israeli Navy commandos. The ship was trying to evade Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan in March for the incident, and representatives of the countries have met for reconciliation talks. The talks reportedly are held up over the amount of compensation that Israel is to pay to the families of the Turkish casualties and how the payments are to be characterized.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/erdogan-israel-behind-egypt-coup/2013/08/21/

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